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Golden Nuggets: The game that started it all

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San Francisco 49ers links for Saturday June 15, 2019

1984 NFC Championship Game: Chicago Bears v San Francisco 49ers Photo by George Rose/Getty Images

It was January 1985 and I was a young kid growing up in southern California. Having had the unfortunate luck of being born to a family of Raider fans, my early memories were of my parents and older brother shouting at the TV on Sundays for the likes of Jim Plunkett and Cliff Branch. And while I found those two to be likeable enough - as well as head coach Tom Flores - the fact was that overall the Raiders weren’t a very likeable team.

I tried to like to them. But week after week I found myself pulling against Al Davis and his band of miscreants. Players like Howie Long, Lyle Alzado, Todd Christensen, and Mike Haynes pushed me away from the silver and black, and towards the goal of picking a new favorite team.

There were plenty of teams to choose from in 1985. Plenty of big named players like Elway, Marino, Fouts. Historically successful teams like the Cowboys, Redskins, Steelers,and Dolphins. But it wasn’t meant to be for any of them.

That Sunday in January, 1985, I watched a game. But not just any game. The game that started it all for me, and my 49ers fandom: The 1984 NFC Championship game.

It doesn’t get much fanfare. In the grand scheme of the dynasty it might seem like a blip to most. But it wasn’t. It was Ditka and the Bears. It was Buddy Ryan and his vaunted 46 defense, with Mike Singletary, Richard Dent, Dan Hampton, and Gary Fencik.

It was Candlestick Park. It was Joe Montana. It was Wendell Tyler, and Roger Craig. Freddie Solomon and Dwight Clark. A historically underrated defense with characters like Hacksaw Reynolds and Manu Tuiasosopo. Riki Ellison, Keena Turner, Ronnie Lott, and Dwight Hicks.

The 49ers dominated that day, shutting the Bears out 23-0, advancing to Super Bowl XIX where the would defeat the Miami Dolphins 38-16 capturing their second NFL Championship. But for me, it will always be more than just a game. For me, it will always be the game that started it all.

Was there a game that started it all for you? Let us know in the comments below!

And now, onto the links:

Trent Taylor’s return to full health could pay big dividends for 49ers (Jennifer Lee Chan)

49ers’ injury updates following completion of minicamp (Matt Stephenson)

Former Iowa Guard Brings ‘Nasty Streak’ to 49ers (Doug Williams)

49ers roster bubble-watch breakdown after 2019 minicamp (Peter Panacy)

Joe Montana speaks on Warriors dynasty, shoulder surgery, U.S. Open, 49ers odds (Cam Inman)

Candlestick Chronicles: 49ers make strides in offseason workouts (Kyle Madson)

Can Jimmy Garoppolo follow Matt Ryan’s path in Kyle Shanahan’s offense? (Kyle Madson)

Jason Verrett expects to be ready for training camp (Charean Williams)

49ers’ 2019 ‘Who Is?’ series: Offensive lineman Erik Magnuson (Peter Panacy)

49ers GM John Lynch on the passing of longtime Broncos owner Pat Bowlen: “His legacy will run deep in this league’s history” (David Bonilla)

And if you want to watch the 1984 NFC Championship Game:

1984 NFC Championship - Bears @ 49ers 1st Half

1984 NFC Championship - Bears @ 49ers 2nd Half