49ers

49ers, Joe Staley agree on contract extension through 2021 NFL season

49ers, Joe Staley agree on contract extension through 2021 NFL season

SAN JOSE -- Left tackle Joe Staley, one of the most popular members of the 49ers organization through good times and bad, is not going anywhere just yet.

The 49ers and Staley have agreed to a two-year contract extension through the 2021 season designed to guarantee he will play his entire career with the 49ers. Staley was set to enter the final year of his contract.

CEO Jed York made the announcement at the team’s state-of-the-franchise event on Wednesday night, eliciting wild cheers from the full-house crowd at the California Theater.

Staley, 34, is a six-time Pro Bowl performer and has appeared in 174 regular-season games in 12 NFL seasons.

The 49ers traded with the New England Patriots to move up to select Staley with the No. 28 overall pick in the 2007 draft. Staley began his college career at Central Michigan as a tight end.

In 2014, the 49ers signed Staley to a six-year contract worth nearly $45 million. Last offseason, the 49ers agreed to a revised final two years of his contract. Staley, who was playing far under market value for a player at a premium position, saw his pay increased from $11 million to $17.5 million in the final two years of the deal.

Earlier in the day, York alluded to the possibility of providing the 49ers’ fan base with some breaking news, and he delivered.

The day after the 49ers concluded last season, Staley joked about testing free agency after the 2019 season.

[RELATED: Jimmy G has 49ers QB coach 'really encouraged' right now]

“I have one more year on my contract. That’ll be the first time I hit free agency, so that’s exciting,” Staley laughed. “Yeah, I might go somewhere else. You never know.”

But this contract agreement brings an end to such crazy talk. And everybody in attendance on Wednesday night was just fine with that.

49ers vs. Steelers live stream: How to watch NFL Week 3 game online

49ers vs. Steelers live stream: How to watch NFL Week 3 game online

There’s still room on the bandwagon, but you better hurry.

Kyle Shanahan and the 49ers are 2-0 to start the season, and have won both games by at least two touchdowns.

They’ll look to keep the momentum rolling Sunday when they welcome in the Pittsburgh Steelers. Pittsburgh will be sans franchise quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who had season-ending elbow surgery last week after the team’s Week 2 loss in Seattle.

Dee Ford is listed as questionable for Sunday’s game, after sitting out practice on both Wednesday and Thursday of this week. The talented defensive end sat out the second half of Sunday’s win in Cincinnati with knee discomfort.

[RELATED: Five to watch in Week 3: 49ers fans look to Jimmy Garoppolo for their cues]

Here’s how you can watch 49ers-Steelers:

Start time: Sunday, Sept. 22, at 1:25 p.m. PT
TV channel: CBS (KPIX) 
49ers live stream: fuboTV -- Get a free trial

Where 'The Catch,' 'Immaculate Reception' should stand in NFL history

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AP/USATSI

Where 'The Catch,' 'Immaculate Reception' should stand in NFL history

The Bay Area was on the wrong side of one of the most iconic plays in NFL history, and the right side of another.

The Raiders remained stuck in the marital party rather than matrimony when Franco Harris' "Immaculate Reception" gave the upstart Pittsburgh Steelers a 13-7 win over the Silver and Black in the 1972 AFC Divisional Round. The loss in Pittsburgh was coach Jon Madden's third consecutive in the conference playoffs, and the legendary coach would lose three consecutive AFC championships before winning Super Bowl XI -- the Raiders' first. The Steelers would not win the Super Bowl or the year after, but the victory over the Raiders was Chuck Noll's first in the postseason and marked the first of eight straight playoff berths for the team that would define the 1970s. 

Just shy of a decade later, the 49ers kick-started their dynasty with another catch against an iconic franchise. Dwight Clark's 6-yard touchdown reception from Joe Montana, known simply as "The Catch," sent the 49ers to their first Super Bowl berth -- and their first of five wins. Clark's game-winning back-of-the-end-zone grab against the Dallas Cowboys has been immortalized with a pair of statues outside Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara and marks the true turning point in San Francisco's dynastic era. 

NFL Media recently ranked "The Immaculate Reception" and "The Catch" No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, on its list of 100 greatest plays in NFL history. It's hard to think of two more iconic moments, but is that the right order? Let's examine the case for each play. 

The case for 'The Immaculate Reception'

Is it possible to imagine this play without NFL Films' "Classic Battle" playing underneath or John Facenda's voice? Yet, the iconic shot of Harris catching Terry Bradshaw's ricocheted pass intended for John Fuqua inches before it hit the ground has done nothing to dispel the controversy surrounding the play. 

Officials ultimately determined that the ball deflected off of hard-hitting Raiders safety Jack Tatum and into the arms of Harris following Bradshaw's desperate fourth-and-10 heave, thus making the catch legal. Had they ruled Fuqua only touched it, it would have been an illegal catch on the last play of the game, and the Raiders would have moved on and advanced to the AFC Championship Game. 

Iconic, improbable imagery and an ahead-of-its-time officiating controversy? "The Immaculate Reception" really is the NFL bottled down to its essence, containing the perfect combination of components that keep football fans coming back -- with plenty of grievances. 

The case for 'The Catch'

There have been a lot of catches in NFL history, but there is only one "Catch." Well, unless you're a 49ers fan counting Terrell Owens and Vernon Davis' playoff game-winning touchdown grabs as proper sequels. 

"The Catch" has only been aided by time. The 49ers won four more Super Bowls after winning their first two weeks following the win over Tom Landry and the Cowboys. For the rest of his illustrious career, Landry would not win more games (12) than he did in the 1981 season and he would not lose by a closer margin in a playoff game than the one-point defeat in the NFC championship. Had the 49ers not won, it's possible Landry's Cowboys dynasty would have found second life against the Cincinnati Bengals in Super Bowl XVI, setting off all sorts of hypotheticals over the ensuing decades.

Meanwhile, Joe Montana went on to become one of, if not the most iconic quarterback in NFL history, and "The Catch" tops the list of his iconic moments. His John Candy-inspired game-winning drive in Super Bowl XXIII and dominant fourth quarter against the Philadelphia Eagles months later are all well and good, but "The Catch" truly is when he -- and Clark -- became legends in the Bay Area and beyond. 

[RELATED: How AB's Raiders-to-Patriots could cost him $29M]

Verdict

You could flip a coin on these two plays and come up with the right answer. But for our money, "The Catch" gets the edge for its impact on NFL history. 

Had "The Immaculate Reception" gone the other way, the Raiders' eventual Super Bowl coronation likely would have had to wait, anyway. The Steelers lost in the 1972 AFC Championship Game to the Miami Dolphins who, as we are reminded each and every season, is the only team in the Super Bowl era to win all of its regular-season and playoff games. The Steelers would also need to wait another two seasons before winning their first Super Bowl. 

"The Catch," meanwhile, truly began the 49ers' reign over the 1980s. If it had gone the other way, does that ever truly begin? Do the Bengals knock off "America's Team" in the ensuing Super Bowl, ending their status as one of the NFL's preeminent sad-sack franchises? If the Cowboys win, does that buy Landry time with Jerry Jones? Does Jones still buy the team? 

Clark's touchdown reception marked a turning point for the 49ers and the rest of the NFL. For that reason, "The Catch" gets the narrow edge.