There are certain matchups in sports that conjure up memories of epic matchups that determined championships and legacies. On Sunday, the 49ers and Cowboys will renew a postseason rivalry that dates back to the Cowboys’ first Super Bowl run over a half-century ago. The 49ers’ dynasty also began with a win over the Cowboys in one of the greatest games ever played. The rivalry peaked in the 1990s, when the two teams battled for league supremacy.
You can’t write the story of the NFL without a chapter dedicated to the 49ers-Cowboys rivalry. The two teams have met in the playoffs seven times, with the winner going on to hoist the Lombardi Trophy five times. Along with championships, the games defined the careers of legendary players and coaches that include Tom Landry, Bill Walsh, Joe Montana, Troy Aikman, Jerry Rice, Michael Irvin, Steve Young, and Emmitt Smith, among others.
Here’s a look at the top-five 49ers-Cowboys games prior to Sunday’s wild-card playoff game between the two franchises.
5. 1993 NFC Championship: Cowboys 38, 49ers 21
Jimmy Johnson was on his way to dinner when he overheard a local radio station debating whether or not his Cowboys could win a second consecutive NFC title game over San Francisco. Instead of listening to the debate, Johnson decided to weigh in himself.
“We will win the ball game,” Johnson said on the air. “And you can put it in three-inch headlines. We will win the ball game.”
Upon his quotes making national headlines, Johnson was assured by his players that they would cash his check. The outcome was never in question, as Dallas raced out to a 28-7 lead in front of the hometown fans. Not even an early exit from Aikman (who was hospitalized after sustaining a concussion) would stop the Cowboys, who iced the game on Bernie Kosar’s third-quarter touchdown pass to Alvin Harper.
The Cowboys offense was led by Smith, the league’s MVP that season….