49ers unveil statues of Joe Montana, Dwight Clark to honor 'The Catch'

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One of the most iconic moments in pro football history is permanently enshrined in front of Levi’s Stadium.

On Sunday before the 49ers hosted the Rams, a private ceremony was held to unveil two 350-pound statues depicting “The Catch,” an iconic pass during the 1981-82 NFC Championship from Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Montana to Bay Area legend Dwight Clark. The touchdown helped lift the 49ers to a 28-27 victory and sent them to Super Bowl XVI, which they won.

“I miss him,” Montana said. “We came in as rookies together -- great friends throughout life. The one thing I think that’s a reminder is, as we look around at all our teammates, how things can change so quickly for us, and how blessed we are to still be here and be able to attend this. I honestly know Dwight’s up there, telling me, ‘Don’t screw this thing up.'”

Mobile users watch Joe Montana's speech here

Clark announced that he had been diagnosed with ALS on March 19, 2017. He died June this year. Clark was 61 years old. His wife, Kelly Radzikowski, took the podium after Montana. “It’s difficult to be back here, without D.C.,” she said. “I know he would have absolutely loved, loved this. Very humbled. And it’s a beautiful tribute to him.”

The statues are precisely placed 23 yards apart to mirror the famous play on Jan. 10, 1982 in the NFC championship game against the Dallas Cowboys. The representation of Clark stretches 11-feet in the air and has the play they ran drawn on display glass. Clark is marked with ‘TD!” 

A large group of former 49ers were in attendance, including hall of fame wide receiver Jerry Rice, who remembers watching “The Catch” when he was at Mississippi Valley State.