When Saints receiver Marques Colston inexplicably opted after catching a pass at the sideline with roughly 10 seconds left not to step out of bounds and give New Orleans at least one more play from inside the Seattle 40 but to attempt a lateral that was anything but a lateral, the long-time home of the 49ers officially became closed.
Candlestick Park, which opened in 1960, could have hosted the NFC title game if the fifth-seeded 49ers and sixth-seeded Saints had won in the divisional round. Instead, a San Francisco win will mean a return to Seattle, where the 49ers have lost two straight games in ugly fashion.
As it stands, the venue shut down with a 34-24 win over the Falcons on December 23, featuring a furious comeback attempt by the Falcons, a Buckner-esque misplay of an onside kick by linebacker NaVorro Bowman, and then a memorable interception by Bowman deep in 49ers territory that was returned for a game-clinching touchdown.
And so now the time has come to tear out the seats at the ‘Stick — and to sell them at a pretty penny.