Between the playoffs and regular season, Steve Young appeared in 191 NFL games, some surely lost by now to time. But there’s one that will not leave him, no matter how badly he might want amnesia.
The NFC Championship following the 1992 season, in retrospect, may have begun one dynasty, and it wasn’t the one Young was trying to continue.
After Joe Montana’s Niners won four Super Bowls in the ’80s, Young, fresh off a 14-2 season, was trying to establish the ’90s would belong to San Francisco, too. Instead, “It was a frickin’ disaster.
“When we lost the championship game in ’92, I just wanted to poke my eye out on that one,” Young said on KNBR’s “Tolbert, Krueger & Brooks” on Wednesday. “I throw up in my mouth all the time on that one. But ’93, [the Cowboys] were super great. It was down there, tougher. In ’94, if you don’t win that game, then it’s Nut Tree time, bro.”
The Cowboys, led by Troy Aikman’s 322 yards passing and Emmitt Smith’s 114 yards rushing, dominated at Candlestick, 30-20, and went on to win the first of three Super Bowls in four years. The 49ers’ offense turned the ball over four times, two on Young interceptions.
It hurt to lose. It also hurt to awake a beast.
“They didn’t know how good they were,” Young said. “And we had to strike right then. We had to strike without Charles [Haley] … What’s funny, the whole game was about — the whole team was like, Charles Haley, retribution, revenge game. We did not need to add to the drama of the whole thing with Charles.”
The former 49ers star was on the other side, having been traded to Dallas before the season.
“But we didn’t play well, I didn’t play well,” Young said. “And I really look back on the ’92 game as the one that … it’s 60 minutes I’d love back.”