The Dallas Cowboys are not in the playoffs this season after a disappointing 8-8 season where the team lost four of the final six games, including the all-important NFC East battle with the Philadelphia Eagles. With no playoffs this year, we will sit by our television sets and pull for other teams. The good news is that the Eagles playoff journey was cut short after they lost to the Seattle Seahawks last week in the Wild Card round. Cowboys fans won’t have to live with the anxiety of watching a rival like Philadelphia make it’s quest for another championship. That’s a relief after the agony we were put through in 2017 when they won their first and only Super Bowl.
With the Eagles bounced, there are less-hated teams to root against, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t a couple squads remaining that we’d prefer not get another shot at a Lombardi trophy. We’re all different, and have our own reasons for which teams we like/dislike, but which teams will you be rooting for this weekend? Let’s first take look at the divisional round matchup between the Vikings and the 49ers.
What will be a common theme in all of these rankings, most of my appreciation or lack thereof for other teams has to do with the history they have with the Cowboys. These teams haven’t had much of a beef recently, however there have been a few moments to create a little bit of hostility for opposing fans.
Longtime Vikings fans know their team was really good in the seventies, making the playoffs in all but two years during of that decade. They made the Super Bowl four times in a span of eight years, but each time they came out on the losing end. The Cowboys and Vikings played each other three times in the playoffs back then, with Dallas winning two of the three - including the infamous “Hail Mary” in the Divisional playoffs of the 1975 season which ended their season in dramatic fashion.
These teams crossed paths in a big way in 1989; however, it wasn’t on the football field. The Vikings are credited in helping springboard the Cowboys dynasty of the ‘90s after they gave up a plethora of draft picks in exchange for 27-year-old running back Herschel Walker. Two years later, Walker was no longer playing in Minnesota while the Cowboys were winning the first of three Super Bowls over the span of four years.
Coincidentally, Walker returned to Dallas in 1996 and even helped the Cowboys beat the Vikings 40-15 as he and Emmitt Smith helped the team rack up 255 rushing yards in the game. And while George Teague will always be remember for his 50-yard line hit on Terrell Owens, the safety had a big game against the Vikings on that day. He had two forced fumbles, including one that saved a touchdown, as well as a pick-six against Brad Johnson.
A couple years later, revenge was served warm as rookie wide receiver Randy Moss carved up the Cowboys defense on Thanksgiving, helping Minnesota to a 46-36 victory. The Cowboys had passed up on him in the 1998 NFL Draft. The following year, these teams met in the playoffs and Moss helped the Vikings beat Dallas 27-10, in what would be the last ever playoff game for Emmitt Smith and Troy Aikman.
The most recent playoff battle between these two came in 2009 when Tony Romo and Brett Favre squared off in the Divisional round of the playoffs. The Vikings crushed Dallas 34-3 as Romo was sacked six times, and turned the ball over three times. Favre, on the other hand, flourished as he threw for four touchdowns. Minnesota advanced to the NFC Championship game, but lost to the New Orleans Saints in the infamous bountygate scandal where the Saints were constantly trying to take out Favre in the game. So, if you’re feeling sorry for the Saints for their recent heartbreaking losses to Minnesota, remember - karma can be a buster sometimes.
Over the years, the Vikings and Cowboys have squared off six times in the postseason, with each team winning three games each. Minnesota is one of 12 teams to have never won a Super Bowl, so they are definitely due.
San Francisco 49ers
For longtime Cowboys fans, the 49ers have to be near the top of the list of teams fans dislike the most. Seven times these teams have met in the playoffs, and six of them have been during the NFC Championship. The Cowboys have won four of those six NFCC games, including two straight at the beginning of the ‘70s. That helped the Cowboys reach back-to-back Super Bowls in 1970 and 1971, including their first ever championship during the 1971 season with a victory over the Miami Dolphins in SB VI.
The 49ers got their revenge in the infamous 1981 NFC Championship game. Everyone will remember “The Catch,” but it was the very next play from scrimmage that will live in my memory forever. Danny White hit Drew Pearson over the middle on a deep slant, but a horse-collar tackle saved the day for the 49ers. The Cowboys were moving into position for a potential game-winning field goal, but White fumbled on the very next play and the game was over.
The Cowboys returned to the top a decade later when another slant pass in Candlestick was thrown late in the game, only this time - the 49ers defenders weren’t able to make this tackle and the Cowboys went on win the game, 30-20. The Cowboys routed the 49ers the following year en route to back-to-back Super Bowl victories; however, they weren’t able to make it three straight the following season. After starting the 1994 NFC Championship with three straight turnovers, the Cowboys found themselves in a 21-0 hole within the first five minutes of the game. Dallas fought back admirably, but couldn’t complete the comeback when a controversial no-call on a pass interference from Deion Sanders on Michael Irvin sealed the Cowboys fate.
Over the years, there have been some big moments between these two teams.
Who do you want to win on Saturday?
This poll is closed
San Francisco 49ers