The 49ers–Giants rivalry is a National Football (NFL) rivalry between the San Francisco 49ers and the New York Giants. It is one of the great inter-division rivalry games in the NFL. The two teams do not play every year; instead, they play once every three years due to the NFL's rotating division schedules, or if the two teams finish in the same place in their respective divisions, they would play the ensuing season. Since 1982, the 49ers and Giants have met eight times in the postseason (including two NFC Championship Games), the most times two teams have met in the playoffs in the NFL since that time.
Both teams have won 16 regular season games and 4 postseason games against each other for a total of 20 wins each. However, San Francisco leads the overall series 18–11 since 1980.
In what was both Bill Walsh and Joe Montana's third season with the San Francisco 49ers the Team finished 13-3 after starting the season 1-2. Clinching the NFC West with a week 13 matchup with the New York Giants and would later finish as the #1 seed in the NFC. Four weeks later the Giants and 49ers met again in the Divisional Round and San Francisco prevailed with a 38-24 victory en route to winning Super Bowl XVI.
The 49ers finished the 1984 season with a record of 15–1. The Niners hosted the Giants for the second time in four seasons in Candlestick Park. A defensive struggle between both teams the 49ers prevailed 21–10 against a young emerging Big Blue Wrecking Crew defense en route to their second Lombardi trophy in Super Bowl XIX.
Entering the 1985 season the 49ers were unable to top their 15-1 record and falling to 10-6 and finishing the season as a Wild Card hoping to repeat as Super Bowl Champions. They would travel to the Meadowlands and face a familiar foe: the New York Giants for the first time in the postseason at Giants Stadium. Despite 362 yards of Total offense by the 49ers, they were held to a field goal as the home team prevailed 17-3 and would start a 3 game losing streak in the postseason against the Giants.
Having gone 14-2 during the regular season and riding a nine-game winning streak, the Giants faced off against the Niners in a divisional playoff game at Giants Stadium in the Meadowlands following the 1986 season. The game featured at least five future Hall of Fame players (QB Joe Montana, WR Jerry Rice and S Ronnie Lott for the Niners and LB Lawrence Taylor and LB Harry Carson for the Giants), and several future Hall of Fame coaches (Bill Walsh for San Francisco and Bill Parcells and Bill Belichick for New York). San Francisco looked to be on its way to an early lead when Jerry Rice turned a short pass into a long gain, but then inexplicably dropped the football while running after the catch. The fumble was recovered by the Giants, who went on to take a 28-3 lead at halftime. The game was also notable by the vicious hit on Joe Montana by Giants Nose Tackle Jim Burt of the Giants. The final score was Giants 49, Niners 3. The Giants went on to win Super Bowl XXI that year.
Having won two straight Super Bowls behind Quarterback Joe Montana in 1988 and 1989, the 49ers appeared poised to do it again and make NFL history to become the first team to Three-Peat in the Super Bowl era as they hosted the Giants in the NFC Championship Game. San Francisco was the heavy favorite, but the Giants played inspired football, holding their own with the two-time defending Super Bowl champions. The game turned into a defensive struggle and a battle for field position. One of the more memorable moments in the game is Joe Montana being knocked out on a Blindside hit by Giants Defensive End Leonard Marshall as Montana backed into Marshall's oncoming pass rush while trying to evade Giants linebacker Lawrence Taylor rushing from Montana's right. This contest would be Montana's second to last game as a 49er. New York trailed 13-12 with 49er Quarterback Steve Young in relief of Montana and trying to run out the clock when the 49ers fell prey to the relentlessness of the Giants' defense. Giants Nose Tackle Erik Howard turned his shoulders perpendicular to the line of scrimmage in order to negate a double-team block by 49ers' Guard Guy McIntyre and Center Jesse Sapolu. McIntyre released from his block on Erik Howard to check the oncoming rush of Giants linebacker Pepper Johnson allowing Howard to knife through as Jesse Sapolu knocked him to the ground and Howard managed to get his helmet on the football when he came into contact with 49ers Running Back Roger Craig forcing Craig to fumble the ball. On the right-side of the Giants defensive formation, Giants linebacker Lawrence Taylor beat a block by Tight End Brent Jones and another subsequent block by Fullback Tom Rathman to position himself in the offensive backfield behind Craig's location in the 49er-Giant scrum at the line of scrimmage. Taylor caught the ball as it was knocked out of Craig's grasp and was tackled by Tom Rathman and Brent Jones, the 49er players he beat to get into position to recover the fumble forced by Erik Howard, with less than 3 minutes in the game. The Giants drove downfield and with four seconds to go the Giants turned to placekicker Matt Bahr who stepped onto the field to attempt a 42-yard field goal that would put the Giants in the Super Bowl. Bahr successfully executed the kick, sending the Giants to the Super Bowl, which they would win over the Buffalo Bills. The game is most notable for play-by-play announcer Pat Summeral's quote "there will be no three-peat" after Bahr made the field goal.
