This weekend the San Francisco 49ers will face off against the Dallas Cowboys in the divisional round of the NFL playoffs. The 49ers vs Cowboys playoff history is one known by many fans, as it has caused an intense rivalry between the two teams and their fanbases. Some of the most famous games have been between these two. Here is a look into the 49ers vs Cowboys playoff history.
49ers vs Cowboys Playoff History: 1970 NFC Championship
January 3rd, 1971, the 49ers faced off against the Dallas Cowboys, in what would become the beginning of a decades-long rivalry. The game was held in San Francisco, and the winner would go on to the Super Bowl. This is the first in the 49ers vs Cowboys playoff history.
The 49ers were coached by Dick Nolan and the team’s record in the season was 11-4-1, according to Pro Football Reference. John Brodie was the 49ers’ quarterback, and he completed 19 passes out of 40 attempts for 262 yards, one touchdown, and two interceptions.
The Cowboys were coached by Tom Landry and the team when 12-4 that year. Craig Morton was the quarterback of this Dallas team at the time. Morton completed seven passes out of 22 attempts for 101 yards and one touchdown. Morton may have done less than Brodie, but in the end, it did not matter.
Dallas got the best of the 49ers by winning the game 17-10. The Cowboys ended up losing in the Super Bowl against the Baltimore Colts, 16-14. This was the first of many playoff encounters between the two teams.
49ers vs Cowboys Playoff History: 1971 NFC Championship
In the 1971 season, these two teams once again met each other in the NFL Playoffs. This was the second year in a row in this 49ers vs Cowboys playoff history. January 2nd, 1972, the San Francisco 49ers headed to Texas to face the Dallas Cowboys. While the two coaches were the same, there were some differences.
The San Francisco 49ers had a 10-6 record that season and still had John Brodie at quarterback. Brodie completed 14 passes out of 30 attempts for 184 yards and three interceptions, according to Pro Football Reference. San Francisco was only able to put up three points that game.
The Dallas Cowboys had a quarterback change that year with Roger Staubach taking the lead. Staubach completed nine out of 18 pass attempts for 103 yards. He did not throw for any touchdowns, but he also did not throw any interceptions. The Cowboys were successful by running the ball past the 49ers.
The Cowboys once again got the best of the 49ers, winning the game 14-3. Dallas would move on to beat the Miami Dolphins in Super Bowl VI, 24-3.
49ers vs Cowboys Playoff History: 1972 Divisional Round
December 23rd, 1972 was a close battle in the 49ers vs Cowboys playoff history. The two teams played in the 1972 divisional round at Candlestick Park in San Francisco. This was the third year in a row that these two teams faced off in the playoffs and was the highest-scoring out of the three.
Still coached by Dick Nolan, the 49ers went 8-6-1 that year. John Brodie was still the quarterback, and he completed 12 passes out of 22 attempts for 150, according to Pro Football Reference. Brodie did not throw any touchdowns but did throw two interceptions.
The Dallas Cowboys went 11-4 that year under head coach Tom Landry. The Cowboys went with two quarterbacks in this game. Craig Morton completed eight out of 21 passes for just 96 yards, along with one touchdown and two interceptions. Roger Staubach completed 12 passes out of 20 attempts for two touchdowns.
For the third year in a row, the Cowboys got the best of the 49ers, winning the game 30-28. The Cowboys moved on the face the Washington Redskins in the NFC Championship. Dallas lost the game 26-3.
49ers vs Cowboys Playoff History: 1981 NFC Championship
January 10th, 1982 was when everything changed between these two teams. This particular game has gone down in history as one of the greatest and most famous games in the San Francisco 49ers’ history. This is a game that many people still look back on in the 49ers vs Cowboys playoff history.
The Cowboys went 13-5 in the 1981 season, still under the head coaching Landry. Quarterback Danny White completed 16 out of 24 pass attempts for 173 yards, two touchdowns, and one interception, according to Pro Football Reference. This was a back-and-forth game that came down to the last second.
The 49ers went 15-3 this season under head coach Bill Walsh. The game was held on their turf at Candlestick Park in San Francisco. Joe Montana completed 22 passes out of 35 attempts for 286 yards. Montana also threw three touchdowns and three interceptions.
The most notable play of the game was “The Catch.” While the 49ers were down with just seconds left of the game, Joe Montana threw a six-yard pass to Dwight Clark, which was brilliantly caught to tie the game, with the extra point to win it. A video of “The Catch” can be found here, posted by the NFL on YouTube. Every year on January 10th, the 49ers and their fans continue to look back at that monumental play.
The 49ers went on to the Superbowl after their 28-27 victory over the Dallas Cowboys. The 49ers beat the Cincinnati Bengals, 26-21 to become Super Bowl Champions.
