49ers set to honor franchise legend Dwight Clark on Sunday

SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- The man who made "The Catch" will be at Levi's Stadium on Sunday. And with the Dallas Cowboys in town, it's only fitting that San Francisco 49ers legend Dwight Clark will be honored at halftime of what the team is calling "87 Day," a nod to Clark's jersey number.

Clark, who will always hold a special place in Niners lore for the dramatic touchdown catch he made to beat Dallas in the NFC Championship Game following the 1981 season, will be in attendance along with more than 30 alumni from the team's Super Bowl XVI winners.

At halftime, the Niners plan to honor Clark and the other members of that team in a video tribute; Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Montana is slated to address the crowd. Clark -- who announced in March that he'd been diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease -- could also speak, though his participation is uncertain.

Regardless, it's safe to say Sunday will be all about Clark.

"Dwight was always sort of part of our extended family," 49ers CEO Jed York said of the 60-year-old. "He and my uncle [Eddie DeBartolo Jr.] are extremely, extremely close. Knowing Dwight as a player, knowing Dwight after he was done playing, whether he was in the front office or he was in Cleveland, I have always had so much love, respect and admiration for him. It’s going to be special to have a day that really honors him, that we can celebrate the great person that he is, the certainly 49ers legend and icon that he is and allow him to be with his teammates and really enjoy the glory that he deserves and the accolades that he deserves from this fan base."

Clark played for the Niners from 1979-87, then served as a front-office executive from 1989-1998 before taking his current role as a member of the 49ers Hall of Fame committee. Through those many years of service, though, it will always be "The Catch" that endures as his legacy with the franchise.

With that in mind, the 49ers have a number of Clark-centric promotions and giveaways set for Sunday.

First and foremost, the Golden Heart Fund will be the game's 50-50 raffle beneficiary. The Golden Heart Fund serves current and future 49ers alumni in need of financial, medical, psychological or emotional support. That fund will also get 25 percent of the proceeds from sales of Dwight Clark apparel during Sunday's game.

In addition, all fans will receive upon entry a red T-shirt with Clark's No. 87 and a silhouette of Clark making "The Catch" and be able to purchase an augmented-reality souvenir cup featuring Clark.

With the Cowboys coming to town, it's safe to expect a healthy Dallas contingent at Levi's Stadium on Sunday. There were so many Cowboys fans at last season's meeting between the teams here that then-Niners linebacker Ahmad Brooks said after that he couldn't believe it.

Considering the importance of the day, though, York is hopeful that won't be the case again so Clark can get the love he deserves from the faithful fans.

"I think every team has tickets on the secondary market," York said. "I’d love for our fans to be the ones that are buying those as opposed to the opposing team. I would just encourage [them], don’t do it for me, do it for Dwight. Dwight deserves to see a lot of red and gold on Sunday. I think he’ll see that. I think he’s going to see a lot of passion from the 49ers faithful."