Candlestick Park isn't much to look at.
It hosted baseball and football and therefore couldn't do either too comfortably. It was cold and damp for many games. The field was often chewed up. The San Francisco 49ers' home didn't have the amenities many of the modern NFL palaces do. Levi's Stadium should take care of all the problems Candlestick had.
But when it comes to history, few venues can match Candlestick Park.
The 49ers dynasty under Bill Walsh created so many great players and moments, and that team kept rolling into the 1990s after Walsh retired. The franchise has had a revival under Jim Harbaugh the past few years, creating a new set of memorable moments.
So as we approach Monday night's game between the 49ers and Falcons, the final NFL game at Candlestick barring an amazing turn of events in the playoffs, here are the 10 greatest NFL moments in the stadium's storied history:
10. Terrell Owens' 20 catches upstages Jerry Rice's last home game
Dec. 17, 2000 was supposed to be a celebration for Jerry Rice, who was playing his last home game with the 49ers. And the fans celebrated Rice, but also got to see history from San Francisco's other receiver. Owens caught 20 passes, setting a (since-broken) NFL record, for 283 yards in a win against the Bears.
9. Anthony Carter's huge day stuns the 49ers in the playoffs
The 1987 49ers were one of the best squads of that dynasty, going 13-2 with a dominant offense and defense. They won their last three regular-season games by a score of 124-7 and were expected to cruise to the Super Bowl. But Carter, Minnesota's star wide receiver, stole the show in the NFC semifinals. He had 10 catches for 227 yards, an absolutely dominant performance in a shocking 36-24 upset.
8. Steve Young's great run
In 1988 against the Vikings, Young took off on a run that is still described by some as the greatest ever (we think another Candlestick run tops it, but we'll get to that in a moment). Young spun out of the collapsing pocket and then made just about every Vikings defender miss on a magical 49-yard score.
7. An incredible wild-card comeback against the Giants
San Francisco trailed New York 38-14 late in the third quarter of a wild-card playoff game on Jan. 5, 2003. What followed was the second-biggest playoff comeback ever. Behind Jeff Garcia and Owens, the 49ers rallied for a 39-38 lead. The Giants had a shot to win at the end, but a botched snap on a field goal (and a pass interference downfield that wasn't called) sealed the improbable 49ers victory.
6. 49ers win NFC title, Steve Young takes a victory lap
Finally, with a win over the Cowboys in the NFC championship game at the end of the 1994 season, Young could quiet his critics that said he couldn't win big like Joe Montana. Young was great in the 38-28 win over Dallas, and followed it with a triumphant lap around the stadium to celebrate with the fans.
5. Garrison Hearst wins it with a 96-yard run in overtime
In NFL history, it's hard to top Hearst's game-winning run to beat the Jets in Week 1 of the 1998 season. He broke through two tackles at the line, delivered a wicked stiff-arm at about the Jets' 20, broke another tackle at midfield and bulled into the end zone with a defender wrapping him up from behind. What an incredible play. It was the longest run from scrimmage in team history, and it won the game 36-30.
4. Giants stop 49ers' dream of a three-peat
The NFC championship game at the end of the 1990 season was a classic. The Giants, significant underdogs to the two-time defending champions, kept the game close. They knocked Joe Montana out on Leonard Marshall's brutal hit. Then Roger Craig's fumble in the final minutes helped set up Matt Bahr's game-winning field goal for the Giants. And more than 20 years later, the NFL still has never had a team win three Super Bowls in a row.
3. Jerry Rice sets all-time NFL touchdown mark
The beauty of Rice's 127th touchdown, passing Jim Brown for the all-time NFL record, was that everyone knew it was coming. In the fourth quarter of a blowout against the Raiders on Sept. 5, 1994, Rice was still in the game and everyone watching on "Monday Night Football" knew why. Young hit him for a 38-yard score, and the NFL had a new touchdown king.
2. Terrell Owens' last-second touchdown beats the Packers
For T.O., a wild-card game against the Packers at the end of the 1998 season was a nightmare until the final seconds. He had four dropped passes and a fumble. But with three seconds left he hauled in a 25-yard score from Young to beat the Packers, one of the most dramatic touchdowns in playoff history.
1. The Catch
There really wasn't any doubt about the top moment, right? Joe Montana to Dwight Clark to beat the Cowboys in the NFC championship game on Jan. 10, 1982 is the iconic play in 49ers history. It sprung a dynasty to life. Click here to read more about Clark's memories of "The Catch" and Candlestick Park.
- - - - - - -