January 15, 1995 — NFC Championship game vs. San Francisco, Candlestick Park
I’ll admit that this is a greedy choice. Winning three Super Bowls in a four year span is quite an accomplishment and Dallas did it first. But there is still a part of me that wishes they’d won three straight and had a chance for four.
Granted, a major shift occurred in the offseason when Jerry Jones ran off Head Coach Jimmy Johnson and replaced him with NCAA coaching legend Barry Switzer. That alone caused enough trouble, but one big play occurred late in the fourth quarter that could have shifted momentum Dallas’s way.
The Cowboys were down by 10 with just over seven minutes to play from their own 26. Back-to-back passes to Kevin Williams and a huge penalty against linebacker Tim Harris moved them past midfield to the San Francisco 43.
But there is still a part of me that wishes they’d won three straight and had a chance for four.
On second and ten with about 6:10 to go, Aikman dropped back as Irvin sprinted down the left sideline. Cornerback Deion Sanders stumbled, giving them a brief window. Aikman put the ball exactly where it needed to be, but Sanders recovered and got a hand on Irvin.
The ball dropped to the turf while Switzer flipped his lid and received a 15 yard penalty for bumping an official. This killed the drive and all hopes for Dallas. What if Sanders had been flagged?
The Cowboys would have taken the ball with a first and goal from around the five yard line and if they’d scored, who knows what would’ve happened? They had two timeouts left at the time and in a one possession game, it could’ve gone either way.
The 49ers went on to trounce the Chargers in Super Bowl XXIX, leaving Dallas fans saying “we could have done that, too.” But we all felt better the following year, so maybe this one is a little easier to let go of.