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Kyle Shanahan Discusses the 49ers' Rivalry with the Cowboys

The last time the 49ers played the Cowboys in the playoffs, Kyle Shanahan was in junior high school.

The 49ers will play the Cowboys in the playoffs this Sunday for the first time since Jan. 15, 1995 -- almost 27 years ago.

Back then, 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan was 49ers ball boy Kyle Shanahan. And his father, Mike, was their offensive coordinator.

Here's what Kyle Shanahan said Monday about the importance of the rivalry to him.

Q: You were around the 49ers in the '90s when they faced Dallas so often in the postseason. What are some of your memories of that rivalry back then and what does it mean to you to be part of it now?

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SHANAHAN: "I think that's as cool as it gets, because that's the coolest part of my childhood growing up. Seventh grade, eighth grade, ninth grade -- '92, '93, '94 -- every single year, I thought we were the best team in the league. In 1992, we were 14-2, and we played Dallas. I remember being on that sideline watching how good the Cowboys were. It was unbelievable. Next year going to Dallas, we all know what happened there. That one wasn't even close. And then the third year, in free agency they got Ken Norton, added Deion Sanders in Week 3. And then to have that (NFC Championship) at home when Eric Davis started it off with a pick-six, they had Deion follow around Alvin Harper because he had hurt the Niners the two years previously, Michael Irvin went off but they limited Harper, and Davis made those plays. Dallas made a little comeback at the end. As you can tell, I still remember those games and I've never rewatched them. It was a part of my childhood that was such cool football, because everyone knew those NFC Championships those three years were the Super Bowl."

Q: Do you think the gravity of it all is understood by these players?

SHANAHAN: "Not at all. I wish I could say yes. Some of these players were born in the 2000s. Every day in the quarterback room when I ask certain questions like have you seen Wedding Crashers? And they don't even know that sometimes. You'd be very surprised. But our guys know how big of a deal the playoffs are, and our guys are pumped no matter who we're playing."