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49ers, Pundits Weigh in on Candlestick Park Finale

Posted Dec 20, 2013

Players, coaches and outside observers share their thoughts on the 49ers last regular season game at The 'Stick.

Joe Montana

“We always said home-field advantage wasn’t about the field, we knew it was about the fans. The field was always wet. It could not rain for months, but our field was always wet… We always expected the wind… The dirt would blow right into your eyes before you’d start a play.” READ more here.

Steve Young

“I have a plethora of memories, phenomenal memories of championship games won and lost, Monday Night games, big games, December games, games that decided the home field advantage almost every year it seemed like. The locker room dripping down from condensation. The high tide would come in and you’d get that smell on the field, really soggy when it started to rain. The infield, when the Giants were playing there, with crushed rock you’d get skinned up all through September and early October. The wind obviously early in the season was always a factor. The stadium needs to close. She’s gone as far as she can go, it needs to be done. But for me, obviously it’s hard to see her go, it’s hard to see it end, and I’ll always miss playing at Candlestick Park. I missed it the second I left the 49ers and I still miss being in that park. It will be fun to be there Monday Night and see the last game.”

Jerry Rice

“Then jogging on that football field, the history, all the great players that did amazing things on the field, like Dwight clark when he made ‘The Catch,’ I felt honored to be able to walk out on that football field and to excel and to entertain the fans. I never took it for granted because there’s a lot of history in Candlestick Park, and I’m honored to be a part of it.”

Roger Craig

“Candlestick is a historical area, the San Francisco Bay area, that should be recognized. We did some wonderful things there. ‘The Catch’ was created there with Dwight Clark, starting the dynasty of the 49ers in the early ‘80s, and then here I come two or three years later and create something (like) 1,000-1,000 (rushing and receiving yards as the) first player in history to do that. I’m going to miss that stadium, but we have to move on to bigger and better things.” READ more here.

Former owner Eddie DeBartolo

"In a different way, I left a lot of my heart, my blood, sweat and tears on that field, too. I think it's fitting that we're all there. We had a lot of good times, a lot. We had some bad times. That's sports. That's life. But it'll be an honor to be there… It's going to be totally emotional." READ more here.

J.J. Stokes

“I have a lot of great memories at Candlestick, no doubt. They were all fun and ultimately, we won, which made it better.”

Coach Jim Harbaugh

“It’s the last game at Candlestick and we don’t want to be the guys that screw up the last game in Candlestick. These players will come back 20, 25 years from now and they want to have a good memory of winning at Candlestick… I think that’ll be very important, not only for them, but for all the guys that played for the 49ers and have that legacy of playing with the team and playing at Candlestick that want to go out with a win. So probably more forward-thinking than I am nostalgically at this point. Make sure we work hard to give ourselves the best chance of doing that.” READ more here.

Defensive coordinator Vic Fangio

“This is the last stadium in the league that I think you have to do (walk into the stands down from the press box). I’ve been through all of them here in the last 30 years and this is the last one. These (fans) here have really, for the most part, have been cordial. Now, I remember I came here, my first 13 years in the league I was in the same division with the 49ers through their heyday with Montana and then (Steve) Young. So I was a visitor here 13 years in a row. And wasn’t always up in the box then, but most of the time I was. They were always pretty cordial.”

Offensive coordinator Greg Roman

“I know it’ll be electric. Candlestick Park, I think back to just my earliest memories of watching games. I grew up on the east coast and it’d always be the late game. Just some of the classic battles back in the early ‘80s and whatnot. I remember we used to turn the TV around so we could sit and eat dinner and watch some of those games. Just so many incredible things have happened at that stadium. So many great players have played there. I just think it’s going to be a pretty special night there and we need to be on our P’s and Q’s.”

Tight end Vernon Davis

It’s a really sad moment for me. I know we’re doing a sit-down and it’s casual, but I’m sad. I’m an emotional guy. To be talking about Candlestick and its departure is sad for me. It’s a business and I understand life goes on. There will always be a lot of memories for me in that stadium. It’s where it all started for me. I remember my first time walking into the stadium and I remember looking around and wandering. All I could see was the past, Jerry Rice and Joe Montana, making plays. So to leave Candlestick is definitely tough. But I want to say farewell Candlestick, I love you and I’ll miss you. You were everything to the past and everything to my teammates. Farewell.

Running back Anthony Dixon

"There's a lot of history. You think of all the players who were on the field before us."

Left guard Adam Snyder

"Candlestick's got so much tradition. The feel of the guys who played there before us is there. There jerseys are up on the wall. I think the fans have a special place in their hearts for Candlestick."

Linebacker NaVorro Bowman

"It's humbling just to have so much history come before you and know what the fans are used to and what the organization is used to. It makes you understand what kind of team you're going to be a part of and what type of football is known to be played. It's known for winning."

Right tackle Anthony Davis

"I get chills just talking about it. It's not the best looking stadium, but there's so much history there. It's an honor to be able to play in it, the last year it will be here. I don't take that for granted."

ESPN NFL host Chris Berman

“It was not the greatest played game (the 1981 NFC Championship Game) but you couldn’t have had more exciting a game… The ball looks like it’s going into the stands and Dwight Clark leapt like a basketball player, made the catch. But the game wasn’t over. There was still a minute to go almost… It caught even the city by surprise. It was fresh and it was fun, and who knew what they were building at the time. The whole thing sends shivers down my spine, that I was fortunate enough to be there and see it. It’s an iconic game in pro football history, let alone Candlestick. That’s what Candlestick will be remembered for more than anything else: that play, that game, even though there were some unbelievably great games, all the playoff games the 49ers have had there.”

