Monday, January 16, 2012
Giants-49ers: An early look-ahead
By Dan Graziano
I am traveling for a good chunk of this day, as getting out of Green Bay on the morning after a playoff game is a challenge, so the blog may be a bit light depending on whether my plane is Wi Fi equipped. To keep you busy, here are some facts the good folks at ESPN Stats & Information sent us Sunday night regarding Sunday's NFC Championship Game between the New York Giants and the San Francisco 49ers.
We're No. 1: The starting quarterbacks in the game will be New York's Eli Manning, who was the No. 1 pick in the NFL Draft in 2004, and San Francisco's Alex Smith, who was the No. 1 pick in the 2005 Draft. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, it's the second time in history that two No. 1 overall picks have faced each other in a conference championship, the first being the John Elway-Vinny Testaverde matchup in the 1998 AFC Championship Game.
Experience: This will be the 13th conference championship game for the 49ers, which is the third-most for any team. The Steelers have appeared in 15 and the Cowboys 14. It's the fifth conference championship game for the Giants, who are 4-0 all-time in this round, having won the NFC Championship Game in 1986, 1990, 2000 and 2007. They won the Super Bowl in all but one of those years -- 2000, when they lost to the Ravens.
Bay Area Blues: The Giants are 3-11 in San Francisco since 1980. That counts regular-season and playoff games. The 49ers are 19-8 all-time in home playoff games. A victory Sunday would tie them with the Steelers for the most home playoff wins of all time. But Manning got his fourth career playoff road win Sunday, tying him for the most ever by a quarterback. And Tom Coughlin got his sixth career playoff road win Sunday, which puts him one behind Tom Landry for the all-time record by a head coach.
Familiar foe: This is the eighth time the Giants and 49ers have met in the playoffs. That ties it with Giants-Bears and Cowboys-Rams as the most common playoff matchup of all time.