Kyle Shanahan Says Today's Players Don't Grasp Significance of 49ers-Cowboys Rivalry

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 11, 2022

INGLEWOOD, CA - JANUARY 09: San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan celebrates after the NFL game between the San Francisco 49ers and the Los Angeles Rams on January 9, 2022, at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, CA. (Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

There is no shortage of history and all-time great moments when it comes to the San Francisco 49ers and the Dallas Cowboys.

From moments like The Catch to players like Joe Montana, Jerry Rice, Steve Young, Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith, Michael Irvin and Deion Sanders going head-to-head, there was a time when these two franchises were considered the gold standard of the NFL; their rivalry was among the fiercest in the league.

That time may as well be ancient history for current players.

"Not at all," 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan said when asked if the younger players understand the history of the rivalry ahead of Sunday's playoff matchup, per Dalton Johnson of NBC Sports. "I wish I could say yes, but I mean, some of these players were born in the 2000s. You would like to say so." 

Perhaps most famously, the Cowboys and 49ers played each other in three straight NFC Championship Games with the winner going on to take home the Lombardi Trophy between 1992 and 1994.

Shanahan's father, Mike, was the offensive coordinator for San Francisco during that stretch.

"That was a part of my childhood that was just such cool football, because everyone knew those three NFC championships, those three years, those were the Super Bowl," Shanahan said.

While many of the current players will not remember that, they have an opportunity to star in the next chapter of the rivalry Sunday.