As the San Francisco 49ers get ready to host the Atlanta Falcons on Monday, in what will be their final regular season game and barring some miracle, their final game period at Candlestick Park, I have taken to going down memory lane and reflecting and remembering a number of different moments and games. There is much to remember and reminisce about thanks to the good to great years that the 49ers had in their time playing at Candlestick Park. With teams that regularly played home games, the 49ers enjoyed some good times.
At the same time, with so many high profile games being played at Candlestick, not all the memories and games as far as the 49ers playing at Candlestick are good ones, as over the years there were some heartbreakers which left one fan sad. A number of games and individual moments come to mind as far as heartbreaking contests and moments which the 49ers were on the losing side of in games played at Candlestick, but I will be focusing on those which I remember and watched either in person or on TV being a fan.
In thinking about which game/moment has caused me the most heartbreak as a 49ers fan, I was able to narrow it down to around five or six games right off the bat. From there, I then begin to weigh and take into account the expectations I had of the 49ers going into said game, how old I was when that game was played and the expectations of the team that season. With that in mind, I was able to pair it down to three games which really left yours truly heartbroken to a certain extent. The most fresh and recent of all heartbreaking 49ers losses at Candlestick is the 2012 NFC Championship loss to the New York Giants in overtime in a game which Kyle Williams muffed two punts.
While that game was a heartbreaker, especially considering I stayed up until around 4 a.m. Berlin time to watch on my laptop in the hostel I was staying at, the fact that this 49ers team did as well as it did during the 2011 season shocked me and as a result of being older, my perspective was different and allowed me to move on quicker emotionally. The next most heartbreaking loss I remember was the 1993 NFC Championship, which the 49ers lost to the Dallas Cowboys. I knew I was going to have to deal with friends mocking me for the 49ers losing that game as an elementary school kid.
The loss that is still the most heartbreaking for yours truly is the 1991 NFC Championship game against the New York Giants. That loss was so heartbreaking, as I like many other 49ers fans, were convinced they would pull off the three-peat of Super Bowl wins. While it was a close, tough game, I was still convinced they were going to win, but then things got bad.
First and foremost, Joe Montana was knocked out of the game because of a vicious hit from Leonard Marshall, a man whose name I still curse at and view with some hate to this date. While I did not know it at the time, this hit would end Montana’s 49ers career. Then with the 49ers winning 13-12 and looking to seal the game late in the fourth quarter, Roger Craig would have a fumble which would help set the Giants up for a game-winning field goal drive that killed the dreams of a three-peat and in many ways, ended an era. Given I was a young child, that loss still stings and hurts like no other for me as a 49ers fan.