49ers running back Ricky Watters ran for 118 yards and a playoff record 5 touchdowns as the 49ers crush the Giants 44-3 to advance to the NFC Championship Game where they would lose to the eventual Super Bowl champion Dallas Cowboys. The 49ers dominated the entire game as they outgain the Giants 413 yards to 194 yards, with the defense sacking Giants quarterback Phil Simms 4 times, and forcing 3 turnovers. This game also marked the final game of the careers of Simms and linebacker Lawrence Taylor as they announce their retirement soon after.
The Giants totally dominated the 2002 regular season contest in the Meadowlands, played on national television the Thursday before the first weekend. New York outgained San Francisco 361-279, but also turned it over three times while only forcing one. The game was tied, 13-13 when Tiki Barber scored on a 1 yard touchdown run with 1:55 remaining. But Jeff Garcia led the 49ers down the field to the Giants' 19 yard line, where Jose Cortez connected on a 36 yard field goal with six seconds left to give the 49ers a dramatic 16-13 victory.
For the second time in the 2002 season, the Giants and 49ers played in San Francisco. This time, however, it was a Wild Card playoff game. The Giants once again dominated the game from the get go, racing out to a 38-14 lead late in the third quarter. But Jeff Garcia once again led the 49ers back, this time in one of the most incredible comebacks in football history. He rallied San Francisco to three touchdown drives (and a two point conversion on one of them) and a field goal for 25 unanswered points to give the 49ers a 39-38 lead with a minute to go. But the Giants had one more chance. QB Kerry Collins drove the Giants down to San Francisco's 23 yard line, where they set up for the game-winning field goal with six seconds left. But the snap from Trey Junkin was too low, and holder Matt Allen was forced to scramble and heave a desperation last gasp pass, which fell incomplete, and the 49ers won, 39-38. The 24 point deficit erased by the 49ers was the second largest deficit ever overcome in a playoff game.
In a rare move, the day after the game the NFL issued a formal written apology to the Giants for a bad call by the referees on the final play of the game. The referees, the league ruled, had missed a blatant pass interference penalty against San Francisco that would have nullified another penalty on the Giants, thereby giving the Giants another chance to kick a 41-yard game-winning FG. But the result of the game stood.
After the 49ers defeated the Giants in Candlestick Park in the regular season, the two teams met again in the NFC Championship Game in San Francisco. The 49ers struck immediately, with Alex Smith connecting with Vernon Davis for a 73 yard touchdown to put the 49ers up 7-0. But Eli Manning responded with a touchdown of his own, to Bear Pascoe, and then Lawrence Tynes kicked a field goal to give New York a 10-7 halftime lead. Smith answered with another touchdown to Davis to put the 49ers up 14-10, and Manning answered with a touchdown to Mario Manningham to put the Giants up 17-14. David Akers then hit a 25 yard field goal to force overtime. In the OT session, 49ers punt returner Kyle Williams was stripped of the football by Giants linebacker Jacquian Williams on a punt return. New York recovered, and Lawrence Tynes kicked the game-winning field goal to put the Giants in the Super Bowl, which they won over New England.
