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Joe Montana Calls Candlestick Finale ‘Bittersweet’

Posted Dec 19, 2013

Joe Montana shared his parting memories of Candlestick Park in a conversation with the Bay Area media.

Joe Montana called Candledstick Park his home for 13 of his 15 seasons in the National Football League.

San Francisco’s Hall of Fame quarterback is not likely to attend Monday night’s final regular season game at the famous Bay Area sports venue, but he was able to discuss his parting memories in a conference call with local reporters.

“You have so many memories in there,” Montana, the 8-time Pro Bowler and Class of 2000 Hall of Fame enshrine said.

PHOTOS: Joe Montana at Candlestick Park

Montana will be spending time with his family before the holidays and said he’s not likely to visit Candlestick to watch the 49ers host the Atlanta Falcons.

The legendary, three-time Super Bowl MVP and four-time Super Bowl champion with San Francisco talked at length about his playing career in Candlestick.

Although his former owner Eddie DeBartolo Jr. would gladly take part in demolishing the stadium, Montana wasn’t quick to offer his services in the activity.

Montana, a former third-round draft pick of the 49ers, explained his mixed feelings about the stadium’s closure.

“Bittersweet is probably the best way to put it,” Montana said.

Throughout his playing career in San Francisco, Montana dealt with tough playing conditions and still became the franchise leader in regular season pass completions (2,929), passing yards (35, 124) and touchdown passes (244).

Montana played in windy games, wet games, and even played on a dirt infield at Candlestick when the 49ers shared a home with the San Francisco Giants.

“We always said homefield advantage wasn’t about the field, we knew it was about the fans,” Montana said.

The hardest part of the field was dealing with the wet, soggy conditions.

“The field was always wet,” Montana said. “It could not rain for months, but our field was always wet.”

The windy atmoshphere of Candlestick was another talked about element of the stadium.

Montana, however, stayed true to his “Joe Cool” moniker when discussing the challenges of playing in the wind.

“We always expected the wind,” he said. “Wherever it’s windy, you can’t worry about the wind.”

The only challenge of the wind was when it stirred around the infield dirt.

“The dirt would blow right into your eyes before you’d start a play,” Montana recalled.

Montana dealt with challenging experiences even as patron of the stadium. When Montana attended Game 3 of the 1989 World Series, he, too, dealt with the unexpected Loma Prieta earthquake.

Montana was there with his wife Jennifer and newborn son, Nate, who was born a few weeks before the baseball game. The Montana family visited with Debartolo before the game and went down to their seats and then the stadium began to shake.

“We felt the earthquake,” Montana said.  The lights went out and my wife was saying, ‘We’ve got to go and I said, ‘No, we’ve got to watch this game.’

“I still get grief about it today… We were stuck for hours and hours in the parking lot.”

Montana went through the full gamut of experiences in the stadium and looks back on his personal experiences with pride.

“When you have a baseball stadium that’s been converted into a football field, there are a lot of memories that have happened there.”

Including this one.

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