For decades, Candlestick Park has felt as ancient as Jurassic Park.
Now, with the San Francisco 49ers set to say goodbye to their slouching home, and move next season to a shiny new stadium half an hour down the peninsula, the memories are bubbling back.
“It was a dump, but it was our dump,” said Dwight Clark, a star receiver for the 49ers from 1979 to ’87. “We had a lot of history there and a lot of success. It’s sad to see it go, but that’s progress.”
It was Clark who made “The Catch,” the most famous play in club history, reeling in a 16-yard, last-minute touchdown pass from Joe Montana to beat Dallas in the 1981 playoffs and earn a trip to the Super Bowl.
When the 49ers play host to Atlanta on Monday — their last game at Candlestick, barring an unlikely playoff game there — Clark will give an interview to ESPN on the spot in the back of the end zone where he made the fateful grab.
The 49ers have lots of nostalgia about their aging home but aren’t overflowing with affection for the place, which is cold, weather-beaten, windy and the NFL’s most outdated venue.
“Those corridors under the stadium, and even where the suites are, it reminds me of a basement of a house built in the 1920s in Chicago or something,” Clark said. “It’s just so cold and damp. You’d walk out of the locker room into that corridor there and you’d be like, ‘God, I hope it’s warmer outside than it is in this hallway.’ It was freezing.
“Then you’d walk out there and it would be a little warmer, but the field would be damp, and the moisture would come through the soles of your shoes.”
For Montana, the big issue with Candlestick was the whipping wind, particularly problematic when the 49ers shared the stadium with the San Francisco Giants and part of the field was consumed by a crushed-brick infield.
The status of injured Chicago Bears linebacker Lance Briggs will remain uncertain until just before game time Sunday night against the Philadelphia Eagles.
Briggs is questionable for Sunday’s game, although all indications are he’ll be able to play. On Friday Briggs went through his first full practice since fracturing his left shoulder Oct. 20.
Briggs is the signal caller for a defense that ranks last in the league against the run.
• The Cleveland Browns placed wide receiver Davone Bess on the reserve/non-football illness list, ending his season. Bess caught 42 passes for 362 yards and two touchdowns in his first season with the Browns. He leads the NFL with 14 drops.
• Denver Broncos cornerback Champ Bailey is expected to play in nickel and dime packages on Sunday. It will be just his fourth game of the season.
• Reggie Bush needs 60 yards to become the Detroit Lions’ first 1,000-yarder rusher since Kevin Jones ran for 1,133 yards in 2004.