What made the San Francisco 49ers and Dallas Cowboys rivalry during the 1990s special was more than just the litany of future Hall of Famers on both sides when the franchises would duke it out for NFC supremacy. It was also the bulletin board material.
Former Cowboys head coach Jimmy Johnson once triggered ex-49ers head coach George Seifert with a bold guarantee on the eve of the 1993 season NFC title game, prompting Seifert to respond with “Well, the man’s got balls, I’ll tell you that. I don’t know if they’re brass or papier-mache. We’ll find out here pretty soon” in this Los Angeles Times article before that title bout.
Dallas rolled to a 38-21 trouncing of the ‘Niners.
The following year, All-Pro Cowboys wide receiver Michael Irvin boldly proclaimed Dallas would beat the 49ers at Candlestick Park. But the ‘Niners exacted revenge from the past two NFC Championship games, winning 38-28.
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Fast forward 27 years later, these two historic franchises will meet again in the playoffs for the first time since the 1994-95 season NFC conference title game. But is there any bulletin board material?
Looks like one Cowboys star fired his warning shot to the 49ers — showing he won’t be intimated by the red-hot ‘Niners.
Star Rookie Calls Out ‘The Bully’
Micah Parsons has put together a season worthy of NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year consideration: An NFL-best 13 sacks among rookie defenders and 59 solo tackles in his league debut from Penn State.
The 6-foot-3, 245-pound will soon witness his first NFL playoff game. And standing in the way is a 49ers offense that wore down a Los Angeles Rams team led by a fellow Keystone State defender in Aaron Donald with 135 rushing yards. Donald was also held to zero sacks as the 49ers clinched their playoff spot in the 27-24 road win.
But is that ground attack, let alone the 49ers’ front line, enough to dazzle, rattle and leave the rookie awe struck?
Parsons told the Dallas media on Wednesday, January 12 that where he comes from in Pennslyvania, they learn how to stand up to “the bully.”
“I’m from Harrisburg where the bullies get bullied,” Parsons said via Michael Gehlken of the Dallas Morning News. “There’s a bully in every gym. At one point, it’s going to take somebody to stand up and fight. I ain’t ever back down from a challenge.”
Parsons is clearly not ducking and running from the 49ers in his upcoming playoff debut. This should be enough leverage for the ‘Niners to look forward to meeting the rookie for the first time — plus place his words somewhere in the 49ers’ locker room.
Could Parsons Get 49ers All-Pro?
Parsons was among the players cleared and activated from the reserve/COVID-19 list on Monday, January 10 — just in time for the NFC wildcard showdown.
With Parsons good to go, what about the health of one 49ers standout who will likely cross paths with the rookie sensation if he plays?
As of Wednesday evening, All-Pro left tackle Trent Williams is still nursing his injured elbow and sat out the 49ers’ practice via David Lombardi of The Athletic.
Is his playing status in jeopardy? Not so fast. Per ESPN NFL reporter Ed Werder, Williams has intentions to play even if it means wearing a brace over that elbow.
And with Williams on the field, expect the “bully ball” that Parsons described…and will need to counter with the rest of his team in the win or go home part of the NFL season.
Nevertheless, this rivalry is definitely back — with one member of the Cowboys already providing the early warning shots.