The Dallas Cowboys and San Francisco 49ers are on the verge of becoming the NFL’s next great rivalry.
Most rivalries stem from teams playing in the same division. A bit of hatred for an opponent can grow when you play twice a year.
But it’s become rare for two teams to become rivals when they don’t share a division. But continuously crossing paths in the postseason can spark a rivalry from scratch.
Cowboys fans certainly haven’t forgotten about falling short to San Francisco in last season’s Wild Card Round. Dallas trailed by six as time ticked away in the fourth quarter, and clock mismanagement prevented the Cowboys from taking one final shot at the end zone.
With Dallas and San Francisco slated to face off once again in the playoffs, we could be looking at an NFL rivalry coming back to life.
Cowboys vs. 49ers defined the 1990s
This won’t be the first time Dallas and San Francisco duke it out in consecutive postseasons. The Cowboys and 49ers combined to win four Super Bowls in the 1990s, with Dallas hoisting the Lombardi Trophy three times to San Francisco’s lone win.
During that decade, the teams met three times, and the ‘Boys held a 2-1 record in those meetings.
The first matchup came in the 1992 NFC Championship game. Troy Aikman’s 322 passing yards and two touchdowns combined with Emmitt Smith’s 173 all-purpose yards lifted Big D to a 30-20 victory.
The teams rematched in the Conference Championship the following season in 1993, and a similar result ensued. Aikman was injured in the game but once again, Smith ran wild on the 49ers defense. The Hall of Famer had 173 all-purpose yards and two touchdowns in a 38-21 win.
The trilogy was capped off in the 1994 NFC Championship game, and San Francisco was finally able to get over the hump. Troy threw for 380 yards, a career-high in the postseason. But five turnovers from Dallas were enough to seal a 38-28 win for the 49ers.
Trends aren’t in Dallas’ favor
While it’s a small sample size, history would call for a 49ers victory on Sunday night. The Cowboys and 49ers met in three consecutive postseasons in the ‘90s, and Dallas won the first two matchups before San Francisco won the final game.
With the 49ers having won in the playoffs last year, maybe we’re due for another Cowboys loss this year before Dallas tops San Francisco in the next postseason.
But let’s not forget Tom Brady was 7-0 vs. Big D before the Cowboys whooped the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the Wild Card Round. Some trends are meant to be broken.