On Sunday, the 49ers and Cowboys are going to renew one of the NFL’s greatest rivalries at AT&T Stadium, even if a lot of people today don’t realize it. During his Monday conference call with the media, Kyle Shanahan was asked if his players understand the gravity of the 49ers Cowboys rivalry.
“Not at all,” Shanahan said, “I wish I could say yes, but some of these players were born in the 2000s. So you like to think so, but every day in the quarterback room, when I ask certain questions like, ‘Have you seen Wedding Crashers?’ And they don’t even know that sometimes. I get very surprised at the difference in some of this stuff, but our guys know how big of a deal the playoffs are, and our guys are pumped for this game, no matter who we’re playing.”
That is a damn shame right there. As I painfully discovered in the Niners Nation writers chat yesterday, a lot of people don’t understand how great these two franchises used to be. Here are some quick highlights from their rivalry:
- 40 years ago this week, Joe Montana threw “The Catch” and defeated the Dallas Cowboys in the NFC Championship. On the field, after the play was over, Ed “Too Tall” Jones looked at Montana and said, “You just beat America’s Team.” To which Montana responded, “Well, you can sit on your ass with the rest of America and watch the Super Bowl.”
- In January of 1994, then Cowboys coach Jimmy Johnson once called into sports talk radio in Texas and guaranteed his team would beat the 49ers in the NFC Championship game. They did, 38-21.
- After the Cowboys embarrassed the 49ers in that championship game, San Francisco went out in the first year of NFL free agency and added Deion Sanders, Richard Dent, Ken Norton Jr., Rickey Jackson, and more. It paid off, as they beat the Cowboys in third straight NFC title game matchup, 38-28, en route to winning their most recent Super Bowl title.
- T.O. and the star. If you don’t know, now you know. Then 49ers coach Steve Mariucci chewed Owens out in front of the team after the game and also suspended him for a week. That was essentially the beginning and the end of Owens’ time as a 49er.
Those are just some of the great moments these two franchises have had against one another. There are more, and thankfully after the 49ers’ win over the Rams on Sunday, there will be more next week.