49ers–Cowboys rivalry

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San Francisco 49ers-Dallas Cowboys
49ers Logo.svg Dallas Cowboys logo
First contested November 20, 1960
San Francisco 49ers 26, Dallas Cowboys 14
Number of meetings 33
Most recent meeting September 18, 2011
Dallas Cowboys 27, San Francisco 49ers 24
Next meeting 2014
All-time series Tied 16-16-1
Postseason results

Dallas Cowboys lead 5-2

Most recent
January 15, 1995
Dallas Cowboys 28, San Francisco 49ers 38
Largest victory San Francisco 49ers 14, Dallas Cowboys 59 (1980)
Current streak Dallas Cowboys, 3 wins (2011)
Championship success during tenure of rivalry

Super Bowl titles (10)

NFC Championships (14)

Super Bowl appearances (14)

The 49ers–Cowboys rivalry is a rivalry in the NFL between the San Francisco 49ers and the Dallas Cowboys. The series is currently tied 16-16-1. It is one of the great inter-division rivalry games in the NFL. The two teams do not play every year; instead, they play once every three years due to the NFL's rotating division schedules, or if the two teams finish in the same place in their respective divisions, they would play the ensuing season. Sports Illustrated ranked it as the eighth best rivalry[1] while the NFL Top 10 ranked this rivalry to be the tenth best in the NFL. It is said to be the most historic and intense rivalry in the entire football league.[2][3]


The bitter rivalry between the Dallas Cowboys and San Francisco 49ers has been going on since the 1970s. San Francisco has played Dallas in seven postseason games. The Cowboys defeated the 49ers in the 1970 and 1971 NFC Championship games, and again in the 1972 Divisional Playoff Game. The 1981 NFC Championship Game in San Francisco, which saw the 49ers' Joe Montana complete a game-winning pass to Dwight Clark in the final minute (now known as The Catch) is one of the most famous games in NFL history. The rivalry became even more intense during the 1992–1994 seasons. San Francisco and Dallas faced each other in the NFC Championship Game three separate times. Dallas won the first two match-ups, and San Francisco won the third. In each of these pivotal match-ups, the game's victor went on to win the Super Bowl. Both the Cowboys and the 49ers are second all time in Super Bowl victories to the Pittsburgh Steelers with five each.

The Catch[edit]

The Catch refers to the winning touchdown reception by Dwight Clark off a Joe Montana pass in the January 10, 1982, NFC Championship Game between the Dallas Cowboys and San Francisco 49ers. The Catch is widely regarded as one of the most memorable events in NFL history.