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Phil Dawson announces retirement

He’ll retire as a Cleveland Brown, but San Francisco 49ers fans will remember him for winning a specific playoff game.

Before the Robbie Gould contract extension, it wasn’t a bad thought to think the San Francisco 49ers may look at bringing back Phil Dawson to help kicking duties. It’s good the Gould extension worked out because Dawson announced his retirement on Thursday. Dawson will retire as a Cleveland Brown.

Dawson will best be remembered as one of the shining moments of some bad Cleveland Browns teams, but the 49ers also got Dawson to give the placekicking unit a shot in the arm. Before Dawson, the 49ers were using David Akers, who was phenomenal to start 2011 and depressing as time went on, costing the 49ers multiple games with what should be chip-shot field goals in the 2012 season. Goals Akers could have made in his sleep.

Enter Dawson. He was accurate, he was valuable, and he helped the 49ers beat the Green Bay Packers. In Green Bay. During playoff time.

The year was 2014, and the 49ers were facing the Packers in the NFC wild Green Bay. Playing a playoff game at Lambeau Field during January is a different type of football game. It’s about five degrees at kickoff for starters. Then there’s the ground which is frozen solid. Now, imagine kicking on that cement-like field with the game on the line. Needless to say, kicks that may have been a second-nature decision became 4th down conversion attempts just because it was so difficult for both teams.

Of course with a few seconds left and a tie game, there’s not much of a choice.

The 49ers lined Dawson up, and he kicked a ball through the uprights. Yes, Colin Kaepernick did his thing that the Packers hated to get Dawson in range for a 33-yard field goal attempt, but that chip-shot distance was something the 49ers and Packers field goal units avoided throughout the night.

A lot of 49ers fans who grew up in the 90s were pretty happy to see the Packers lose in the playoffs and struggle. This is the team that gave them a bad childhood. So Dawson kicking that field goal as time-expired etched him into stone with the other 49ers heroes. Well, for me, anyway.

Enjoy your retirement!