There was, of course, “The Catch,” the miracle play that for three decades has been cushioned in reverential tones. Around here it’s taught in kindergarten, right after stuff about the Gold Rush.
Joe Montana to Dwight Clark, NFC Championship Game, Jan. 10, 1982—and never again was it believed the tingling magic could possibly be replicated, because lightning that magnificent can’t possibly strike again in the same house, for the same team.
Never again is a whole lot of hogwash.
Vernon Davis didn’t enter the world until long after Clark had leaped, stretched and hauled in a pass from Montana with 51 seconds left in a seesaw stunner that saw the 49ers beat the Dallas Cowboys. But when dreams are this big, they tend to morph and blossom, until even the dreamer loses track of small details.
So when Davis, the tight end who only a few days ago admitted he was sometimes overwhelmed by the Niners’ playbook, was asked how long he had been dreaming about this moment, he didn’t hesitate.
“Since The Catch,” came his answer and yes, he knew enough about that flash in history to inhale and use capital letters, even though Davis was born two years and 21 days after Montana-to-Clark birthed a dynasty.
Who knows what the spin-off from this particular slice of enchantment might be? It has been some kind of season for the 49ers, and after knocking off the favored New Orleans Saints 36-32 at Candlestick Park, in the final seconds of a NFC Divisional playoff game, there’s a sense that all things are possible for this revitalized team.