Deion Sanders won the Super Bowl for the Dallas Cowboys twice, which is more than any other player in NFL history. But what about Randy Moss? The 49ers also have a pair of rings with him and have been one of the league’s most successful franchises ever since he joined them. Which player was better?
“Deion Sanders was better for the Dallas Cowboys than he was for the San Francisco 49ers.” Deion Sanders is a retired American football player who played cornerback in the National Football League (NFL) for 15 years. He also played baseball and basketball during his career.
Deion in neon. It’s prime time. Leon Sandcastle is a fictional character. Deion Sanders is one of the finest cornerbacks in NFL history and one of the most dynamic players the league has ever seen, regardless of what you name him. As two of his previous teams, the Dallas Cowboys and the San Francisco 49ers, play battle in Super Wild Card Weekend in 2021, let’s take a look back at Sanders’ career to see whether he was better with the Cowboys or the 49ers.
Deion Sanders’s professional life
Deion Sanders made his debut for Bobby Bowden’s Florida State Seminoles in 1985 as a cornerback and punt returner. Sanders intercepted 14 passes and returned three for touchdowns throughout his four years in Tallahassee, including a 100-yard return his freshman season.
For the Seminoles, he also returned punts. Sanders returned 126 punts for 1,429 yards and three touchdowns in four seasons. His efforts at Florida State won him consensus All-American accolades in 1987 and 1988, as well as the Jim Thorpe Award for finest defensive back in the country in 1988.
Sanders was chosen fifth overall in the 1989 NFL Draft by the Atlanta Falcons.
He was a superstar in the NFL, playing for the Atlanta Falcons, San Francisco 49ers, Dallas Cowboys, Washington Football Team, and Baltimore Ravens over the course of 14 seasons (returning for this last stint after a three-year retirement).
Sanders appeared in eight Pro Bowls, was named to six All-Pro teams, and won two Super Bowls on his route to being inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame (one with the 49er and one with the Cowboys). He also has 53 interceptions, nine defensive touchdowns, and nine punt/kickoff touchdowns to his credit.
Sanders also played nine years of Major League Baseball to establish that he is one of the top athletes in American history. With a.263 average, 39 home runs, 168 RBI, and 186 stolen bases, the centerfielder concluded his career with a.263 average.
In San Francisco, it’s Prime Time
The Atlanta Falcons were not particularly successful during Deion Sanders’ first five seasons in the NFL, despite three Pro Bowl and two All-Pro performances. With just one winning season and a solitary postseason appearance, the squad was 30-50.
Sanders became a free agent in 1993, and he chose to take his skills to the Bay Area, signing a one-year, $1.13 million deal with the San Francisco 49ers.
The next season was undoubtedly the greatest of Sanders’ career.
Prime Time played up to his moniker, emerging as the greatest player on a star-studded defense that included Pro Bowl and All-Pro selections. The front seven of the 1994 49ers defense includes Rickey Jackson, Dana Stubblefield, Bryant Young, Ken Norton Jr., and Charles Mann. Merton Hanks, Tim McDonald, and Eric Davis were part of Sanders’ backfield.
Sanders equaled his career high in interceptions with six and almost quadrupled his career-best INT return yards with 303 throughout the season. He also set a new career record with three defensive touchdowns. Sanders got his first (and only) NFL Defensive Player of the Year award for this effort.
During the 49ers’ postseason run, Sanders added two more interceptions, including one in the Super Bowl, when the Niners defeated the San Diego Chargers 49-25.
Dallas’ Neon Deion
Sanders elected to return to free agency after winning the Lombardi Trophy with the San Francisco 49ers at the conclusion of the 1994 season. This time, the superstar opted to team up with the Dallas Cowboys, the 49ers’ NFC foe.
To entice Sanders to America’s Team, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones offered him a seven-year, $34.98 million deal.
Sanders didn’t play for the Cowboys until Week 9 of the 1995 season, against his previous team, the Atlanta Falcons, after an offseason knee operation. Despite this, Sanders had two interceptions in the regular season and one in the playoffs that season.
He also played offense on occasion. Sanders caught two passes and ran twice during the regular season, and he scored on a thrilling 21-yard reverse in the Cowboys’ Divisional Round battle with the Philadelphia Eagles.
Sanders won his second Super Bowl in a row as the Dallas Cowboys beat the Pittsburgh Steelers 27-17 in the Big Game.
After that, the legendary cornerback spent four more seasons in Dallas. During this period, he was named to three more Pro Bowls and three more All-Pro teams, amassing a long list of accomplishments. In Dallas, his final stats were as follows:
- 61 games have begun.
- a total of 14 interceptions
- There were four fumble recoveries.
- 3 touchdowns on defense
- 4 touchdowns on punt returns
- There have been 49 receptions.
- 624 yards receiving
- 1 touchdown on the ground
Sanders was released by the Cowboys before the 2000 season after signing a five-year, $51 million deal in 1999.
Was Deion Sanders a better fit with the Dallas Cowboys or the San Francisco 49ers in the end?
(L-R) Deion Sanders with the San Francisco 49ers in January 1995 and the Dallas Cowboys in November 1995 | Photo credit should read MONICA DAVEY/AFP via Getty Images.
Something extraordinary might happen each time Deion Sanders walked on an NFL field, even in his past-his-prime days in Washington and Baltimore. Few, if any, were better than him during his peak (from 1991 to 1998).
For the San Francisco 49ers and Dallas Cowboys, Sanders won Super Bowls, reached the Pro Bowl, and was named to the All-Pro team. He not only helped define that ferocious early-90s competition, but he also became a significant role in it.
Because it’s difficult to argue that one All-Pro season is as spectacular as three in a row, many will argue that Sanders was better in Dallas than in San Francisco, and he most likely was.
Picking up Defensive Player of the Year on the road to a Super Bowl victory in 1994, on the other hand, was prime time.
The result is that Deion Sanders was a stronger overall player as a Dallas Cowboy, but the finest all-time version of the Hall of Fame cornerback is 1994 Neon Deion from the San Francisco 49ers’ lone season.
Pro Football Reference, Baseball Reference, and Sports Reference provided all stats, while Spotrac provided contract data.
RELATED: History Says the Cowboys-49ers Winner on Super Wild Card Weekend Will Win the Super Bowl
Frequently Asked Questions
What team was Deion best on?
A: Deion Sanders was a wide receiver for the Atlanta Falcons.
Who is a better team Cowboys or 49ers?
A: The Dallas Cowboys are a better team than the San Francisco 49ers.
Did Deion Sanders win a Super Bowl with Dallas Cowboys?
A: Deion Sanders did not win a Super Bowl with the Dallas Cowboys. The answer is no.
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