In what will likely be the final San Francisco 49ers game to ever be played at Candlestick Park, Niner Noise.com has compiled a list of top moments and the numbers at the ‘Stick, along with quotes. 49ers.com currently has a detailed timeline of the history of Candlestick all fans should check out by clicking HERE.
Here are the top moments in 49ers history at Candlestick Park (chronological order):
Montana’s Greatest Comeback
December 7, 1980: Quarterback Joe Montana led the 49ers from 28 points down in the regular season to beat the New Orleans Saints 38-35 in overtime – the greatest comeback in NFL history to that point. Montana and the 49ers were down 35-7 at halftime, but Joe Cool would lead the team back to tie the game and win in overtime, 38-35. Montana finished with 285 passing yards and two touchdowns. Niners running back Lenvil Elliott rushed for 125 yards and one touchdown, to go along with four receptions for 43 yards.
Every point counts in the second half. When you are out there on the field you have to be successful in what you’re doing. That was the case and I loved it. ~ 49ers kicker Ray Wersching
January 10, 1982: Dwight Clark’s “The Catch” against the Dallas Cowboys in the NFC Championship Game sent the 49ers to their first Super Bowl in front of 60,525 fans at the ‘Stick. “The Catch” will always be etched in 49ers lore as the greatest play in 49ers history. The reason why this play will forever survive the test of time is not only because it sent the 49ers to their first Super Bowl appearance and eventual victory, but also because of the sheer talent and athleticism it took from Montana and Clark to pull off the play. It is without a doubt the single greatest moment in 49ers history at Candlestick Park.
Joe Montana got knocked to the ground after he threw the ball. He did not see me catch the ball. He did know that we scored because of the roar of the crowd. ~ Dwight Clark
Montana Returns to the ‘Stick
November 9, 1986: Joe Montana returned from back surgery after eight weeks on the sideline and led the 49ers to a 43-17 pounding victory over the St. Louis Cardinals. In his return to the 49ers, Montana passed for 270 yards and three touchdowns, all of the TDs going to Jerry Rice.
This was my first game back following my back. I had worked very hard to return as soon as I could. Most people thought I was crazy for coming back that soon but I never had a doubt I was ready to play. ~ Joe Montana
October 30, 1988: Steve Young “gets away again” on a wild run against the Minnesota Vikings breaking tackle after tackle and scoring the game-winning TD in a 24-21 win. Young ran through Minnesota for a 49-yard, game-winning scramble. He started the game with a 73-yard touchdown pass to John Taylor, after Montana went down with an injury. The play earned the 49ers a 24–21 victory and a bit of revenge on the Vikings, who had defeated them in the 1987 playoffs. The game offered a glimpse of what Young could do, not only through the air, but on the ground.
I stumbled at the end literally because I ran out of gas and I had nothing left. The moment that I remember most is cutting back inside instead of going out of bounds. Everything else is kind of reaction. ~ Steve Young
NFC Championship Blowout
January 14, 1990: The 49ers blew out their division rivals Los Angeles Rams, 30-3, in front of 64,769 fans during the NFC Championship game. San Francisco had 442 total yards and held the ball for 39:48. The Niners would go on to win Super XXIV over the Denver Broncos.
What I remembered about that game was Ronnie Lott closing the gap between Rams Wide Receiver Flipper Anderson to knock down a for sure touchdown pass that would have put the 49ers behind 10-0 in the first half. ~ Roger Craig
Record Rice Harvest
September 5, 1994: Jerry Rice scored three times (rushing for one TD and catching two TD passes from Steve Young) in a 44-14 Monday Night Football victory over the Los Angeles Raiders. The touchdowns gave Rice 127 total career TDs breaking Jim Brown’s long-standing NFL mark of 126. Rice finished the game with seven receptions for 169 yards and two receiving touchdowns and one rushing touchdown.
When we ran back on the field and Steve started calling the play, then all of a sudden I went down field after the snap of the ball and of course it was not that really, really tight spiral that Steve is accustomed to, but I was able to go up and pull it down and then everything else is pretty much history. ~ Jerry Rice
Young Finally Gets Niners to Super Bowl
January 15, 1995: Steve Young ran a victory lap around the stadium following the 49ers 38-28 victory over the Cowboys in the NFC Championship game. It was the third straight season that the Cowboys and 49ers met in the NFC Championship Game. However, the Cowboys had won the previous two NFC Championship games and there was doubt that Young could propel the Niners to the Super Bowl. Even though the Cowboys outgained the 49ers 451-294, San Francisco converted three turnovers into three touchdowns in the first quarter to go up, 21-7. Young and the 49ers never looked back as they went on to Super Bowl XXIX to defeat the San Diego Chargers. It was Young’s first Super Bowl ring as a starting QB for San Francisco.
