Top 10 Playoff Rivalries

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9. Cowboys-49ers

Playoff Meetings: 6 times (Cowboys lead 4-2)

While the Cowboys and 49ers met for the conference championship as far back as 1970 and the most memorable moment between the two is “The Catch” by Dwight Clark, this rivalry was not at its height until the early 1990s when for three years, from 1992-1994, the Cowboys and 49ers were unequivocally the best two teams in football.

In 1981, the 49ers took the reins of the NFC from the Cowboys with Clark’s catch and became the team of the '80s, but by 1992 the Cowboys were reloaded and hungry under coach Jimmy Johnson. The early '90s rivalry was made all the more interesting by the important players who switched sides. Charles Haley went from San Francisco to Dallas before the '92 season, Ken Norton left the Big D for the Bay before the 1994 season and Deion Sanders went from the 49ers to the Cowboys prior to the 1995 season.

The Cowboys surprised most experts when they came to San Francisco and beat the 49ers, 30-20, in the 1992 NFC Championship Game. The next year the brash Cowboys were the favorites and they knew it. Jimmy Johnson called into a Dallas radio show days before the game and stated “We are going to beat their rear ends.” 49er captains refused to acknowledge Cowboys players before the game and there was a pregame scuffle, but that was all the fight the 49ers could put up as Dallas won easily. San Francisco would finally have its revenge the following year when it took advantage of three early Cowboys turnovers and held on for a 38-28 win.

Each year they met since 1981 the team that won the battle between the Cowboys and 49ers went on to win the Super Bowl.

Top 10 Playoff Rivalries

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