It never gets old to hear San Francisco 49ers legends reminisce about the most significant play in franchise history.
"The Catch" was a topic of conversation last weekend at Eddie DeBartolo Jr.’s Hall of Fame Celebration. A large contingent of prominent 49ers alumni convened at the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco to celebrate the achievements of the team’s former owner.
Fellow Hall of Famers Jimmie Johnson, Fred Dean, Dave Wilcox, Charles Haley, Joe Montana, Steve Young and Jerry Rice were in attendance. So too, were franchise staples Dwight Clark, Roger Craig, Keena Turner and countless others.
Montana and Clark took a moment to speak with 49ers Studios together.
“It’s cool to see all the people from the old days – from that Redwood City cracker box that we practiced in,” Clark said. “It’s pretty cool that they brought everybody back.”
Added Montana: “You’ll see so many people here, and they’ve all been touched by ‘Mr. D.’ That’s the most special thing about it. He touched people in different ways. There’s a specialness about what he does to make everyone feel so comfortable.”
The hailed quarterback-wide receiver tandem transitioned to their unforgettable 6-yard touchdown in the final seconds of the 1981 NFC Championship Game against the Dallas Cowboys.
They laughed about DeBartolo’s story from his Hall of Fame speech back in August.
Here’s the excerpt of ‘Mr. D’s’ memory of the play:
“There was about a minute left and we were driving," DeBartolo explained. "I wanted to be on the field with the guys, so I went through the tunnel and out of the dugout. I was trying to see what was happening, but I was behind the biggest horse that you could ever imagine, with the police officer on him about 12 feet above me. Then I heard the screams of the crowd and looked up to the officer. He put his thump up and winked and said, ‘Clark, touchdown.’ That’s how I found out. At our moment of glory, I was literally blocked by a horse’s a--.”
Clark joked that the Hall of Fame owner wasn’t the only person who didn’t see him make the leaping grab.
“Three of the most important people in my life didn’t even see ‘The Catch,’” the receiver began. “My dad thought he was going to have a heart attack, and so he left the room – he was watching on TV. Joe got knocked on his butt, so he didn’t see it. And Eddie D. was behind a horse’s a--. But it all worked out. They heard the crowd, they heard the roar, so they knew something good had happened.”
Montana shared that it will always be a special moment for the alumni to cherish.
“We make fun of each other about ‘The Catch’ and have fun,” Montana said. “It’s obviously a play that stands out in history.
“He made a great catch – ”
“And he made a great throw,” Clark interrupted.
“We’re all here together. We had a great run,” Montana concluded.