It’s been over 25 years since either the San Francisco 49ers or Dallas Cowboys won a Super Bowl.
With the Cowboys winning their last one in 1996 and the 49ers last hoisting the Lombardi Trophy in 1995, there are entire generations that haven’t seen either team’s “glory days.”
Kyle Shanahan understands. He was still just a kid, but his dad Mike was the offensive coordinator during the 1994 season that ended with a title in January of 1995. The 49ers head coach grew up in the game, and his childhood was spent watching the 49ers and Cowboys run the NFL.
However, Shanahan knows that his players have the same connection. When speaking this past Monday, he was asked if the 49ers squad understand the “gravity” of their rivalry in that era, and he offered a resounding no with some hilarious context.
“Not at all. I wish I could say yes,” Shanahan said per 49ers Webzone. “But some of these players were born in the 2000s. So you like to think so, but every day in the quarterback room, when I ask certain questions like, ‘Have you seen Wedding Crashers?’ And they don’t even know that sometimes… But our guys know how big of a deal the playoffs are and our guys are pumped for this game.”
There’s simply a gap in time there, but Shanahan also knows that having a deep appreciation for the golden eras of the two times is second to doing your job on the football field.
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Shanahan Reveals Childhood Memories
A couple questions prior to the one about the gravity of 49ers-Cowboys, Shanahan was prompted to talk about what it was like watching his dad and the 49ers in that time.
“Oh, I think that’s as cool as it gets because that’s the coolest part of my childhood growing up I feel like. My senior year in high school, my dad was with the Broncos and we were able to beat the Packers in the Super Bowl, which was unbelievable. But before that it was seventh grade, eighth grade, ninth grade, ’92, ’93, ’94, every single year. I thought we were the best team in the league. I think it was 14-2, [NFL Hall of Fame QB] Steve Young wins the championship and we played Dallas, who I think was 10-6 or 11-5. And I remember being on that sideline and just watching how good the Cowboys were and it was unbelievable.”
The San Francisco head coach added even more detail on a couple of the two teams’ famous battles. It’s always fun to see a coach in the NFL lose themselves in the moment and nostalgia like Shanahan did on Monday.
“As you can tell, those games I still remember them and I’ve never watched them. Those are part of my childhood, that was such cool football because everyone knew that for those three NFC championships, those three years were the Super Bowl.”
49ers and Cowboys Meeting in Playoffs
If it feels like its been forever since these two teams met in the postseason, it’s because it hasn’t happened since those aforementioned golden eras.
After watching the Cowboys pull off back-to-back Super Bowls in the 1992 and 1993 seasons, the Niners defeated their NFC rival 38-28 in the 1995 NFC Championship to set up a trip to Super Bowl XXIX. Of course, San Francisco made good on that by beating the San Diego Chargers 49-26.
25 years and change have passed, and now the 49ers and Cowboys are finally squaring off in a win-or-go-home game.