Before Brady-Manning, Cowboys QBs had rivals

January, 13, 2014
Jan 13
2:00
PM ET
IRVING, Texas -- Tom Brady and Peyton Manning will meet for the 15th time in their careers on Sunday when the New England Patriots play the Denver Broncos in the AFC Championship Game.

It will be their fourth playoff, which are the most postseason matchups between quarterbacks since 1950, according to Elias.

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What's the greatest quarterback rivalry?

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Discuss (Total votes: 15,179)

Maybe there will be some Brady-Manning (or Manning-Brady) fatigue this week, but the matchup got me thinking about the Dallas Cowboys.

Roger Staubach had Terry Bradshaw. Troy Aikman had Steve Young and Brett Favre.

In the early 1970s, the Cowboys knocked out John Brodie’s San Francisco 49ers three straight years, but Staubach (1971) started just one game and Craig Morton started two (1970, ’72). Staubach eliminated the Los Angeles Rams in 1973, ’75 and 76 but he faced three different quarterbacks in John Hadl, Ron Jaworski and Pat Haden.

That’s why Bradshaw is the pick.

Was there a better rivalry in the NFL than the Cowboys and Pittsburgh Steelers? They were the magical teams of the 1970s and the Steelers can lay claim to the team of the decade because of their wins in Super Bowl X and Super Bowl XIII. That last loss still stings members of the 1978 Cowboys.

Staubach and Bradshaw met only twice in the regular season with the Steelers winning those matchups, too.

Aikman had a 4-3 record against Young in the 1990s. The Cowboys went through the Niners in back to back NFC Championship Games in 1992 and ’93 on their way to Super Bowl wins against the Buffalo Bills.

Young broke through in 1994 by beating the Cowboys in the NFC title game to win his only Super Bowl as a starter.

They played in four regular-season games against each other with the quarterbacks splitting the meetings.

In order to get to the 1993 and ’94 NFC Championship Games, the Cowboys had to go through the Green Bay Packers, beating Favre twice in the divisional round. Aikman beat Favre in the NFC title game in 1995.

Aikman had a 6-1 record against Favre in head-to-head meetings. The only loss in the series came in the only meeting at Lambeau Field on Nov. 23, 1997, a 45-17 decision.

Todd Archer

ESPN Dallas Cowboys reporter

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