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Best Moments in 49ers vs. Cowboys NFL Rivalry History

By Carlos Chacon

For the first time in over two and a half decades, the San Francisco 49ers and the Dallas Cowboys face off in the postseason. These two franchises have five Super Bowl wins apiece as the teams to beat during the 1980s up to the mid-1990s and are ready to start another unforgettable playoff rivalry anew this coming Sunday at the NFL’s first-ever Super Wild Card Weekend.

NitroBetting is ready to equip its bettors with the latest news, NFL odds, and previews for the entirety of the 2022 NFL Playoffs. This time, take a quick trip back down memory lane to relive the five best moments from the San Francisco 49ers vs. Dallas Cowboys NFC rivalry in anticipation for the two storied organizations’ showdown in the 2022 NFC Wild Card Game.

Top 5 Best Moments in 49ers vs. Cowboys NFL Rivalry

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#5 “How ‘Bout Them Cowboys?!”

The 1992 NFL season marked the genesis of the glorious Jimmy Johnson Era in Dallas. And in the NFC Championship Game against the 49ers played in January the following year, the Cowboys cemented themselves as a team of Super Bowl destiny.

The Cowboys beat the Niners, 30-20, to assume the position as the new top dogs of the NFC. During the post-game locker room celebration, Johnson would proclaim one of the most iconic phrases in NFL history in “How ‘bout them Cowboys?!” that is just as heavily replayed in NFL highlight reels as “The Catch” itself.

#4 Staubach’s Stellar Comeback Effort

Although the 49ers-Cowboys rivalry was spearheaded by “The Catch”, early signs of an enduring war between the two decorated franchises can be traced way back to 1972.

With Tom Landry’s ‘Boys down 15 points in the third quarter of the NFC Divisional Round, the legendary head coach decided to bring back Roger Staubach under center in place of starter Craig Morton. Staubach, who’s dealt with a bummed shoulder for much of that season, rallied Dallas back to a 30-28 victory thanks to a San Francisco onside kick that was recovered by the Cowboys and with Staubach connecting with Ron Sellers on the go-ahead TD with under a minute left to play.

#3 Sharing the “Primetime” Spotlight

The 49ers lost two consecutive NFC Championship Games against the Cowboys between Johnson’s aforementioned crowning victory and the following season, prompting San Francisco to make a huge splash in the offseason. The Niners signed electric Falcons cornerback Deion Sanders for the 1994 campaign, which ultimately led to the Niners’ fifth Super Bowl title and Hall-of-Fame QB Steve Young’s first and only championship win.

Sanders was such a hot commodity in the league at that point that the Cowboys couldn’t help but pry “Primetime” off of their heated rivals’ hands. Sanders signed on as a member of America’s Team in 1995 and, exactly as planned, Dallas won its third Super Bowl title in four years. The team didn’t even have to run into the Niners in the playoffs to put their inevitable dynasty at risk and give San Fran a shot at revenge for stealing one of the Niners’ best defensive players.

#2 T.O. PO’d Cowboys Fans Everywhere

After the Cowboys tied the Niners for most Super Bowl wins at the time with five apiece, these two heated rivals would see their respective powerhouse rosters slowly fall apart in the years to come. But on one fateful regular-season meeting on September 24, 2000, NFL fans were given another reason to keep our eyes glued on the best rivalry in all of football.

San Francisco’s superstar wide receiver Terrell Owens caught the first of his two TD catches from Jeff Garcia in the second quarter and decided to celebrate his scoring play by posing on Dallas’ logo in the middle of the field. The Cowboys were definitely rubbed the wrong way because of that heinous act. So when Owens scored his second touchdown in the fourth quarter and planned to do the same shtick on the big blue star on the 50-yard line, Dallas safety George Teague decked Owens in time before T.O. could finish his brazen celebration pose.

Although the Niners would still go on to win that game, it’s the Cowboys who got the last laugh. Owens was handed a one-game suspension and would never perform that same celebration in the Lone Star State again.

#1 “The Catch”

What more could be said about one of the NFL’s top 10 greatest moments of all time? In 1981, a changing of the guard in the NFC was at hand, with Joe Montana and the 49ers winning their first-ever Lombardi Trophy at Super Bowl XVI and with the Cowboys as one of the casualties along San Fran’s run to the championship.

The NFC Championship Game that year saw the hosting Niners trailing America’s Team by six points with little time left on the clock. That’s when Montana led his team with an 83-yard scoring drive capped off with the eponymous game-winning touchdown pass to Dwight Clark that has since been played in countless NFL highlight reels and top-10 countdowns.

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