This Day in Sports History: “The Catch”
January 10, 1982, the NFC Championship Game between the San Francisco 49ers and the Dallas Cowboys. We saw one of the most iconic catches in NFL history along with some prestigious players and coaches.
The Head Coaches in this game, Bill Walsh on the San Francisco side and Tom Landry on the Dallas side.
The major players, for San Fran: Joe Montana, Dwight Clark, Randy Cross, and Ronnie Lott.
For the Cowboys: Tony Dorsett, Drew Pearson, Ed Too Tall Jones, and Randy White.
This game went back and forth between these NFC foes. The Cowboys with Tom Landry were an already established organization and the 49ers were up and coming. The 49ers scored seven points in every single quarter of this game.
The game came down to the 4th quarter, 58 seconds remaining, and San Fran facing a 3rd and three from the Dallas six yard line trailing 27-21.
Quarterback Joe Montana took the snap and immediately drifted to his right. He was searching for somebody, anybody to come open, and in his patience he was being rushed by three Cowboy defenders.
As the defenders began to bear down on him, Montana pumped once, pumped twice, and finally released the ball with a very high trajectory into the air. Was he trying to throw the ball away? Some thought so, Ed 'Too Tall' Jones said, "When I saw it go out of Joe's hand, I started walking back to the line of scrimmage. I said, this ball is overthrown, get ready for 4th down." He also added, "I always believed Joe was throwing that ball away, living for the next play."
When Montana was asked whether or not he was intending to throw the ball away or not he said, "I would have thrown it away a lot earlier than that."
You know the end result. The ball would be brought down by wide receiver Dwight Clark for the game winning touchdown that will forever be known as "The Catch".
That victory propelled the 49ers to the Super Bowl where they would defeat the Cincinnati Bengals 26-21 and begin a run where they would own the 80's.
The San Francisco 49ers won four Super Bowls in the 1980's but without "The Catch" who knows what could have been....