I can’t think of a better way to depart from Candlestick Park than the now-legendary Pick at the ‘Stick. Anyone remember how frustrated fans were when NaVorro Bowman botched the onside kick retrieval, only to come up with a bobbled pass a few plays later? Just a perfect play, a perfect ticket to the playoffs, and a perfect send-off to the San Francisco 49ers’ longtime home.
For Niners fans pining for the days of traveling less than 43 miles from the city’s center to attend a football game, this game marks the end of something truly glorious. This was the last great team of the Jim Harbaugh Era. In 2013, the 49ers went 12-4 and finished second in the NFC West to the team that would eventually eliminate them from the playoffs and win the Super Bowl, the Seattle Seahawks. However, when this game was played, the division crown had not yet been clinched, which made Bowman’s death-knell, field-long pick-six that much more dramatic. In a locale that featured so many legendary plays, from The Catch to The Catch II to The Catch III, Bowman’s closing number was a fitting one.
Quotable: ”We don’t want to be the guys who screw up the final game in Candlestick.” -- Jim Harbaugh, 49ers head coach
I still remember the game thread when I was just a Niners Nation reader and how NaVorro Bowman was blasted for about 200 comments.
So what is in front of this? Well, there’s that epic departure from Cleveland Stadium; where fans tried to rip the benches out to redecorate their homes and told the Cleveland Browns exactly what they thought. Then there’s the Veteran Stadium departure for the Philadelphia Eagles, where the same pick-six heroics of Bowman had the opposite effect since the visiting Tampa Bay Buccaneers took one to the house and went to the Super Bowl. At No. 1 is the farewell to Foxboro Stadium which had the snowy AFC Divisional round and the much-maligned Tuck Rule rising from the filth of that officiating to help the New England Patriots.
When you think of the postseason games that were ahead of the 49ers’ epic play, it’s understandable that the Pick at the ‘Stick isn’t on the list. Putting it at sixth seems a bit high though. Maybe somewhere at No. 4 or No. 3 given the moment and buildup.
If you were speaking objectively (hard, but let’s give it a shot), where would you put the Pick at the ‘Stick?