The stars will be out when the San Francisco 49ers host the Los Angeles Rams in Week 7. This Sunday marks the organization's annual alumni weekend, and this year's iteration will feature a can't-miss celebration of the franchise's 70-plus years of history.
Let's start with Dwight Clark, whose legacy will be honored pregame with a private unveiling of two statues depicting "The Catch." When Clark passed back in early June, 49ers CEO Jed York brought up the idea of building a statue outside of Levi's® Stadium to commemorate the wide receiver's legacy. Fans were on the exact same page.
"We asked our fans what was important to them, and for them, it was really important to have a statue outside (the stadium)," said 49ers president Al Guido.
The exact details were a bit trickier. It's unrealistic for the 49ers to build statues of each of the franchise's Hall of Famers outside the stadium. Those already exist in the team's museum. So the organization's brain trust drummed up a better idea.
"We said to ourselves, why not try to recreate the moment?" Guido said.
View the best photos from Clark's nine-year 49ers career that included two Super Bowl victories and one of the most memorable plays in NFL history.
The life size sculptures of Joe Montana and Clark depict the historic game-winning touchdown from the 1981 NFC Championship Game against the Dallas Cowboys. Clark's statue will be suspended midair with him catching the pass. The 49ers took some creative liberty with Montana's statue. Given that the quarterback was on the ground at the moment Clark made the catch, the team opted to go with Montana's iconic pose with two arms in the air signaling touchdown.
Montana and Clark's wife Kelly will speak at the unveiling ceremony at 9:30 a.m. Fans can watch it live on 49ers.com and the team's official mobile app.
"It's going to be a special moment," Guido said. "We felt like that was the perfect way to honor that moment for all of our fans. It's really, really cool. I can't wait for fans to see it."
In addition, the 49ers will also be paying homage to the 1994 Super Bowl team. Steve Young, Jerry Rice, George Seifert and more than 20 others will be on hand for a special halftime ceremony honoring the team that won the organization's fifth Lombardi Trophy. Sunday will also be the long-awaited debut of the throwback-inspired all-white uniforms made famous by the '94 squad.
Kyle Shanahan has a special relationship with the 1994 team given that his father, Mike, was the offensive coordinator. He recently told NBC Sports Bay Area's Matt Maiocco that he wore his Deion Sanders jersey every day as a kid. Shanahan was the driving force behind bringing back the all-white threads.
"Kyle asked for them," Guido said. "Kyle, through his father, that's the team he remembers. Those jerseys were super important to him. The fan reaction to the '94 (jerseys) has been over the top, and I can't wait to see them on Sunday."
It figures to be a special afternoon with all of the hoopla surrounding a rivalry game between the 49ers and the Rams. The recognition of Clark, the '94 Super Bowl team and more than 70 other alumni who will be honored pregame will mark the latest chapter in the organization's continued effort to show its gratitude to the individuals responsible for the illustrious history of the 49ers.
"We owe a lot to all of (our players), both current and former, and so it's a special weekend for us to give back to them and to honor the moments that we all remember so near and dear to our hearts," Guido said.