The 1970s NFL was dominated by the AFC. They won eight of the 10 Super Bowls played in the decade, and even though five of them were won by franchises that were transfers from the NFC in the 1970 merger (Pittsburgh won four and the Baltimore Colts won one), the old guard NFL teams had fallen drastically behind the new guard AFL (AFC) teams.

That all changed in the 1980s when new NFC powers emerged, pushing Dallas, Minnesota and the Rams to the side burner. San Francisco, Washington, the Giants and the Chicago Bears became the NFL elite, baffling and battering all comers in the new decade. The NFC turned the tables and won eight of the 10 Super Bowls of the 1980s.

The Giants always had rivalries with Dallas, Washington and the Philadelphia Eagles, but in the 80s, the Redskins became their most competitive foe.

The decade began with Washington reeling off eight wins over their first nine meetings with Big Blue. The Giants were not yet the team they would become until 1984 under head coach Bill Parcells and assistant Bill Belichick when they began an impressive run of wining seasons culminating in two Super Bowl titles (through 1990).

After starting the decade 1-8 against Washington, the Giants got the better of their rivals, who won two Super Bowls in 10-year span, by posting a 9-3 mark for the remainder of the decade including a convincing 17-0 shutout in the 1986-1987 NFC Championship Game.

CBS Sports lists the Giants-Redskins rivalry as the fourth top matchup of the decade, ahead of Vikings-49ers and behind Redskins-Bears, Broncos-Browns and yes, you guessed it, Giants-49ers.

Again, the Giants started off in a hole and were no match offensively for Bill Walsh’s Niners, and dropped eight of 11 regular season games. That aside, they did manage to knock San Francisco out of the playoffs twice in the decade with the second victory a 49-3 blowout in which Joe Montana was hospitalized after being hit by Jim Burt.

The Giants would continue their solid play over the “Team of the 80s” with a hard-fought 15-13 win in the 1991 NFC Championship Game, ending the 49ers quest for a “three-peat.”