When Joe Montana hit a leaping Dwight Clark in the back of the end zone to beat the hated Dallas Cowboys, Candlestick Park was a great place to call home. Afternoon winds, fog rolling in over the light towers, and seats close enough that you were practically sitting on your neighbors lap. "The Stick" was indeed a tremendous venue to catch a football game.
Fast forward to the year 2010, the 49ers are still calling Candlestick Park home. Now don't get me wrong, I love Candlestick Park. I still have memories of my first football game at Candlestick Park when Jim Everett and the Rams came into town on a cold, rainy Sunday night. The tickets were a Christmas present and I couldn't have asked for a better gift.
As Steve Young miraculously ran between Minnesota Vikings defenders to score the winning touchdown, I heard the roar of the crowd from the parking lot. Despite my objections, my dad insisted on leaving early because he didn't want to sit in the customary three hour traffic jam following each game. These traffic problems still exist today.
My memories of Candlestick Park should be just that: memories. However, when the 2010 NFL season opens up the 49ers will again be playing in a nearly 50 year old stadium. In the current state of the NFL, teams must have a new stadium if they want to compete consistently. Let's take a look at some of the elite teams of the past decade.
The Patriots built a new stadium in the middle of the decade; the Colts just built one this year, same with the Cowboys. Pittsburgh opened up their new stadium a few years ago as did the once hapless, now elite, Arizona Cardinals. Even the Chicago Bears remodeled historic Soldier Field. The New York Giants and Jets are moving into a state of the art facility next year.
San Francisco is a world class city that deserves a world class football team and stadium. The falling concrete, old seats, and flooded and crowded parking lots are no longer acceptable. The 49ers need a new stadium if they want to compete in this day in age. If they don't get a new stadium soon, it's going to be mighty difficult to root for the Los Angeles 49ers.