|November 9, 1952||23-14||Giants||Regular Season||New York||1–0 NYG|
|September 30, 1956||38-21||Giants||Regular Season||San Francisco||2–0 NYG|
|December 1, 1957||27-17||49ers||Regular Season||New York||2–1 NYG|
|September 18, 1960||21-19||Giants||Regular Season||San Francisco||3–1 NYG|
|November 17, 1963||48-14||Giants||Regular Season||New York||4–1 NYG|
|October 20, 1968||26-10||49ers||Regular Season||New York||4–2 NYG|
|October 15, 1972||23-17||Giants||Regular Season||San Francisco||5–2 NYG|
|December 21, 1975||26-23||Giants||Regular Season||San Francisco||6–2 NYG|
|October 16, 1977||20-17||Giants||Regular Season||East Rutherford||7–2 NYG|
|September 24, 1978||27-10||Giants||Regular Season||East Rutherford||8–2 NYG|
|October 14, 1979||32-16||Giants||Regular Season||East Rutherford||9–2 NYG|
|November 23, 1980||12-0||49ers||Regular Season||San Francisco||9–3 NYG|
|November 29, 1981||17-10||49ers||Regular Season||San Francisco||9–4 NYG|
|January 3, 1982||38-24||49ers||NFC Playoffs - Divisional||San Francisco||9–5 NYG|
|October 8, 1984||31-10||49ers||Regular Season||East Rutherford||9–6 NYG|
|December 29, 1984||21-10||49ers||NFC Playoffs - Divisional||San Francisco||9–7 NYG|
|December 29, 1985||17-3||Giants||NFC Playoffs - Wild Card||East Rutherford||10–7 NYG|
|December 1, 1986||21-17||Giants||Regular Season||San Francisco||11–7 NYG|
|January 4, 1987||21-10||Giants||NFC Playoffs - Divisional||East Rutherford||12–7 NYG|
|October 5, 1987||41-21||49ers||Regular Season||East Rutherford||12–8 NYG|
|September 11, 1988||20-17||49ers||Regular Season||East Rutherford||12–9 NYG|
|November 27, 1989||34-24||49ers||Regular Season||San Francisco||12–10 NYG|
|December 3, 1990||7-3||49ers||Regular Season||San Francisco||12–11 NYG|
|January 20, 1991||15-13||Giants||NFC Championship Game||San Francisco||13–11 NYG|
|September 2, 1991||16-14||Giants||Regular Season||East Rutherford||14–11 NYG|
|September 6, 1992||31-14||49ers||Regular Season||East Rutherford||14–12 NYG|
|January 15, 1994||44-3||49ers||NFC Playoffs - Divisional||San Francisco||14–13 NYG|
|October 1, 1995||20-6||49ers||Regular Season||San Francisco||14–14|
|November 30, 1998||31-7||49ers||Regular Season||San Francisco||15–14 SF|
|September 5, 2002||16-13||49ers||Regular Season||East Rutherford||16–14 SF|
|January 5, 2003||39-38||49ers||NFC Playoffs - Wild Card||San Francisco||17–14 SF|
|November 6, 2005||24-6||Giants||Regular Season||San Francisco||17–15 SF|
|October 21, 2007||23-15||Giants||Regular Season||East Rutherford||17–16 SF|
|October 19, 2008||29-17||Giants||Regular Season||East Rutherford||17–17|
|November 13, 2011||27-20||49ers||Regular Season||San Francisco||18–17 SF|
|January 22, 2012||20-17 (OT)||Giants||NFC Championship Game||San Francisco||18–18|
|October 14, 2012||26-3||Giants||Regular Season||San Francisco||19–18 NYG|
|November 16, 2014||16-10||49ers||Regular Season||East Rutherford||19–19|
|October 11, 2015||30-27||Giants||Regular Season||East Rutherford||20–19 NYG|
|November 12, 2017||31-21||49ers||Regular Season||Santa Clara||20–20|
|November 12, 2018||27-23||Giants||Regular Season||Santa Clara||21–20 NYG|
|1984||San Francisco 49ers||31-10||East Rutherford, NJ|
|1986||New York Giants||21–17||San Francisco|
|1987||San Francisco 49ers||41–21||East Rutherford, NJ|
|1989||San Francisco 49ers||34-24||San Francisco|
|1990||San Francisco 49ers||7–3||San Francisco|
|1991||New York Giants||16–14||East Rutherford, NJ|
|1998||San Francisco 49ers||31-7||San Francisco|
|Division championships (19)|
|Conference championships (6)|
|League championships (5)|
|Current league affiliations|
|Former league affiliation|
All-America Football Conference (1946–1949)
Championship seasons in bold
|Division championships (22)|
|Conference championships (11)|
|League championships (8)|
|Current league affiliations|
Championship seasons in bold