One aspect of Candlestick Park that won’t be missed: The long, difficult trek assistant coaches must make at halftime.
Coaches who watch the game from the booth atop the press box must take an elevator to get to the locker room in order to talk to players and the other assistants. In newer stadiums, there is a bank of modern elevators that deposit those coaches under the stadium only a few yards from the locker rooms.
In Candlestick, there’s one, rickety, tortoise-slow elevator that is prone to breakdowns. Not only that, it only goes down two levels. Coaches then must walk through the field-level stands to get to the playing field and then walk – or more commonly, run – across the field, through a tunnel and into the locker rooms.
Defensive coordinator Vic Fangio on Friday estimated he has six or seven minutes to spend in the locker room before he has to turn around and make the reverse journey. Fangio said he’s able to communicate the same things he can when the 49ers are on the road.
Still, he said, it’s different.
“You don’t feel the stress,” he said of when the 49ers are on the road. “You know you’re going to get up and down at a normal stadium. Here, you’ve got to fight through the crowd, which can be a little bit chaotic at times. It’s nobody’s fault. It’s just a lot of people going up and down those steps.”
Said offensive coordinator Greg Roman: “You have to get on the elevator and take it down to the main concourse, fight your way through the people getting beer and pretzels and hot dogs, go down the stairs of the first level, get on the field, sprint to the dugout, sprint to the locker room. You’ve got about five minutes there, and then it’s a full sprint back. What does that tell me each week? Man, I’ve got to get more exercise.”
Added Roman: “It’s interesting. It’s definitely part of the lore of Candlestick Park.”
Goodwin, 35, has started every game for the 49ers since arriving as a free agent in 2011. However, he accepted a pay cut to remain with the team this year and is a free agent at the end of the season. The 49ers have been grooming Daniel Kilgore to take over the position.
Goodwin said he’ll consider playing beyond this year but will make that decision after the season.
“I feel like my play hasn’t fallen off,” he said. “Being that I will be a free agent, I need a contract to be able to still play. So we’ll see what happens in the offseason.”
Previous winners of the award include wide receiver-returner Kyle Williams (2012), quarterback Alex Smith (2011) and defensive tackle Justin Smith (2010). Goodwin will be honored, alongside the league’s other Ed Block Courage Award recipients, March 18 in Baltimore.
Manningham, however, was limited with a knee injury. So was guard Mike Iupati, who hasn’t played or gone through a full practice since suffering a medial collateral ligament sprain Nov. 17.