Dwight Clark — the San Francisco 49ers great made famous by “The Catch” of a pass from Joe Montana to beat the Dallas Cowboys in the 1981 NFC Championship Game — will be honored posthumously this season with a helmet decal worn by the players, the team announced on Wednesday.
A more lasting tribute will come in the form of a statue depicting “The Catch” outside of Levi’s Stadium. It’ll be unveiled alongside a statue of QB legend Joe Montana that will be 23 yards away, the distance between the two when they pulled off the iconic play. The statues will be 120 percent of life size, making Clark’s statue seven feet tall and weighing around 350 pounds.
The statues will be unveiled in an Oct. 21 ceremony. The Niners host the Los Angeles Rams in a nationally televised game that day.
Clark died in June at age 61 after an extended battle with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). He won two Super Bowls as a 49ers player and three as an executive.
49ers CEO Jed York addressed the tributes in a statement.
“Almost four decades ago, Dwight Clark’s miraculous catch launched the San Francisco 49ers into an era of excellence. Since that time, he has served as an inspirational figure to citizens of the Bay Area and beyond. Dwight has meant so much to so many and it is only fitting that our organization continues to carry on his wonderful legacy.
“The 2018 season provides us a tremendous opportunity to celebrate the life of a very special man, while also raising awareness for the Golden Heart Fund, which was so dear to his heart. Dwight lived his life with great compassion for others, and we want to honor that legacy by raising funds to support his 49ers brothers.”
The helmet decals, featuring Clark’s No. 87 and a silhouette depiction of The Catch, will be worn for every game.
Clark’s last public appearance was last October at “Dwight Clark Day” when he addressed 49ers fans at halftime of the team’s game against the Cowboys at Levi’s Stadium. The opponent was an appropriate choice, since Clark’s legendary reception decades earlier at Candlestick Park allowed San Francisco to shock Dallas 28-27 in the NFC title game. Clark’s leaping catch of Montana’s high heave in the final minute put the Niners in their first Super Bowl, which they won over the Cincinnati Bengals.
The two-time Pro Bowl wideout recorded a career-high 85 catches and 1,105 yards in San Francisco’s first Super Bowl season, following with an NFL-high 60 receptions in the strike-shortened 1982 season. In the five-year span from 1980-84, Clark led the NFC with 349 receptions. Thanks to his years as one of Montana’s most reliable targets, Clark ranks among the team’s all-time leaders in catches (506, fourth), receiving yards (6,750, third) and touchdown catches (48, tied for sixth).
While Clark is not a Pro Football Hall of Famer, he was in the 49ers’ inaugural Hall of Fame class in 2009, and the team retired his No. 87 in 1988, a year after he retired following nine seasons, all in San Francisco.
Once retired from football, Clark spent nine seasons in the 49ers’ front office, including as the team’s general manager in 1998.
—Field Level Media