The San Francisco 49ers hosted the Detroit Lions for the right to represent the NFC in Super Bowl LVIII, and it was a rematch from last year's NFC Championship Game in a way. While the Philadelphia Eagles are nowhere to be found, we did get a player-on-player rematch from last year's NFC title game: Deebo Samuel vs. Chauncey Gardner-Johnson.
Gardner-Johnson was flagged for an unnecessary hit on Samuel while blocking in Sunday's game.
By Monday morning, Samuel was ready to rub it in. It turns out that CJGJ waved goodbye to 49ers fans with the Lions leading 20-7 in the second quarter. They'd eventually claim a 24-7 lead before falling 34-31 in dramatic fashion. And Samuel had a lot to say about it.
But their rivalry dates well before Sunday's game.
As you'll recall, Philly defeated San Francisco, 31-7, in the NFC title game last year after 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy injured his elbow in the first quarter.
"via Complex Sports. "I ain't going to keep going on about what could've happened and what would've happened but yeah, it would've definitely been a different outcome (if healthy)."," Samuel said of the NFC title game last offseason,
Samuel also said that the Eagles were his "most hated team" after the playoff loss, pointing to all the trash talk that comes from Philly's fan base and players. Gardner-Johnson fit that Philly mold perfectly, but he has now brought his energy to Detroit.
For when Deebo and CJGJ got into it, let's go back to Week 6 of the 2023 regular season. Prior to the Cleveland Browns' upset win over the previously unbeaten 49ers, the two teams were before the opening kickoff. Multiple players were seen pushing and shoving, including Samuel, Brandon Aiyuk, Juan Thornhill and Trent Williams.
Gardner-Johnson saw a clip of the fight, and decided to take a shot at Samuel to ignite the beef:
"Boy stop playing before you get a rewind of this….. boy sit down," Samuel said.
Gardner-Johnson then told Samuel that his star left tackle wouldn't be able to save him when they run into each other.
"Trent can't save you when u see me … ON AND OFF THE FIELD ! Carry on," Gardner-Johnson posted on social media, followed by three "yawn" emojis.
Following all of this, Gardner-Johnson called Samuel a running back who "can't run routes."
"Don't be friendly when you see me," Gardner-Johnson said in an Instagram live video. "Because I can guard you. You can't run routes, you're a running back."
Samuel appeared on the "Up And Adams Show" the next day, and responded to CJGJ's comments.
"He just sound like he's mad I got a little bag and a lot of money and no one knows who he is," Samuel said.
So yeah, a lot happened between these two. And it continued in the NFC title game.