Former Broncos to play in football finale at iconic Candlestick Park

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Finally - football starts in four days! Ok, well, it is flag football. And it's a bunch of old guys. (uh, I mean, older guys). But it's still football. And it's still awesome.

Joe Montana has been warming up his right arm lately, while Jerry Rice, Dwight Clark and Roger Craig have been lacing up their cleats.

And don't be surprised if Dan Marino is reviewing game film from Super Bowl XIX.

It's the Legends of Candlestick game July 12 at 7 p.m., featuring legendary 49ers against NFL Hall-of-Famers and Pro-Bowlers for the last football game ever at The Stick.

Montana - who won four Super Bowls while heading up a Niners dynasty for much of his 13 years there - will join his former teammates and other famed players such as Steve Young and Ronnie Lott in a friendly flag football bout with Marino and his NFL All Star team that includes four former Broncos. (*technically Jerry Rice was a former Bronco too, but it was offseason just before he decided to retire as a 49er, so we're going to let him count them as his team!)

Broncos in attendance

Wide receiver Mark Jackson of Three Amigos fame in the late 80s; wide receiver Ed McCaffrey, known for gutsy receptions up the middle; and Super Bowl winning tight end Byron Chamberlain plus defensive tackle Michael Dean Perry will join Marino's all-star cast to give the 9-time Pro-Bowler some offensive weapons for a chance at a little sweet revenge.

It's not the Super Bowl, but for these two Hall-of-Fame quarterbacks who haven't put on pads since the days cell phones were the size of a small fire extinguisher, their Saturday rematch is still a highly anticipated contest (especially for football-deprived fans barely surviving the doldrums of late-summer sports) with a roster full of players sure to dazzle.

Candlestick Park, open since 1958 and home to the Niners since 1971, is one of sports' most iconic stadiums and the turf for one of professional football's most iconic plays - "The Catch" in Super Bowl XXIII.

The Niners played their last NFL game at Candlestick Dec. 23, 2013, shutting down the Falcons 34-24.

And just as Broncos fans said goodbye to the original Mile High Stadium with a John Elway-led flag football game in 2001, 49ers will put The Stick to rest after 43 years following a final showdown for the fans on Saturday.

For Bay Area Broncos fans, tickets are on sale via Ticketmaster.com for $30, $40 and $50. There is no live TV coverage but Kenny Mayne is covering for ESPN and Alex Flanagan is covering for NFL Network.

Proceeds from the game will go toward charities run by Montana and Craig as well as San Francisco's police and fire departments.

Montana and Craig, who played on the All-Star NFL team that lost 34-33 to the Broncos Legends team in the 2001 Mile High send-off, noted that even though it's flag football, it's never just a game.

"After halftime, things change," Montana said this week in anticipation of Saturday's contest. "No one wants to lose at that point."

Perhaps that's why Elway is not on the game roster this time around?

In true Elway style, the former Super Bowl MVP led a late drive and a two-point conversion to go up by one point in the Mile High Stadium tribute game 13 years ago.

There was also known to be a little bit of tackling. Just watch Randy Gradishar as he stops a touchdown by tackling the ball carrier short of the end zone. Classic.

Who says flag football isn't exciting? Put some former NFL players on the field, and there's no telling what will happen - option routes? some old-school wishbone? probably a little (or a lot) pass interference? It's all on the table.

So while it is just flag football, and it is the old guys, who doesn't want to see this from Eddie Mac at least one more time?

I could watch that all day. Football season starts ... now.

Team Rosters

49ers Legends players:

Joe Montana, Steve Young, Jerry Rice, Dwight Clark, Ronnie Lott, Roger Craig, Charles Haley, Tom Rathman, Dwight Hicks, Brent Jones, Bubba Parris, John Taylor, Keena Turner, Eric Davis,  Jesse Sapolu, Guy McIntyre, Eric Wright, Jim Burt, Barry Helton, Riki Ellison, Bruce Collie, Isaac Bruce, Junior Bryant, Kevin Fagan, Michael Walter, Mike Shumann, Mike Wilson, Steve Bono, Tim McKyer, Tony Parrish, Walt Harris, Wesley Walls

Marino's All-Stars:

Dan Marino, Drew Bledsoe, Tim Brown, Rod Woodson, James Lofton, Anthony Munoz, Dana Stubblefield, Bart Oates, Carnell Lake, Ed McCaffrey, Everson Walls, Eric Allen, Dave Krieg, Marcellus Wiley, Greg Townsend, Kevin Gogan, Terry Kirby, Byron Chamberlain, Dan Saleaumua, Dave Szott, Mark Jackson, Michael Perry, Dixon Edwards, Mark Collins, Mike Sherrard, Robert Griffith, Ron Heller, Scottie Graham, Tony Casillas, Troy Vincent, Will Shields

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