Re-posted from November 10, 2011: Here is a post from November that highlighted the rich rivalry and history between the Giants and 49ers who square off on Sunday to determine who advances to the Super Bowl:
This Sunday’s game against the New York Giants is big in many aspects for the 49ers and their fans. With the Green Bay Packers as the current kings of the NFC it can be argued that the 49ers and Giants are the number two and three best teams in the NFC. With a 7-1 record, a brutal defense and wins over the Eagles, Bengals, Buccaneers and Lions the 49ers are the second best team in the NFC. The Giants are not far behind the 49ers as the third best team in the NFC with a 6-2 record, a high threat level passing game and wins over the Eagles, Bills and Patriots. At the end of Sunday’s game a true number two will emerge in the NFC.
Another aspect that makes Sunday’s contest against the Giants a big game is the heated rivalry between the two teams. In the 1980’s and 1990’s the 49ers-Giants rivalry was at its best. During that time the 49ers and Giants combined for seven Super Bowl Championships, 17 divisional titles (13 by the 49ers) and 24 playoff appearances (16 by the 49ers). Most of the matchups during the ‘80s and ‘90s came in the playoffs and made for some of the biggest games in 49ers franchise history. From 1984-1986 the 49ers and Giants met in the playoffs three years in row, with 49ers winning the Super Bowl in 1984 and the Giants winning in 1986.
For this Niner fan the 49ers-Giants rivalry has a personal aspect as my older brother is a lifelong and diehard Giants fan. During the ‘90s there were plenty of shouting matches and rubbing it in of wins when our teams came out on top. There have also been plenty of bets between us which I mostly won in the ‘90s but have lost in the last decade. The bet for this Sunday’s game is the loser has to wear to the other team’s jersey all-day, on Thanksgiving. With a win over the Giants I will get to see my brother wear a Red and Gold jersey of one of his most hated teams, while being ridiculed by family members for losing the bet. If the unthinkable happens, and I have to wear a Giants jersey on turkey day, watching the Ravens vs. 49ers game on Thanksgiving night will not be fun. But I am confident in the 49ers and them pulling off the win over the Giants.
Here is a look back at some of the memorable playoff games between the 49es and Giants:
Matchup by the Numbers:
49ers and Giants have met seven times in the playoffs
49ers are 4-3 in the playoffs against the Giants.
The Giants lead the overall series 14–13.
NFC Divisional Playoff, 1981:
49ers 38 Giants 24
The divisional round playoff game had many firsts. It was the start of the 49ers-Giants rivalry, the first time the Giants had made the playoffs since 1963 and it was Joe Montana’s first playoff game and first playoff victory for the 49ers. The 49ers would go on to win their first Super Bowl after beating the Cowboys in the NFC Championship game that featured “The Catch”
NFC Divisional Playoff, 1984:
49ers 21 Giants 10
All the scoring in the game was done in the first half with 31 points put up by the Giants and 49ers. Montana had three touchdowns and 309 yards against the Giants en route to their second Super Bowl championship.
NFC Wild Card, 1985:
49ers 3 Giants 17
Third time was a charm for the Giants as they finally beat the 49ers after losing the previous two playoff matchups. The 49ers were able to run up 362 yards of offense against the Giants defense led by Lawrence Taylor however the team only scored one field goal. The Giants would lose in the next round to the Bears.
NFC Divisional Playoff, 1986:
49ers 3 Giants 49
In the rout the 49ers were held touchdown less for the second straight playoff game against the Giants. The 49ers were out of the game by halftime down 28-3. Joe Montana was knocked out of the game in the second quarter which explained why the 49ers only had 155 passing yards and three interceptions. The Giants went on to win their second Super Bowl championship over the Denver Broncos.
NFC Championship Game, 1990:
49ers 13 Giants 15
The NFC Championship game is remembered for many reasons, all of them bad for the 49ers. The 49ers did not allow the Giants to score a touchdown but they were able to kick five field goals which were enough to beat the 49ers. The loss ended the 49ers chances of a Super Bowl three-peat, a feat no team still has not accomplished in the NFL. But the most memorable moment of the game, for Niner fans not so much, was the hit by Giants defensive end Leonard Marshall that knocked Joe Montana out of the game with over nine minutes left to play. Montana would only play one more game with the 49ers after the injury. The Giants went on to beat the Bills for their second Super Bowl championship.
NFC Wild Card Game, 2003:
49ers 39 Giants 38
The wild card game was one of the best in 49ers-Giants history. Late into the third quarter the Giants were up 38-14. At the time I remember almost not watching the rest of the game as my brother talked nothing but trash as the Giants seemed on their way to a victory. I held out hope even though the Giants defense was one of the best in the NFL at the time. After the 49ers scored to make the game 38-22, I remember Michael Strahan taunting the 49ers by pointing to the scoreboard. As the Giants defense got comfortable with the lead the 49ers offense scored 25 unanswered points with two fast touchdowns, two two-point conversions and a field goal in the fourth quarter cutting the lead to 38-33.
Does anyone remember wider receiver Tai Streets? The only reason I do is because of his big touchdown catch in the fourth quarter that put the 49ers in the lead 39-38. It was the only real contribution Streets made while he was with the 49ers but he will go down in history as the one who scored the winning touchdown.
Of course, even with erasing a 25-point deficit the Giants gave the 49ers one last scare on the last play of the game. Giants QB Kerry Collins drove the offense down the field to the 49ers 23-yard line with six seconds left in the game. At that point both my brother and I were silent as the Giants setup for the field goal to win the game. I remember looking away as the football was snapped not wanting to see what I thought was the inevitable. Instead I heard my brother yell as the Giants long snapper released a bad snap. As I turned around the Giants placekick holder attempted a pass which landed incomplete. A Giants lineman was downfield ready for the catch but a 49ers player knocked him over. A flag was thrown and it seemed like pass interference was going to be called however instead the Giants were called for an illegal man downfield and the game ended. As I jumped and yelled in celebration my brother cursed and was complaining the Giants lineman was an eligible receiver. Eligible or not the 49ers came away with a win that will go down as one of the greatest games in franchise history.
Still to this day I bring up the game to my brother to rub it in and make him bitter. After the 49ers win this weekend over the Giants I will make sure to bring it up again.