49ers vs Cowboys Playoff History: 1992 NFC Championship
A lot of time went by before the 49ers faced off against the Cowboys again. January 17th, 1993 was the next time the two teams played each other. The NFC Championship was held at Candlestick Park in San Francisco. Despite the time that went by, this game was filled with legendary players, such as Steve Young, Jerry Rice, Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith, Michael Irvin, and more.
The 49ers went 15-3 that season under head coach George Seifert. Quarterback Steve Young completed 25 out of 35 passes for 313 yards, one touchdown, and two interceptions, according to Pro Football Reference. Young also rushed for 33 yards and one touchdown.
The Cowboys also went 15-3 that year under head coach Jimmy Johnson. Troy Aikman was the quarterback at the time and completed 24 out of 34 pass attempts for 322 yards and two touchdowns. Dallas ended up winning the game 30-20. The Cowboys dominated the Bills, winning 52-17 to become Super Bowl Champions.
49ers vs Cowboys Playoff History: 1993 NFC Championship
The following year on January 23rd, 1994, the two once again faced off. The teams were once again very similar, just like when they played each other three years in a row in the 70s. The NFC Championship was held at Texas Stadium.
The 49ers went 11-7 that year, once again coached by Seifert. Young completed 27 passes out of 45 attempts for 287 yards and one touchdown and one interception. Young also rushed for 38 yards and one touchdown, according to Pro Football Reference.
The Cowboys went 14-4 that season, again under the coaching of Johnson. Aikman completed 14 out of 18 pass attempts for 177 yards and two touchdowns. The cowboys also dominated in the rushing game, notably due to having Emmitt Smith rush for 88 yards and one touchdown.
Once again, the Cowboys went on to win the game 38-21 to move on to the Super Bowl. Dallas beat the Buffalo Bills 30-13 to become Super Bowl Champions again.
49ers vs Cowboys Playoff History: 1994 NFC Championship
The 49ers vs Cowboys playoff history continued just the following year when the two teams faced each other once again in the NFC Championship round at Candlestick Park. The largest difference in this game was that the Cowboys was under a new head coach, Barry Switzer. This would be the last time the two faced each other in the playoffs for almost 20 years.
The 49ers went 15-3 this season. In the NFC Championship game, Young completed 13 out of 29 passes for 155 and two touchdowns. He also rushed for 47 yards and one touchdown, according to Pro Football Reference.
As for the Cowboys under a new head coach, they went 13-5. Aikman completed 30 out of 53 pass attempts for 380 yards, two touchdowns, and three interceptions. The NFC Championship was a high scoring one, but Dallas could not quite catch up.
The 49ers won the game 38-28. San Francisco went on to win the Super Bowl 49-26 over the San Diego Chargers. This was the last game of the 49ers vs Cowboys playoff history for a while.
49ers vs Cowboys Playoff History: 2021 Wild Card Round
Just last year, this rivalry returned in the Wild Card Round. January 16th, 2022, the San Francisco 49ers headed to AT&T Stadium to face the Dallas Cowboys. While this game was just last year, it is still a part of the 49ers vs Cowboys Playoff History.
The 49ers went 10-7 under head coach, Kyle Shanahan, and entered playoffs as the 7th seed. Dallas was the favorite heading into this game, being the number two seed. Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo completed 16 out of 25 pass attempts for 172 yards and one interception, according to ESPN. The 49ers also rushed for 169 yards and two rushing touchdowns.
The Dallas Cowboys went 12-5 under head coach Mike McCarthy. With home-field advantage, quarterback Dak Prescott completed 23 out of 43 pass attempts for 254 yards, one touchdown, and one interception. The Cowboys also rushed for 77 yards with one rushing touchdown.
The most notable part of the game was the last few seconds when Dallas was down 23-17 with no timeouts, The Cowboys pushed downfield to get one hail mary in. Under NFL rules, the official must spot the ball before the play, but in a rush, Dallas got set, and the Ref had to cut in to grab the ball, causing the time to run out.
The 49ers won the game 23-27 and headed all the way to the NFC Championship, where they lost to the Los Angeles Rams 20-17.
49ers vs Cowboys Playoff History Record:
Ahead of this weekend’s game, the Dallas Cowboys have five wins over the San Francisco 49ers three wins.
The 49ers vs Cowboys playoff history is an intense one, and it looks as though it will continue. The Cowboys will head to Santa Clara to face the San Francisco 49ers in the Divisional Round of the playoffs.
For More NFL Content:
Be sure to check out this 49ers article here, on their NFC West Wild Card win. Check out my most recent article on why their game came down to mentality over physicality. Also, check out this article on where defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans will coach in the 2023 season.
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