TOP 5 Rivalries
Niner Report|October 2020
TOP 5 Rivalries
Over the course of the team’s 75-year history, the 49ers have developed and cultivated some of the more heated and iconic rivalries in NFL history, several of which have remained strong over many decades. In an unusual scheduling quirk, San Francisco will face each of its top five historic rivals during the 2020 season, and several of those games could have playoff implications while each promises to add another memorable chapter to storied competitions. Here are the greatest rivalries in 49ers history, each of them featuring unforgettable moments in team lore, with the week San Francisco plays those rivals this year in parentheses along with the best games ever in each rivalry.
Craig Massei

1 Dallas Cowboys (Week 15): A valid argument can be made that 49ers/Cowboys is the greatest rivalry in NFL history, considering the magnitude of several games that have matched these two premier franchises and the impact they had on the NFL landscape. A new NFL era was launched when Dwight Clark climbed high in the Candlestick Park sky to make “The Catch” during the 1981 NFC Championship that propelled San Francisco to its first Super Bowl. The NFL recently named that game and that play No. 2, respectively, on its lists of the greatest games and plays in league history. But the high-stakes rivalry actually heated up earlier in the 1970s, when 49ers/Cowboys was a playoff showdown for three consecutive seasons to begin the decade, with the Cowboys prevailing twice in the NFC Championship game. The rivalry was at its best in the early 1990s, when juggernaut 49ers/Cowboys teams met three consecutive years in the NFC Championship, with the winner of each game going on to record blowout Super Bowl victories. Greatest game: 49ers 28, Cowboys 27 (1981 NFC Championship).


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October 2020