Reboots from the previous millennium are everywhere on television these days. If this is the direction the party is going, of course the NFL would bring back one of its classic programs, the Dallas Cowboys vs. the San Francisco 49ers in the playoffs.
I’m sure many have seen the commercials for the return Bedpan on NBC, and second season of Bel-Air starts in February on Paun. After months of hype, Kitty and Red are back on TV Netflix’s That show from the 90s. There is even a new one House party in cinemas.
If nostalgia is going to dominate the content menu, why not give people the option of what used to be the most anticipated match on the sports calendar. The dawn of the 49ers as a nationally relevant franchise was when Joe Montana and Dwight Clark abruptly ended the Cowboys’ original glory days in 1982.
Then from 1992 to 1995 the regular season was just a formality. Sports fans watched the entire NFL season with their 3D Doritos and straight Pepsi, but they knew the championship would be decided when the Cowboys and 49ers went to battle. The Super Bowl was just an excuse to watch holograms of Michael Jackson dancing at the top of The Rose Bowl, with the best team in the NFL decided two weeks earlier.
These two franchises have gone through many ups and downs over the past three decades, but even at their most successful, neither has won a Super Bowl since the glory days of the 1990s. On Sunday, the Cowboys and 49ers will square off in a postseason game for the second straight season.
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Like most reboots, the cast has been changed. Troy Aikman and Steve Young work for ESPN. Michael Irvin is on the NFL Network and Deion Sanders is one of them the most polarizing figures in college football. These days, Micah Parsons and Joey Bosa are the favorites for Defensive Player of the Year because these two are pass rush specialists lead two fierce defenses.
Dak Prescott currently the initial ququarterback for the Cowboys. It’s a job that will bring plenty of support and scrutiny for as long as the NFL exists, but he doesn’t have Young, Montana or even Colin Kaepernick on the other side to match his level of fame. The 49ers are on third down, Brock Purdy. A year after trading up in the NFL draft to select Trey Lance, he went down with a season-ending injury in week two. The same thing happened to his backup – who they unsuccessfully tried to lure out of town – Jimmy Garoppolo.
Relying on the rookie third-string quarterback for an extended period of time ended the Miami Dolphins’ season early. Purdy has yet to miss a game since Garoppolo’s injury in Week 13, and the 49ers finished the season with the second-best record in the NFC.
Also, like most reboots, the feel of what was once a classic is something that can never be recaptured. Candlestick Park and Texas Stadium have been demolished, and commentators Pat Summerall and John Madden are no longer with us. Kevin Burkhardt and Greg Olson will call the game, which will be held at the 49ers’ new home stadium, nearly 40 miles from where Candlestick Park once stood.
Also, the Cowboys and 49ers are certainly no longer head and shoulders above the rest of the NFL. They are two of the few teams considered to have enough talent to win a championship. The AFC is actually considered the better conference now. The NFC’s current Super Bowl winning streak is two years, not 10-plus.
Times have changed, but what remains the same is that when the Cowboys and 49ers square off in the playoffs, it’s a major game. Their divisional round contest is the final game of the NFL playoffs this weekend.
So throw away the old Starter jackets, regardless of whether you can still fit in them. The Cowboys and 49ers playoff restart is about to begin.