Fred Warner

Fred Warner vows 49ers-Cowboys prime-time matchup ‘one for the ages'

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A cliché that often echoes inside NFL locker rooms is that all regular-season games are created equally.

Many teams spend the week leading up to a game downplaying the rivalry or consequential matchup. But while the focus inside 49ers headquarters in Santa Clara remains consistent week to week, linebacker Fred Warner can’t help but acknowledge the unique circumstances surrounding the upcoming “Sunday Night Football” clash between San Francisco and the Dallas Cowboys.

“For me, these are the moments you dream of,” Warner said on the latest “The Warner House” podcast episode. “When the lights are on and everyone’s watching. … One game could literally change your life. Let’s just say I go out there and get a pick-six to win the football game -- a 49ers-Cowboys ‘Sunday Night Football’ game. A pick-six is a big deal, and you can get a pick-six in any game. But to get a pick-six in that game with that many eyes on you, it’ll change your life.

“Not to say you have to do anything differently for a game like this, but you obviously want to make sure you’re as well-prepared as you can be because it means a lot.”

Warner had himself a night to remember the last time these teams met -- the 49ers’ 19-12 victory over the Cowboys in last year’s playoffs. Warner tallied a team-high nine tackles, including one for a loss. He also intercepted a Dak Prescott pass in the red zone and notched a key pass-breakup in coverage on receiver CeeDee Lamb.

“They’re going to be fired up, ready to go,” Warner said of the Cowboys. “It’s going to be one for the ages. Last year in the playoffs was by far the most fun game I’ve ever been a part of. I obviously had probably the game of my life that game. Just the fact that there’s so many eyes on that.”

San Francisco and Dallas have been enemies for decades, but the rivalry that peaked in the 1990s has found new life in recent years. The 49ers ended the Cowboys’ season in 2021 and again in 2022.

“They haven’t beaten us since 2020,” Warner said. “Obviously, it’s something that’s been a monkey on their back a little bit. It’s going to be something that’s talked about all week. Yeah, they are going to get fired up about it because you don’t want that attached to your name. Nobody does.

“This game is obviously very important. All eyes will be on us.”

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