Giants Leonard Marshall levels 49ers Joe Montana in New York’s epic 15-13 upset in 1990 NFC Championship game that dashed San Francisco’s hopes for a Super Bowl three-peat.
The New York Giants and San Francisco 49ers is one of the all-time great NFL rivalries, starting with their first-ever meeting in 1952 at the Polo Grounds.
That day Charlie Conerly threw a touchdown pass and Ray Poole’s three field goals made the difference in a 23-14 Giants win. Y.A. Tittle, who would later take the Giants to three straight NFL Championship games, pitched two touchdowns for the Niners.
Here’s 10 things you need to know about Giants-49ers:
1. Even Steven: The two teams have split 28 regular season games. In those games, the 49ers outscored the Giants by just seven points, 560 to 553.
2. Playoffs…playoffs: Same in the playoffs. San Francisco holds a 4-3 edge in playoff matchups, scoring 161 points to the Giants 156.
3. Familiar foes: No two NFL teams have met in the playoffs more often than these two, with Sunday’s title game at Candlestick Park marking their league record-tying eighth postseason showdown. Only the Bears and the Giants have as many playoff matchups, with six of those eight being NFL Championship games.
4. 10-Year Super run: The two teams met five times in the playoffs between 1981 and 1990. In four of those five games, the winner went on to win the Super Bowl.
5. Hey Joe: Joseph Clifford Montana Jr. led the Niners to divisional round wins over the Giants in 1981 and 1984, and San Francisco went on to win its first two Super Bowls.
6. Home cooking: The Giants won their first-ever playoff game in Giants Stadium in 1985, beating the 49ers 17-3 on touchdown passes by Phil Simms to tight ends Mark Bavaro and Don Hasselback. Hasselbeck went on to father NFL quarterbacks Tim and Matt.
7. 49 vs. 49ers: In 1986, Simms threw four touchdown passes and Lawrence Taylor took an errant Montana pass to the house as the Giants romped 49-3 en route to their first Super Bowl.
8. Bahr for three: The two teams met in the NFC Championship game for the only previous time in 1990. Matt Bahr, right, kicked five field goals, the last in the final seconds, to send the Giants to more Super Bowl glory with a 15-13 victory. Bahr’s field goal was set up by a costly fumble by Roger Craig.
9. Running Watters: Ricky Watters set a playoff record with five touchdowns (all rushing) and 30 points in 1993 when the 49ers beat the Giants 44-3, the last game for both Simms and Taylor.
10. Huge comeback: In their last playoff meeting in 2002, the 49ers overcame a 24-point deficit to win 39-38 the second greatest comeback in NFL playoff history. 19-year veteran Trey Jenkin, playing in his only game for the Giants, botched a snap as they Giants attempted a potential game-winning field goal in the waning seconds.