Jan. 15, 1995. The NFC championship game between the San Francisco 49ers and the back-to-back defending Super Bowl champion Dallas Cowboys. America’s Team was two wins away from being the only NFL team in history to win three Super Bowls in a row. This is a blog about the day it almost happened, how close they got, and what came after.
Iron Sharpens Iron
In the ‘80s and early ‘90s, it didn’t matter what team you were a fan of. When the Cowboys played the Niners, everyone tuned in. When it came playoff time, the Cowboys vs. the Niners were like mini-Super Bowls. In the 1994-95 NFC championship game, the consensus was this: Whoever wins between these two titans wins the Super Bowl.
They Still Talk About This One
The Niners drew first blood with Eric Davis’ 44-yard pick-six. From there, the Niners made it look easy, scoring twice more before the Cowboys finally managed to put up seven points in the final minutes of the first quarter. The score after one: 21-7.
The teams traded scores back and forth the rest of the way, with the Cowboys pulling to within 10 late in the fourth quarter after quarterback Troy Aikman led an 89-yard drive punctuated by a 10-yard touchdown pass to Michael Irvin.
Ultimately, though, all those first-quarter points from San Francisco proved too much. The 38-28 score held and the Niners won. Emmitt Smith going out in the fourth with an injured hamstring certainly didn’t help, but the one play every Cowboy fan still talks about to this day is the pass interference no-call on Deion Sanders.
End of an Era
This proved to be the final high-stakes clash between these two titanic teams. The Niners went on to destroy the severely outmatched San Diego Changers 49-26 to take home their fifth and last Super Bowl trophy. The Cowboys managed to come back and win their fifth Super Bowl title the following year, with a little help from Prime Time himself, Deion Sanders – the man that dashed their three-peat dreams just a year prior. That was the final time America's Team made the journey to the big dance.
For over a decade, these two franchises were responsible for some of the NFL’s greatest moments, and more than a few Hall of Fame speeches. And while our beloved Cowboys may never again be as dominant as they were in their heyday, you never know what will happen on any given Sunday.
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