1994: 49ers 38, Cowboys 28 (NFC)
Steve Young’s only Super Bowl title — and the 49ers’ most recent appearance— came after a win over Dallas in the teams’ third straight playoff meeting. Dallas turned the ball over three times in the first quarter, which the 49ers converted into three touchdowns. Outgained by the Cowboys, San Francisco did enough to beat them, then smoked San Diego, 49-26, in Super Bowl XXIX.
Previous conference championship rematches:
In the five previous rematches of conference title games, the winner was the same the second time around, and four of those teams went on to win the Super Bowl. So did the two teams that won a third consecutive matchup.
1970-71: Cowboys vs. 49ers
1970 season: Cowboys 17, at 49ers 10
1971: At Cowboys 14, 49ers 3
Note: Dallas’s first two Super Bowl appearances were helped by five John Brodie interceptions, and Duane Thomas had a combined 187 yards rushing and two TDs.
1974-76: Steelers vs. Raiders
1974: Steelers 24, at Raiders 13
1975: At Steelers 16, Raiders 10
1976: At Raiders 24, Steelers 7
Note: The winner of each game went on to win the Super Bowl. Pittsburgh might have made it three straight titles if not for Franco Harris’s injury in the ‘76 playoffs.
1978-79: Steelers vs. Oilers
1978: At Steelers 34, Oilers 5
1979: At Steelers 27, Oilers 13
Note: Houston’s best chances at a championship were ruined by a Pittsburgh defense that held Earl Campbell to 2 yards per carry, with no TDs, over the two games.
1986-87: Broncos vs. Browns
1986: Broncos 23, at Browns 20 (OT)
1987: At Broncos 38, Browns 33
Note: The first game is known for The Drive (John Elway’s 98-yard tying TD march), and the second The Fumble (Earnest Byner’s goal-line turnover with 1:05 to play).
1992-94: Cowboys vs. 49ers
1992: Cowboys 30, at 49ers 20
1993: At Cowboys 38, 49ers 21
1994: At 49ers 38, Cowboys 28
Note: Three unofficial Super Bowls. It marked the heart of Dallas’s ‘90s dynasty, and stands as the end of San Francisco’s run of five championships in 14 seasons.