Joseph Clifford Montana, Jr., (born June 11, 1956 in the Monongahela, PA 'pocket suburb' New Eagle, Pennsylvania) was a quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers and the Kansas City Chiefs of the National Football League. The western Pennsylvania and West Virginia hills around the Monongahela river drainage basin are famed in sports circles (esp. scouting) for the number of college and NFL caliber players produced in the greater region, and Montana is perhaps archetypical in that manner. He is of Italian descent and grew to maturity in the hard-scrabble steel town of Monongahela at a time when the failing rust belt industries were making for tough times in the local economy.
Montana is often regarded to be one of the finest quarterbacks of all time, having been able to post some impressive statistics, as well as leading teams to championships. He led the San Francisco 49ers to four Super Bowls (1982, 1985, 1989, and 1990) and became the only player to win three Super Bowl MVP awards. He was also the first player in league history to win two Associated Press MVP awards, as he did so for the 1989 and 1990 season. In 1990, he received Sports Illustrated magazine's "Sportsman of the Year" award, and he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2000. His moniker, "Joe Cool", was given to him because of his calm, cool demeanor on the field under the most intense pressure situations. His nickname "Big Sky" was because of his wide open approach to the field and abiltity to find his receiver as he sent his pass into the sky.
High School Years
Montana attended Ringgold Area High School in Monongahela, PA and was a standout in football, basketball, and baseball. In football, he was a two-year starter and as a senior, won Parade All-American honors. In basketball, he led his team to a League Championship as a senior. He also served as his classes' vice president as a senior.
Montana attended The University of Notre Dame, where he led the Fighting Irish to a defeat of the Houston Cougars in the 1979 Cotton Bowl, and the 1977 college football National Championship, which Montana and the Irish earned by besting the Texas Longhorns in the 1978 Cotton Bowl.
Pro football Career
San Francisco 49ers
Montana was only a third round (82nd overall) draft pick by the San Francisco 49ers in 1979 from Notre Dame. Injured after getting hit by Leonard Marshall during the NFC Championship Game in January 1991, Montana missed all of the 1991 season and most of the 1992 season with an elbow injury (he did appear in a Monday Night Football game vs. Detroit Lions at the end of the '92 season and was very effective). However, by this point, teammate Steve Young had replaced him at the starting quarterback position.
Kansas City Chiefs
Montana was then traded to the Kansas City Chiefs in April 1993 and spent his two final seasons with the Chiefs before retiring at the end of the 1994 season. As a Chief, Montana led two come-from-behind wins in the 1993 playoffs and reached the AFC Championship Game where Kansas City lost to the Buffalo Bills. In 1994, Montana's highlights included a classic MNF duel with John Elway and the Denver Broncos at Mile High Stadium with Montana leading Kansas City on a long touchdown drive that finished with his last second game winning touchdown pass) and a final playoff appearance.
NFL records and accomplishments
Montana earned the nicknames "Joe Cool" and "Comeback Kid" due to his ability to rally his teams from late game deficits, including 31 fourth quarter comebacks. "The Catch" (the game-winning TD pass vs. Dallas in the '82 NFC Championship Game) and "The Drive" (the Super Bowl-winning 92-yd. drive vs. the Bengals in Super Bowl XXIII) are staples of NFL highlight films.
For his career with the 49ers, Montana completed 2,929 of 4,600 passes for 35,142 yards with 244 touchdowns and 123 interceptions. He had thirty-five 300 yard passing games. His career totals: 3409 completion on 5391 attempts, 273 touchdowns, 139 interceptions, and 40,551 yards passing. He also rushed for 1,676 yards and 20 touchdowns. His career passer rating was 92.3, 3rd highest of all-time, behind Kurt Warner (still active) and his 49er successor Steve Young.
Montana holds post-season records for most career touchdown passes (45), and passing yards (5772) among others. In his four Super Bowls, Montana completed 83 of 122 passes, for 1,142 yards and 11 touchdowns with an impressive zero interceptions, earning him a quarterback rating of 127.8. Montana led his team to victory in each game, and is the only player ever to win 3 Super Bowl MVP awards. He played in eight Pro Bowls. His success is a combination of Bill Walsh's highly successful West Coast Offense, a team of superstars, pro-bowlers and future stars, and Montana's uncanny ability to find the open man (often the third or fourth option).
Stats & records
- 5,391 passes attempted
- 3,409 passes completed
- 40,551 passing yards
- 273 passing touchdowns
- 139 passes intercepted
- 38.7 passing attempts per interception
Post-season records and statistics
- 16-7 record in the postseason
- 732 passes attempted
- 463 passes completed
- 5,772 passing yards (250.9 ypg)
- 45 passing touchdowns
- 21 passes intercepted
- 34.8 passing attempts per interception in the post-season
- 8 Pro Bowls
- 3 Super Bowl MVP awards
- 4 Super Bowl victories
- Zero career interceptions thrown during Super Bowl appearances
Critics have largely slighted his comedy appearances, e.g. Saturday Night Live with guest Walter Payton. However his 3½ minute piece on the Late Show with David Letterman in 1996, has been praised as inspired and amusing.
Montana resides in Northern California's Wine Country near Santa Rosa, California with his third wife, the former Jennifer Sharon Wallace (born July 7, 1958), whom he married on February 24, 1985, and their four children, Nathaniel, Nicholas, Alexandra, and Elizabeth. His son played football at Cardinal Newman High School, they have now moved onto De La Salle and his older son will pursue basketball while the younger will perform basketball and football while his daughters have moved on to attend Notre Dame. Montana also owns horses and produces wine under the label Montagia.
In 1999, The Sporting News named its 100 Greatest Football Players. Montana was ranked Number 3, and first among quarterbacks. However, in 2004, when TSN produced another special issue, ranking the 50 Greatest Quarterbacks, Montana ranked Number 2, behind Johnny Unitas, who they'd ranked Number 5 among all players in 1999.
Montana's life off the field has had a little controversy. Montana received criticism for refusing to join other Super Bowl MVPs in a walk of fame before Super Bowl XL. Montana was in Detroit for the Super Bowl week-end, but reports said that he would not participate in the walk unless the NFL paid him thousands of dollars. Montana made a public announcement that he had refused to walk in order to return home for a family member's game. Some of his detractors believe the original story.
|15 year NFL career||192||5391||3409||63.2||40551||7.52||273||139||313||2095||92.3|
|15 year NFL career||192||457||1676||3.7||20||0|
Fumble Recovery Stats
|15 year NFL career||192||53||16||0||-34||0|
- Won the Super Bowl MVP in 1981, 1984 and 1989
- Won the NFL Comeback Player of the Year in 1986
- Won the AP NFL MVP in 1989 and 1990
- Won the AP Offensive Player of the Year in 1989
- Won the Bert Bell MVP Trophy (Maxwell Club) in 1989
- Won the PFWA MVP in 1989
- Won the UPI NFC Offensive Player of the Year in 1989