Volume 93, Issue 78
Thursday, February 17, 2000
Deemed too small, lacking adequate arm strength and designated permanent back-up, Joe Montana proved everybody wrong.
After an exceptional career at the University of Notre Dame, Joe Montana was not selected until the third round by the San Francisco 49ers in the National Football League entry draft of 1979. He was not predicted to have an impressive career, but he proved his critics wrong and became the starting quarterback for the Niners, leading them to four Super Bowl titles.
Memorable moments from his career include finding teammate Dwight Clark in the end zone in the 1982 National Football Conference championship game and locating John Taylor as he streaked past a defender during the 1989 Super Bowl win over the Cincinnati Bengals. Montana could systematically tear apart a secondary with every throw he made and had more poise than any quarterback in the game. The West Coast offence fit well with Montana's style and put the 49ers on the map.
On the road to the 1991 Super Bowl, San Fransisco was stopped short of their third straight championship when New York Giants Linebacker Lawrence Taylor sacked Montana, inflicting a severe elbow injury. The quarterback missed the next season and lost his starting job to Steve Young. In 1994, Montana got a second chance as the starting quarterback for the Kansas City Chiefs.
After steering the Chiefs through two good seasons, Montana successfully brought the ailing team up to a competitive level. He retired from the game on April 18, 1995.
In front of a crowd of 20,000 in San Francisco, Montana said his farewell. Missing from the audience was the man who took his job, Young, as the crowd shouted, "We love Joe."
After all was said and done, it's possible Montana, the inventor of the two-minute drill, was the greatest quarterback to have ever played in the NFL.
Copyright © The Gazette 2000