Saints vs. 49ers: A Rivalry That Ain’t Dead Yet

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The heartbreaking 36-32 playoff loss (in the video right above) in 2012, the previously mentioned Montana comebacks in 1980 (among others he would have in the series), the two games in 1987 coming down to the game’s last play, and more recently: the 2014 “Hail Mary” game (what referee in their right mind calls pass interference on a Hail Mary EVER?!?!?!); all are indicative of the craziness at times that has surrounded this series.

If you are a younger Saints fan, just ask your parents (or your crazy Uncle Bob) about the San Francisco 49ers. These match ups have never ever lacked drama.

But perhaps the one that epitomized the Saints’ “bad luck” against San Francisco?

September 4th, 1988 .  

In this game just like it was in several others from that era, the Saints would often dominate the game and the statistics even in some cases, but lost where it counted the most: ON THE SCOREBOARD. This game was the epitome for the Saints’ fortunes in that era.

This particular game was the much-anticipated 1988 Season Opener, following a magical 1987 season that had seen the Saints post their first-ever winning season and Playoff berth — due in part because of their previous clashes with the 49ers that year (that’s coming up, further below).

Next: New Orleans Saints vs. San Francisco 49ers: 5 Bold Predictions

Saints quarterback Bobby Hebert threw for four touchdowns, but was sacked five times. The Saints defense actually had one of their worst performances of that era, as they were sliced and diced by the surgical and precision passing of QB Joe Montana (who led the 49ers to a Super Bowl title over the Cincinatti Bengals, later that year).

The winning 49ers points were set up in the fourth quarter off an Hebert fumble, resulting in a Mike Cofer 32-yard field goal with no time remaining to give the 49ers the win — and driving a stake through the collective hearts of a raucous and fired-up sold-out home Superdome crowd. The Saints would then reel off seven straight to improve to 7-1, before losing to the 49’ers again in San Francisco — eventually finishing  with a 10-6 record but MISSING the 1988 NFL Playoffs.

That game still leaves a bad taste among many of the older Saints fans; and it’s one of the lingering memories that no doubt will not be forgotten when the New Orleans Saints visit Levi Stadium outside of San Francisco, this Sunday…….