A report in San Francisco says Candlestick Park will be demolished after this coming season.
The Colts are playing the 49ers this year, so this looks to be the last visit for the franchise to the charming venue. The 49ers are scheduled to move into a new facility in Santa Clara for the 2014 season.
The Colts and 49ers started playing in 1953, meeting twice annually from then until 1969. The early meetings were held in Kezar Stadium in Golden Gate Park.
Candlestick Park was built in 1960, and the 49ers began playing there in 1971. After 17 meetings in Kezar, the Colts played in Candlestick (later 3COM and Monster Park) on four occasions, earning a 1-3 record.
The accommodations in Candlestick are as rustic as the stadium is historic. The football locker rooms are located down the first-base side of the field and those needing to get to the press box must venture through the stands to a small elevator which inches upward.
The Colts lost there in 1972 in their first appearance. In 1986 with Juice Newton singing the anthem and Eddie Money performing at halftime, rookies Jack Trudeau and Bill Brooks hooked up on an 84-yard TD connection in a 35-14 setback. It still stands as the longest TD pass by a Colts rookie, though Marshall Faulk topped Brooks’ reception with an 85-yarder from Jim Harbaugh in 1994.
In 1998, rookie Peyton Manning had three touchdown passes to Marvin Harrison (four, six and 61 yards), while Faulk had a 65-yard touchdown run to open the game. A 21-0 Colts lead in the first half was largely negated when controversial holding calls wiped out interceptions that led to two 49ers touchdowns just before halftime. San Francisco won on a field goal with five seconds remaining.
Manning tied the club rookie marks of John Unitas and Jeff George with the scoring tosses. Head Coach Jim Mora verbally assaulted the officials after the game for the calls that overturned the two takeaways. He did not draw a fine for his comments.
The Colts cruised to a 28-3 win in 2005 in their last appearance in the venerable structure, with Manning throwing for 255 yards, Edgerrin James rushing for 105 and Cato June returning an interception for a score.
Andrew Luck played at nearby Stanford, and he should draw the starting call when the Colts visit Candlestick for the last time.
Candlestick will join a number of stadiums in which the Colts have played in their Indianapolis era that have been consigned to NFL history – the RCA Dome, Sun Devil (Arizona), Fulton County (Atlanta), Riverfront/Cinergy (Cincinnati), Municipal/Cleveland (Cleveland), Texas (Dallas), Mile High (Denver), Silverdome (Detroit), County (Milwaukee), Astrodome (Houston), Orange Bowl (Miami), Schaefer/Sullivan/Foxboro (New England), Giants (Giants/Jets), LA Memorial Coliseum (Raiders relocated), Anaheim (Rams relocated), Veterans (Philadelphia), Three Rivers (Pittsburgh), Kingdome (Seattle), Tampa (Tampa Bay), D.C./R.F.K (Washington). (The Colts also played Seattle in Husky Stadium and Carolina at Clemson while those franchises were having new homes built.)
Tip a hat to a venue that saw greats like Joe Montana, Willy Mays, Willie McCovey and Jerry Rice.
“The Catch” may have been its greatest moment. Using a phrase from the Bay Area as it relates to this year’s Colts-49ers tussle, “Just win, baby.”
Tags: Candlestick Park, John Unitas, Peyton Manning, RCA Dome, San Francisco 49ers
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