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NFL

How many times have the San Francisco 49ers reached the NFC Conference Finals?

With such a rocky road to the NFC Conference Championship Game, we take a look at how regularly San Francisco have been in this position before

Update:
Jan 22, 2022; Green Bay, Wisconsin, USA; San Francisco 49ers kicker Robbie Gould (9) celebrates with teammate after kicking the game winning field goal during a NFC Divisional playoff football game against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field. Mandatory
Jeff HanischUSA TODAY Sports

The San Francisco 49ers were not supposed to make the playoffs this year. Written off at an early stage, they tenaciously held on and through more than a little bit of luck, managed to get into the Wild Card game. Pundits around the world were certain that they were out of their depth and confidently announced their imminent demise to the clearly superior Dallas Cowboys.

Getting beyond that hurdle, they would surely crumble before Super Bowl favorites the Green Bay Packers. And so here in the NFC Championship Game, everyone has sounded the familiar death-knell for the 49ers playoff run. Their luck has taken them this far, but the LA Rams will be too much for them. They never should have been in this game in the first place, and they don’t belong here. But when you take the longer view of football history, this is exactly where San Francisco belong. In fact, more than anyone else in the conference, they own this game.

49ers usually turn up

When it comes to the NFC Championship, no team has made their mark more than the San Francisco 49ers. With 17 appearances, they are the most frequent attendee to the NFC’s top game. San Francisco has also hosted more than any other team at 10 games, but the records don’t stop there. Win or lose, they will take the top spot in that particular column, with a win bringing them up to tie the Dallas Cowboys’ record eight wins. A lose will extend their own current lead as the team with the most losses, currently standing at nine losses.

The eighties and nineties were owned by San Francisco, with 10 appearances in the 16 years between 1981 and 1997. But in true NFL fashion, a long run of dominance is followed by a long drought. And so it was in the Bay area, where they endured 14 years without an appearance before 2011. Since then, however, they have reached a kind of equilibrium, attending five finals in the past 12 years.

Strong record against Rams

Coming into the 2022 NFC Championship Game, the underestimation of the 49ers continues. Nothing is truer than the adage that “on any given Sunday, you are either going to win or you are going to lose”. Anything can happen and the past is not always precedent. However, to dismiss the 49ers out of hand before this game is the height of hubris. The NFL has tweeted that they predict a blowout. Passing this off as “the computer predicts” does little to hide the prejudice that has dogged San Francisco all season. But if they own the NFC Championship Game, then they live in the LA Rams’ head rent-free. The Rams have yet to beat them in the past six meetings. Of course, “any given Sunday” means that the last time means little in relation to the next time. But don’t count the 49ers out just yet. That would be true folly.

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