Today in sports history, one of the most famous plays in NFL history took place. It is the 40 year anniversary of the 1982 NFC Championship. The number one seeded San Francisco 49ers and the two-seeded Dallas Cowboys were matched up with the winner going to the Super Bowl. With 58 seconds remaining in the game, Joe Montana hit Dwight Clark in the back of the end zone to secure the win and complete “The Catch.”
This game has built a legacy as being one of the best in NFL history.
“The Catch” Ends Wild Game | Today in Sports History
The 1982 NFC Championship opened up with a punt from Dallas and a Freddie Soloman touchdown for the 49ers. Dallas immediately responded, scoring the next 10 points and going into the second quarter ahead. In the second quarter, Montana threw his second touchdown pass of the game, hitting Dwight Clark. The Cowboys’ Tony Dorsett scored the last touchdown of the first half, as Dallas took a three-point lead.
After San Francisco’s third quarter touchdown and 10 Dallas points in the fourth quarter, San Francisco took over on their own 11-yard line with just under five minutes left. Montana and the 49ers offense slowly worked their way down the field, with a couple third down conversions and penalties. After the two minute warning, Soloman gained 14 yards on a wide receiver reverse. Montana hit two passes with Clark and Soloman to bring the ball to the Cowboys’ 12-yard line. The 49ers eventually set up a third and four from the six-yard line.
Montana ran the same passing play that Soloman had scored on earlier in the game. On Soloman’s route, he slipped, setting the timing of the play off. As the Cowboys instantly broke through the 49ers offensive line, Montana was in a hurry. Back peddling to the sideline, Montana hit Clark on an out route as the second option on the play. In a now famous picture, Clark stretched his whole body to win the game, completing “the catch.”