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Of this there can be no doubt.

The Cowboys-49ers playoff rivalry is the NFL’s best, certainly in the Super Bowl era.

When you combine regular season meetings with postseason games, the all-time series is tied 17-17-1. (The 13-13 tie was on Thanksgiving night at the Cotton Bowl in 1969. I remember, because it pissed me off.)

But the Cowboys have won five of their eight playoff matchups with San Francisco. The exceptions were the NFC Championship Game following the 1981 season (“The Catch”), the 1994 NFC Championship Game  that kept the ‘Boys out of their third straight Super Bowl, and last year’s “couldn’t get the ball spotted and snapped in time” debacle.

Notice how I just blew through that reference to “The Catch”? With the possible exception of Super Bowl XIII, no football game has ever hurt me that deeply and permanently.

But I digress. And it’s not like I haven’t had plenty of big fun against the ‘Niners.

1970 NFC Championship Game—Cowboys win and secure their first Super Bowl berth.

1971 NFC Championship Game—Cowboys win en route to a SB VI victory over the Dolphins.

1972 Divisional Playoff—Roger Staubach comes off the bench to rally the Cowboys from a 28-13 fourth-quarter deficit to win 30-28.

1992 NFC Championship Game—Dallas wins in the mud at the ‘Stick. Jimmah asks, “How ‘bout them Cowboys?”

1993 NFC Championship game—What? You want some more, Buffalo Bills? Comin’ right up!

Which brings us to this Sunday in Santa Clara. This is gonna rock. This will be Big Boy football.

Can Dallas win? Well, sure. That’s a good team coming off a very good performance.

Will Dallas win? It will be very difficult to win in that environment.

San Francisco will run the ball very effectively, as the ‘Niners almost always do. And SF has the best defense in the league, bar none.

Now, it is true that the 49er D has looked a little less dominant in recent weeks. Seattle pushed that front around to a surprising degree in the first half of last week’s Wild Card game. So, there’s hope. But overall, SF has the quickest, toughest and nastiest defense in the NFL.

The Dallas D is good—except when it’s not. The ‘Niners have been consistent enough to win eleven straight games.

The Cowboys will have to hit some big plays, because the 49ers most certainly will. Tony Pollard is going to have to get loose. And more than once.

To win, Dallas will have to do something that no other team has done yet—rattle Brock Purdy. You can’t do that if you can’t stop the ‘Niners’ running game.

Both tight ends—Schultz and Kittle—will play major roles.

Final score? Check back in this space Saturday morning.

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Paul's Bio

I clearly have the attention span of your median fruit fly.Look! Airplane!

Sorry. I’m back.

It’s both a curse and a blessing. I’ve never bought this stuff about, “He who dies with the most toys wins.” But I do think that a wide range of life experiences helps us grow as people, and helps us better relate to other people. I’ve been fortunate. And I am beyond grateful.

I show up on time. I go like hell. I’m a good listener. I hold myself accountable. I own my mistakes. And I have a natural and an insatiable curiosity. I’m never afraid to say, “I don’t know,” when I don’t. But then I try to find out.

The flip side is I’m a lousy ballroom dancer and my clothes sometimes fit me funny.

Stuff matters to me. I care. But while I take that stuff seriously, I try hard to never take myself seriously. As a result, I have sometimes been told, “Paul, it’s hard to tell when you’re serious and when you’re just having some fun. Which is it? Serious or fun?”

My answer is “yes.” But I think that is a legitimate criticism. I promise I’m going to work on that.

This has been the quickest and strangest half-century I’ve ever experienced. During that period, I’ve been afforded amazing opportunities in news and sports journalism across all platforms. I have taught wonderful students at the high school and collegiate level. Always, I learned more from them than they did from me. I’ve been a high school administrator. I spent ten seasons as a high school varsity football coach. I’ve been an advertising executive. I’ve hosted nationally syndicated television entertainment shows. In maybe the biggest honor I ever received, I was selected by NASA to be “Chet The Astronaut” for the “Land The Shuttle” simulator at Space Center Houston. (All I can say there, is “Do as I say, not as I do.” I put that thing in the Everglades more often than not.) Most recently, I just wrapped up a decade as a television news director, during which time our teams distinguished themselves in holding the powerful accountable, achieving both critical and ratings success.

What does all that mean? It means I am profoundly grateful. It also means I’m ready for “next.” So here we are. Radically Rational. It’s an idea I woke up with in 2017. I scribbled “Radically Rational” on a piece of notebook paper and used a magnet to stick it on our refrigerator. I saw it every day, and it just would not leave me alone.

I am second in charge at Radically Rational, LLC. My wife, Jo (also known as BB), is the president. Clearly, I have failed in my attempt to sleep my way to the top of this organization.

I hope you will learn that I’m loyal as a Labrador. But I will admit that this doggie can bite every now and then. My promise to you? I will show up on time. I will go like hell. I will listen to you earnestly and attentively. I will hold myself accountable. I will never be the least bit hesitant to say, “I don’t know,” when I don’t.

But then I’ll try to find out. Let’s do it.