There was pandemonium after the win. We went into that year coming off a loss to the Cowboys. We had a turning point in the middle of the season and then the Cowboys game arrived and this was it. We did it. ~ Steve Young
‘Owens! Owens! Owens!’
January 3, 1999: Terrell Owens’ touchdown catch from Steve Young in the playoff win over the Green Bay Packers. The play is simply called, The Catch II.
What made this game and TD catch so memorable for the 49ers Faithful was because San Francisco was eliminated by Green Bay and Brett Favre from the playoffs in each of the past three seasons. It was also bittersweet because it was the final playoff victory from the Niners’ dynasty of the 80s and 90s. I will never forget that play and my emotional reaction to it…nor Favre’s stunned looked at the end and Owens crying his eyes out on the shoulders of Steve Mariucci. I remember jumping up so high in excitement after Owens’ TD catch that my fists hurt afterwards because they hit the ceiling with force.
It was an all-or-nothing situation. For me having a rough day and coming up with the biggest catch of my career at that time, hopefully inspires people that the game isn’t over until it’s over. ~ Terrell Owens
Giant Comeback Against Giants
January 5, 2003: San Francisco’s improbable comeback — led by Jeff Garcia — eventually led to 39-38 victory over the New York Giants. In the 2002 NFC Wild Card playoff game, the Giants were up 38-14 late in the third quarter. Garcia led San Francisco in one of the best and most incredible comebacks, not only in 49ers history, but of all-time in NFL history. He led three touchdown drives and a field goal drive for 25 unanswered points to give the Niners the lead. It was the largest deficit overcome in a playoff game.
What made the game so memorable outside of the comeback was the snap from Giants long-snapper Trey Junkin with six seconds late in the game. The Giants were attempting a game-winning field goal when Junkin snapped it too low and the holder was forced to throw, which fell incomplete. Despite controversy on the final play the 49ers would go on to win the game. The NFL said after the game pass interference should’ve been called against San Francisco that would have nullified another penalty on the Giants, and giving New York another chance to kick a 41-yard game-winning FG.
For two and a half quarters, we were getting it handed to us. But as a team, you trust one another. We grit our teeth and lifted each other up. ~ Jeff Garcia
Vernon Post/The Catch III
January 14, 2012: Call it what you want — Vernon Post or The Catch III — the 49ers beat New Orleans, 36-32, with a dramatic fourth quarter touchdown reception by Vernon Davis to move onto the NFC Championship game for the first time since January 11, 1998.
With 4:02 left in the game, New Orleans took their first lead of the game at 24–23 with a Drew Brees touchdown pass. Less than 2 minutes later, San Francisco took it back, with Alex Smith hitting Davis for a 37-yard gain before taking the ball into the end zone on a career long 28-yard run, making the score 29–24 after the two-point conversion failed. Brees marched his offense down the field to score with his fourth touchdown pass of the day, a 66-yard completion to Jimmy Graham, and then threw the ball to Darren Sproles for a successful 2-point conversion, giving the Saints a 32–29 lead.
San Francisco got the ball back at their own 15-yard line with 1:37 left in the game. Eventually Smith connected on a 47-yard pass to Davis, advancing the ball to the Saints 20-yard line. A 6-yard completion to Frank Gore then moved the ball to the 14, where Smith spiked the ball to stop the clock. On the next play, he threw a 14-yard touchdown pass to Davis with 9 seconds left, earning San Francisco their first conference championship game since 1997.
History was going through my mind. It was us against history. It was a very emotional game, it was like a roller coaster. ~ Vernon Davis
The Numbers at Candlestick Park
- 1960: Candlestick Park opened
- 1971: Year the 49ers played their first home game at Candlestick Park
- 32: All totaled, the ‘Stick cost $32 million to build
- 43: Number of season the 49ers called the ‘Stick home
- 17.5: Over 17.5 million fans have attended Candlestick Park
- 7: Number of NFC Championship games played
- 9: Most wins the 49ers have had in a season (playoffs included) at the ‘Stick. Happened five times (1981, 1984, 1994, 1997, 1998)
- 224: Number of all-time wins by the 49ers at Candlestick Park
- 69,900: Maximum capacity
- 350: After Monday night’s game, the 49ers will have played their 350th game at Candlestick Park
- 4: The amount of names Candlestick Park has had: Candlestick Park (1960–1995, 2008–present); 3Com Park at Candlestick Point (1995–2002); San Francisco Stadium at Candlestick Point (2002–2004); Monster Park (2004–2008)
- 602: Candlestick Park is located at 602 Jamestown Avenue
- 70s: From 1970-1978, Candlestick Park had artificial turf
- 36: Tonight will be the 36th time Candlestick has hosted Monday Night Football. The most at any stadium currently in use by the NFL
- 2007: In 2007, the playing field was renamed Bill Walsh Field