Young wins his own trip to Super Bowl NFC CHAMPIONSHIP


SAN FRANCISCO -- Steve Young is not going to hear about Danny White any longer.

White was the quarterback who had the misfortune to replace Hall of Famer Roger Staubach in Dallas in 1980.

White took the Cowboys to three straight NFC title games but lost them all, never made the Super Bowl and never lived up to the Staubach legacy.

Young, who replaced Joe Montana in San Francisco and had lost the past two NFC title games to the Cowboys, took the team to the Super Bowl yesterday when he passed for two touchdowns in the 49ers' 38-28 victory over the Cowboys in the NFC title game.

Young insisted that there wasn't a monkey on his back.

"Honestly, I swear to you. I haven't felt the monkey. If it was there, it's very light. If he's gone, I probably won't notice it. If you guys say he's gone, that makes me happy," he said after the game.

But he conceded that there was a lot of pressure on him, although he didn't want to analyze it.

"This is too deep for me. I've had to come from too far. I've had to

come from way too far to watch each step and each hurdle and each hoop. I'd drive myself nuts [if he thought about it], which I did early. I tried to do that for a while [and then I said], 'Forget it.' I don't feel anything," he said.

He finally won over the fans, who had a hard time accepting him because he had replaced Montana.

"I've been on that field for eight years now and gone through all kinds of emotions. You can imagine the uphill battle that was fought. It was just a great feeling to wander around and enjoy it with the fans. It's one of the greatest feelings of all time," he said.

Young said he suffered a stiff neck when he was accidentally bowled over in practice by Richard Dent on Saturday but said it didn't bother him.

"That was the hardest hit I took all year," he said with a smile.

Of his 29-yard touchdown pass to Ricky Watters, he said: "Ricky wasn't a part of the play. I was looking to throw deep to Jerry [Rice] or underneath to JT [John Taylor]. Ricky was the outlet. When I threw it, you're like, 'Oh, please, tell me there's nobody out there [from Dallas].' "

His other touchdown pass came at the end of the first half to Rice. "I think that was probably the play of the game," he said.


Carmen Policy, the team president who helped bring in the free agents who made a difference on the San Francisco defense, said, "Anything we needed, anything we wanted, as long as it made sense, we got it."

The victory will cost the 49ers against next year's salary cap because Rickey Jackson got an $838,000 bonus and Deion Sanders a $750,000 bonus for making the Super Bowl, but Policy said the team didn't mortgage its future.

Deion gets a workout

Sanders had a boring game last Saturday when the Chicago Bears never threw at him.

It was a different story yesterday when the Cowboys were willing to challenge him, and he said he was tired at the end.

"I kept looking at the clock and said, 'Would you please run out?' "

But Sanders held his own and intercepted one pass to help the 49ers get to the Super Bowl.

"This team was truly already a great team. They would have made the playoffs with or without me," he said. "In a sense, I brought here for this one game. This was the big game."

Sanders talked to Troy Aikman after he was sacked once, but he said he didn't taunt him.

"I said, 'Just keep your head up,' " he said. "It's the same thing I told Mike [Michael Irvin, after he fumbled]. I told Mike: 'You have two rings. Can I have one ring?' "

The 49ers surprised the Cowboys by putting Sanders on Alvin Harper, who was held to one catch.

"The plan was to roll up to Eric's [Davis] side quite a bit and basically have double coverage on that side and let Deion play Harper," coach George Seifert said.

Harper said: "They called my number only twice today. They didn't give me a chance to come out there. They told me to be patient, but my time never came."

Haley may retiring

Former 49er Charles Haley, foiled in his attempt to become the first player to win five Super Bowl rings, said he'll think about retiring in the off-season.

"It's something I'll have to give strong consideration to," the first-team All-Pro player said.

Norton's winning streak

Ken Norton has played on the winning side in the NFC title game the past three years because he left Dallas to sign with the 49ers.

"I felt it was time for someone else to step up, so that's why I came to the 49ers," he said.

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