THE MMQB's Peter King writes the 49ers put on a "touching, lovely ceremony" for former player Dwight Clark, who has ALS and appeared with 37 of his former teammates at halftime of the team's home game against the Cowboys yesterday. With his strength in "decline and struggling with his speech, Clark thanked his mates and his fans in an emotional speech" that brought former 49ers Owner Eddie DeBartolo Jr. "to tears" (SI.com, 10/23). In San Jose, Dieter Kurtenbach notes Pro Football HOFer Joe Montana and Clark "spoke to a third-full stadium." The 49ers "did a great thing" and "deserve credit for flying so many of Clark’s teammates in for the game and for dedicating the day to the man whose catch sparked a dynasty" (San Jose MERCURY NEWS, 10/23).
GREAT FIRST TOUCH: In Atlanta, Steve Hummer noted Atlanta Untied drew a record crowd of 71,874 to Mercedes-Benz Stadium yesterday for the final regular-season game of the club's "record-breaking" inaugural campaign. MLS in Atlanta "made its dizzying climb from concept to the league’s record-setting attendance champion," as United's season average of 48,200 broke the previous record of 44,247 set by the Sounders. Hummer: "Who knew Atlanta could embrace soccer like this? This is stuff that would baffle even the most devout soccer cultist" (AJC.com, 10/22).
A SIGN OF THINGS TO COME? MGM Resorts last week purchased the WNBA Stars and will move the team to Las Vegas, where Adam Hill wrote it is "possible the long-term financial success" of the franchise is secondary to the company "building a relationship with the NBA as it works toward acquiring an NBA team." MGM Resorts CMO & Chief Experience Officer Lilian Tomovich "didn’t dismiss that theory." She said, "We certainly value and cherish our longstanding relationship with the NBA." But for now, the focus will be on "building the WNBA brand on the Strip." That could include "hosting the draft, All-Star Game and other major events on the league’s calendar" (LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL, 10/22).