San Francisco

'The Catch' Stands Forever in Statues Outside Levi's Stadium

The statues capture Joe Montana completing a late pass to a leaping Dwight Clark in the back of the end zone

In celebration of one of the most iconic moments in franchise history, the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday unveiled two new statues of Joe Montana and the late Dwight Clark, capturing them as they stood 36 years ago when they pulled off a remarkable play simply known as "The Catch."

Montana's late toss to a leaping Clark in the back of the end zone during the NFC Championship Game on Jan. 10, 1982 helped propel the 49ers past the Dallas Cowboys and to the club's first Super Bowl in what would become the beginning of a dynasty.

Speaking to the crowd during the unveiling ceremony Sunday morning outside Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, Montana reflected on the past, sharing fond and humorous memories of the momentous play and his former teammate who died on June 4 after battling ALS.

"If (Clark) was here today, I know what he'd be telling me," Montana said. "He'd be whispering in my ear, 'You know they didn't call it 'The Throw' for a reason.'"

Aside from cracking a few jokes during his speech, Montana did turn serious at times, noting that he and Clark were "great friends throughout life."

"I wish he was here in person," Montana said. "We all miss him a lot. I just want to say thank you on behalf of both of us. It's truly, truly an honor to have these statues and be remembered forever."

The two statues, weighing in at 350 pounds apiece, have been placed 23 yards apart, representing the distance that separated Montana and Clark during the iconic play.

In addition to the statues, the 49ers on Sunday painted an "87" — Clark's jersey number — into the north end zone at Levi's Stadium at the same spot where he hauled in Montana's throw back at Candlestick Park.

San Francisco players have already and will continue to wear "87" decals on their helmets throughout the 2018 season.

NBC Sports Bay Area contributed to this report.

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