Falcons Vs 49ers
San Francisco, California
Starting in 1970, the National Football League started a playoff setup that would include a game for the right to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl each year. The game was called the NFC Championship game and the Dallas Cowboys won the first two games in 1970 and 1971 over their arch rivals, the San Francisco 49ers. The Cowboys would lose the next two NFC championship games to the Washington Redskins and to the Minnesota Vikings and would miss the game entirely in 1974 when the Vikings beat the Los Angeles Rams 14-10 for the right to play in the Super Bowl. The Cowboys would win three of the next four title games (with the Vikings winning the other in 1976) before stepping aside again in 1979. That year, the Buccaneers of Tampa Bay shocked the NFL by making it all the way to the NFC title game. The Buccaneers began playing in 1976 and didn’t win a game until the end of the second season, but in only their fourth year, they were a single step away from the biggest game in the NFL. The Los Angeles Rams ended the Bucs dream season with a 9-0 win in the NFC championship.
In 1990, the Giants beat the 49ers 15-13 in the NFC title game to advance to the Super Bowl against the Buffalo Bills who were making the first of their four consecutive appearances in the game. Many know the story of the Giants taking a late 20-19 lead and then holding their collective breath as Bills kicker Scott Norwood missed a field goal wide to give the Giants the Lombardi Trophy. In 1991, the Washington Redskins beat the Detroit Lions 41-10 to set an NFC championship game record for victory margin at 31, a record that would only hold up nine years. The next three NFC title games saw the Cowboys and 49ers renew their rivalry on the NFC’s biggest stage. At the time of these games, many felt that the winner of the game was a huge favorite to win the Super Bowl, so there was possibly more motivation in the NFC game than in the Super Bowl. The Cowboys won the first two contests in 1992 and 1993 before the 49ers exacted some revenge by winning in 1994. The Green Bay Packers would make appearances in the next three NFC championship games, losing the first to the Cowboys before beating the Carolina Panthers and the 49ers in the next two. The second NFC winning Packers squad would be the first team since the mid 80s to lose a Super Bowl game as the NFC representative. 1998 saw the first and only NFC title game to be decided in overtime when the Atlanta Falcons upset the Minnesota Vikings. The St. Louis Rams won the championship game in 1999 and 2001 and in between, the 2000 NFC championship game saw the New York Giants beat the Vikings 41-0 to set the record for largest margin of victory. The Buccaneers and Panthers have won the last two NFC title games to make the Super Bowl.
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