This is the image in the 1981 NFC Championship game that Cowboys fans would rather not re-live, but I figured it was monumental in the re-visiting of the rivalry between these teams.
In this particular scene, it was the 4th quarter of the 1981 NFC Championship game in which the 49ers were trailing the Cowboys 27-21.
The 49ers had a drive going and were at the Cowboys' six-yard line. Joe Montana found Dwight Clark in the back of the end zone on a miraculous play that was more desperation than design.
The withering pass rush from the Cowboys' defense had been chasing Montana the entire game. This play was no different, as the Cowboys' defensive line had collapsed the protection of the 49ers' offensive line, and had chased Montana all over the field.
The play was designed to go to 49ers WR Freddie Solomon. The 49ers had scored in the first quarter of the game on the exact same play, "Sprint Right Option".
Desperation caused Montana to float the ball into the back of the end zone toward Clark, and hope he could somehow come up with the game-winning touchdown catch that would avenge lopsided regular season losses to the Cowboys.
Clark, out of a sheer miracle, pulled down the high floater from Montana even with Cowboys DB Everson Walls pretty much blanketing the tight end on the play.
The touchdown sealed the 49ers' win, and their trip to Super Bowl XVI. They would go on to beat the AFC champion Cincinnati Bengals led by QB Ken Anderson and deep threat WR Cris Collinsworth by the score of 26-21.
The Cowboys, after the heartbreaking loss, would go on to advance to the conference title game the very next year against the Washington Redskins. They lost that contest by a score of 31-17, in which QB Danny White was knocked out of the game after a hit by Redskins DE Dexter Manley.
The Cowboys wouldn't reach the NFC Championship game again until 1992. This marked the beginning of the dynasty of the 1990s, in which the Cowboys became the first team in NFL history to win three Super Bowls in four years.
Special thanks to Hip 2 Da Game: Famous Finishes for the image!