ESPN MNF host Jon Gruden

“When the 49ers beat the Giants on Monday Night Football at Candlestick in 1990, I had this old beat up car, a Delta ’88. I bought it for $500. It was the worst car you’ve ever seen. The players all made fun of me. They called me ‘Uncle Buck’. This Giants game is huge and before we leave for the stadium from the team hotel Charles Haley says to me, ‘I need to ride over with you in that car to the stadium. I’ve got to get in the right state of mind.’ I told him my car might not make it – it was that bad a car. He insisted on riding with me. So, he didn’t take the team bus. It’s the biggest game in my life, and my car’s going to break down on the way to the stadium. I don’t have a parking pass or anything. So, Haley is out the window yelling at security to let us in. I am a nervous wreck. I think Mike Holmgren and George Seifert are going to fire me – my coaching career is over. Even when we got to the stadium, I was scared to go in the locker room. Fortunately, we won 7-3 and Haley played his tail off.”

ESPN NFL analyst Trent Dilfer

“My first NFL start was at Candlestick against Steve Young’s 1994 49ers team -- and I was pathetic. But it was going home to the Bay Area close to where I grew up, buying 75 tickets for family and friends. At the time, you try not to get caught up in the nostalgia, the history and who you are playing because they were just awesome. Though I didn’t play well, it’s still a great memory that I was able to have my first NFL start there.”

ESPN NFL analyst Ron Jaworski

“I remember going onto the field at Candlestick and warming up. I would go to every corner of the field and throw the football because the wind was different in every area of the stadium. You think it would go right, and it would go left. Some areas you think it would knock the ball down, it would take the ball up. You wanted to know what the wind was going to do to the football, and I always felt that was to the quarterback’s advantage, knowing the wind current in Candlestick Park.”

Elias Sports Bureau executive vice president Steve Hirdt

“Of the 36 games in Monday Night Football history at Candlestick, almost all of them were in November or December. Years ago, the NFL used to try to put late-season Monday night games in a temperate climate. I can picture going to San Francisco – as will be the case this year – late in the season with the city all decked out for Christmas. It’s one of the great cities to be in around Christmas time. For someone who’s been on the show a long time, it’s almost part of the schedule that you get a late-season game in San Francisco.

“Probably the most memorable game was 1990 between the Niners and the Giants. Both teams were at the top of their game. The coaches were Bill Parcells and George Seifert, who replaced Bill Walsh as the 49ers head coach but still had the basics of Walsh’s great teams from the 80s. We had a matchup of 10-1 versus 10-1 and the 49ers won the game 7-3. That sounds like it might not have been that compelling, but it was because of how good the teams and both defenses were. It got one of the highest ratings MNF ever had, and the Giants and 49ers met again in the NFC Championship game at Candlestick later that season.”

MNF games at Candlestick Park, 1971-2013

2013: Atlanta vs. SAN FRANCISCO

2012: SAN FRANCISCO 32, Chicago 7

2011: SAN FRANCISCO 20, Pittsburgh 3

2010: New Orleans 25, SAN FRANCISCO 22

2009: SAN FRANCISCO 24, Arizona 9

2007: SAN FRANCISCO 20, Arizona 17

2003: SAN FRANCISCO 30, Pittsburgh 14

2002: Philadelphia 38, SAN FRANCISCO 17

1999: Green Bay 20, SAN FRANCISCO 3

1998: SAN FRANCISCO 31, N.Y. Giants 7

1998: SAN FRANCISCO 35, Detroit 13

1997: SAN FRANCISCO 34, Denver 17

1996: SAN FRANCISCO 24, Detroit 14

1995: SAN FRANCISCO 37, Minnesota 30

1994: SAN FRANCISCO 44, L.A. Raiders 14

1993: SAN FRANCISCO 42, New Orleans 7

1993: Philadelphia 37, SAN FRANCISCO 34 (OT)

1992: SAN FRANCISCO 24, Detroit 6

1991: SAN FRANCISCO 52, Chicago 14

1990: SAN FRANCISCO 7, N.Y. Giants 3

1989: SAN FRANCISCO 31, New Orleans 13

1989: SAN FRANCISCO 34, N.Y. Giants 24

1988: SAN FRANCISCO 37, Washington 21

1987: SAN FRANCISCO 41, Chicago 0

1986: N.Y. Giants 21, SAN FRANCISCO 17

1985: SAN FRANCISCO 19, Seattle 6

1985: L.A. Rams 27, SAN FRANCISCO 20

1984: SAN FRANCISCO 37, Washington 31

1983: SAN FRANCISCO 42, Dallas 17

1978: Pittsburgh 24, SAN FRANCISCO 7

1977: Dallas 42, SAN FRANCISCO 35

1976: SAN FRANCISCO 20, Minnesota 16

1974: Los Angeles 15, SAN FRANCISCO 13

1973: SAN FRANCISCO 20, Green Bay 6

1972: Los Angeles 26, SAN FRANCISCO 16

1971: Kansas City 26, SAN FRANCISCO 17

 

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