What if you closed a stadium with more than four decades of history with a team without the most decorated player in the history of the franchise in attendance?
The San Francisco 49ers might find out the answer to that question on Dec. 23, when the 49ers host the Atlanta Falcons in the Candlestick Park finale.
The 49ers are playing their 43rd and last season at the old stadium that opened in 1960 as the home of the San Francisco Giants and played host to the Oakland Raiders for one, inglorious, season in 1961.
But Joe Montana might not be there, according to CSNBayArea.com.
Montana, starting quarterback for four of San Francisco’s five Super Bowl winners, will be in New Orleans on Dec. 21 when his son Nick quarterbacks Tulane in the New Orleans Bowl.
The team has been counting down the top 10 49ers moments in Candlestick and the only choice for No. 1 is “The Catch,” the famous Montana-to-Dwight Clark touchdown pass that propelled the 49ers to their first Super Bowl in the 1981 NFC Championship against the Dallas Cowboys.
But it would be impossible to begrudge Montana the opportunity to see his son’s first bowl game. Montana started 10 of Tulane’s 12 games this season and threw for 1,654 yards, 14 touchdowns and nine interceptions as the Green Wave (7-5). He missed two games with a shoulder injury.
This will be Tulane’s first bowl appearance since winning the Hawaii Bowl after the 2002 season. Montana initially enrolled at Washington and after redshirting in 2010 played sparingly as a backup in 2011. He played last season at Mount San Antonio College in suburban Los Angeles before transferring to Tulane and winning the starting quarterback job this fall.
Joe Montana is anticipating not being at The ‘Stick for the finale.
“I, most likely, will not be there with Christmas, and my son has a game a couple days before that,” Montana told 95.7 The Game on Thursday. “(I’ll) probably still be back in New Orleans or flying home that day—one of those things. All the kids are coming home that weekend, or starting that Monday or Tuesday. My wife knows my schedule a little better than (me) when it comes to where we’re going to be for Christmas. But I’ll be watching, for sure, if I’m not there.”
The 49ers have played every home game but one at Candlestick since 1971—the lone exception being an October 1989 game against the New England Patriots that was moved to Stanford Stadium in the wake of the Loma Prieta earthquake.
The 49ers, with two home games remaining, are 224-131-2 all-time at Candlestick in the regular season and 20-7 in the postseason.