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About this blog: I am a native of Alameda County, grew up in Pleasanton and currently live in the house I grew up in that is more than 100 years old. I spent 39 years in the daily newspaper business and wrote a column for more than 25 years in add...  (More)

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Dallas vs. San Francisco Sunday sparks plenty of memories

Uploaded: Jan 19, 2023
Sunday’s Dallas-49ers game sparks lots of memories for me.
I started in the newspaper industry as a sports writer and wrote sports throughout the late 1960s and the 70s. That was the golden era of the Oakland Raiders coached by John Madden. The 49ers had a few bright spots early in the 1970s, but didn’t hit their Super Bowl stride until the 1980s after they hired Bill Walsh away from Stanford. Walsh’s Stanford teams were such fun to watch that I, as a Cal graduate and fan, went to a number of them simply because the football was so good.
Way back in 1972, I was in the press box at Candlestick and watching the TV monitor as the Raiders suffered the last-second loss on the “Immaculate Reception” by Franco Harris. That was 50 years ago and celebrated when the Raiders visited Pittsburgh in December.
The Candlestick game that day pitted Tom Landry’s Cowboys against the 49ers coached by Dick Nolan. The 49ers seemed to have the game well-in-hand until Dallas, quarterbacked by Roger Staubach (who proved to be an even better businessman than quarterback) led an improbable comeback that resulted in both Bay Area teams being eliminated the same day after leading late into the 4th quarter.
Fast forward nine years and I’m now working in news and watching at home in 1981 as the Cowboys meet the ‘Niners in the NFC Championship game at Candlestick. That game, of course, was decided by The Catch when Dwight Clark soared in the end zone to catch Joe Montana’s pass. It’s one of the few football pictures I have in my home to this day. Another one is the 49er defensive line burying Miami quarterback Dan Marino in the Super Bowl win at Stanford Stadium (the only time it was played there).
Incidentally, just like in 1972 there was enough time for Dallas to mount a game-winning drive, but the 49er defense strip-sacked quarterback Danny White and The Catch became history and the path to the first Super Bowl title.
The 1990s brought Jimmy Johnson to Dallas and a refreshed rivalry with Dallas gaining the upper hand until the Steve Young-led 49ers won the 1995 Super Bowl over the then-San Diego Chargers.
Last year, the 49ers defeated Dallas in the wild card game in Jerry World and then beat Green Bay at Lambeau Field before losing to the eventual Super Bowl champion Rams in the NFC title game.
Sunday’s game will be the ninth post-season meeting between the franchises and only the third game that wasn’t for the conference championship and a berth in the Super Bowl.
Here’s hoping for one more game and one more victory in 2023. I will be watching, although that was hard in 2020 because we were flying to Houston for a conference while the game was being played so it was catch-as-catch-can on the phone and iPad.
Likely the same next Sunday when we’ll head for that same gathering, this time by car because it’s in Newport Beach.

Democracy.
What is it worth to you?

Comments

Posted by Fred Jackson, a resident of another community,
on Jan 19, 2023 at 8:54 am

Fred Jackson is a registered user.

The earlier 49er games at Kezar Stadium often rivaled the raucousness of the Raider games played at the Colluseum except that the home fans frequently took it out on the 49ers rather than the visiting team.

Players were instructed to always wear their helmets while entering the tunnel leading to the dressing room during halftime and at the end of the game because angry 49er fans would often throw beer bottles and garbage at them.

This tradition was prevalent during the days when Y.A. Tittle was QB and Red Hickey (inventor of the Shotgun offense) was the head coach...early 1960s.

After the 49ers lost to the Detroit Lions in the 1958 NFL championship game, they began a downhill slide and many diehard
49er fans never forgave them.

The John Brodie/Dick Nolan seasons in 1970-71-72 offered some hope but the 49er defense never fully adapted to the Flex Defense that former Dallas Cowboy defensive coordinator and now 49er head coach Nolan tried to implement.

Team success during the 1980s under Coach Bill Walsh created a new set of 'bandwagon fans' and there will be others pending the team's future success.

In professional sports, winning is everything and nothing else matters to fans and front office unless they happen to be the Oakland A's.


Posted by Lamar Hodges, a resident of Blackhawk,
on Jan 19, 2023 at 10:51 am

Lamar Hodges is a registered user.

"After the 49ers lost to the Detroit Lions in the 1958 NFL championship game, they began a downhill slide and many diehard 49er fans never forgave them."

@Fred Jackson...I believe you are referring to the 1957 playoff game between the Lions and Niners at Kezar Stadium. Both teams finished 8-4 that season and the Lions won 31-27.

49er fans were incensed at the team's failure and Coach Frankie Albert resigned as head coach due to verbal harassment and alleged threats made against his family.

BTW...coach Red Hickey's 'shotgun formation' eventually disappeared from the 49er playbook because opposing teams often countered by placing an outside linebacker on the defensive line for an added pass rush.

Back in those days, QBs were not as mobile until Fran Tarkington came along and 'scrambled' his way towards NFL success.


Posted by Joe V, a resident of Birdland,
on Jan 23, 2023 at 10:31 am

Joe V is a registered user.

@fred jackson...interesting article of the 49ers of your time, before some readers were even born, but I wouldn't refer to 49er fans of a different era, or the 80's, bandwagon fans. Just like many of the current hardcore fans were probably very young, or possibly not born yet in the early 80's, they have formed a new fan base. In many cases, it's a family tradition passed on.


Posted by Dean Wallace, a resident of Stoneridge,
on Jan 23, 2023 at 10:56 am

Dean Wallace is a registered user.

As a fan of Stanford football, watching Christian McCaffrey go on the current year he's on " both on the ground by powering through, and making catches with more dexterity than a guy his size should be able to " brings back great memories of the 2015 season. He's a class act and a workhorse. He's earned this streak (just as much as he earned the Heisman he was robbed of that year!). Awesome to see him doing this back in the Bay.


Posted by Dean Wallace, a resident of Stoneridge,
on Jan 23, 2023 at 10:56 am

Dean Wallace is a registered user.

As a fan of Stanford football, watching Christian McCaffrey go on the current year he's on " both on the ground by powering through, and making catches with more dexterity than a guy his size should be able to " brings back great memories of the 2015 season. He's a class act and a workhorse. He's earned this streak (just as much as he earned the Heisman he was robbed of that year!). Awesome to see him doing this back in the Bay.


Posted by Gary Chisolm, a resident of Walnut Creek,
on Jan 24, 2023 at 7:22 am

Gary Chisolm is a registered user.

The Steve Mariuchi era was the worst in recent 49er history unless one takes into account the distant Joe Thomas at GM timeframe during the late 70s.

During earlier decades, the 49ers were always expected to lose because they always managed to find a way to do so.

The 49er bandwagon started with the Joe Montana era during the 80s.

Instead of beer, the new legion of 49er fans fans were yuppified white wine drinkers.


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