Dwight Clark has "The Catch," Terrell Owens has "The Catch II" and Vernon Davis owns "The Catch III." 49ers fans should feel lucky to be a part of so much history.
Owens' catch came 17 years after Clark's and Davis turned this into a trilogy 13 years after T.O.'s sequel. Davis etched his name in history by hauling in the game-winning catch with nine seconds left to beat the New Orleans Saints, 36-32, in the 2011 NFC Divisional Round playoffs.
The former No. 6 overall pick in the 2006 NFL Draft was overcome with emotion. He was seen crying and hugging teammates and coaches on the sidelines.
Davis finished his famous performance with seven catches for 180 yards and two touchdowns. Once he crossed the goal line, he couldn't hold his emotions back.
"It was always my dream to be a professional athlete," Davis said in a recent Q&A with Niners Nation. "The struggles and difficulties I had along the way, losing games and as a player coming into the league, not living up to my expectations right away. All of that was built up in me, and once I made that play and that catch, I couldn’t help but let those tears out."
Even though he already had produced two seasons of at least 900 receiving yards and was a Pro Bowler in 2009, many believed the tight end hadn't lived up to expectations. Davis was a freak at the NFL Scouting Combine and was believed to dominate the NFL from Day 1.
But then he only averaged 377 receiving yards in his first three seasons and famously found himself in a sideline dispute with coach Mike Singletary. And then, "The Catch III" happened.
"Those were tears of joy," Davis told Niners Nation. "All of the work, all of the dedication, and the moments where we just couldn’t succeed as a team. I went from falling to getting back up. That’s what that was."
Davis, now 36 years old, retired from the NFL this offseason. He played 10 seasons in San Francisco and had 5,640 receiving yards and 55 touchdowns. Davis also scored eight more TDs over four seasons in Washington.
The two-time Pro Bowl tight end now is focused on an acting career.