In my previous article, I reminisced about my most heartbreaking loss as a San Francisco 49ers fan in games played at the soon-to-be-closed and demolished Candlestick Park. In this article, I will be just a bit more positive and I will reminisce about the game or moment which brought me most joy as a 49ers fan from games they have played at Candlestick Park during my lifetime as a 49ers fan.
Before I get to explaining which 49ers win at Candlestick gave me the most unbridled joy ever, I will tough upon a couple honorable mentions who came close to taking my No. 1 spot, but just missed out.
The first honorable mention goes to the 2012 NFC Divisional Playoff game that the 49ers won 36-32 over the New Orleans Saints. As the 49ers lined up for their game winning drive, I thought to myself, “hey, even if they lose, I won’t feel bad given I did not expect to see a home playoff game that early in the Jim Harbaugh era.”
When Alex Smith connected with Vernon Davis on the touchdown catch that is now known as “The Catch III,” several years of wondering if things would turn around were let out in a scream which I assume could be heard from where I was watching the game all the way to Candlestick. The other game that deserves honorable mention is the 1995 NFC Championship game that the 49ers won 38-28 over the Dallas Cowboys, after two-consecutive years of losing to the Cowboys in this game.
I remember going into the game believing that this was finally going to be the time 49ers would beat the Cowboys in this game and prevent them from getting that Super Bowl three-peat the 49ers were denied earlier in the decade. But this game is not the 49ers win at Candlestick I most enjoyed. The Candlestick win that the 49ers had which I most enjoyed in my lifetime took place earlier in the 1994 season against the same Dallas Cowboys in Week 11 of the regular season.
After the NFC Championship defeats the previous two seasons and in the previous regular season game during the 1993 season, it was mightily important that the 49ers win this game in order to mentally believe they could overcome the Cowboys, and for us as 49ers fans to believe they could finally beat the Cowboys. It was clear that the winner of this game would host the other in the NFC Championship as they were both head and shoulders above every other team in the NFC that season. In addition, it was the type of big regular season game that Steve Young needed in order to change the narrative of him being a quarterback not able to win “the big one.”
Just as if it were a playoff game, I remember watching the game and suffering along in the hope that the 49ers would win the game and also give me hope for what was to come later on in the season against the Cowboys. It was definitely a closely contested game and when Young hit tight end Brent Jones on a tocuhdown pass as a result of a bootleg to take a 21-7 lead, I knew that the 49ers were on their way to a winning the game, which they did 21-14.
What made the win so enjoyable was that first and foremost, they beat the Cowboys and given how the 49ers on several occasions over the past couple of years, the win lifted that feeling of hopelessness and general frustration that the Cowboys had dominated them the way they had in recent time up to that game. The game was so enjoyable as it was great to see Steve Young finally win a game against the Cowboys even though he was one of the least responsible for the previous losses, but received the majority of the blame. Finally, it was an enjoyable game because I knew that there was no way the 49ers were going to be denied a Super Bowl that season, even by the Cowboys whom they easily defeated in the NFC Championship game.