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JOE MONTANA--THE GREATEST NFL QUARTERBACK

By Edited Jan 31, 2016 0 0

TOP TEN NFL QUARTERBACKS

JOE'S EARLY YEARS


Joseph Clifford Montana  (Joe Montana) was born  in New Eagle, Pennsylvania (Western Pennsylvania) to Joseph Clifford Montana, Sr. and Theresa Marie Bavuso Montana   on June 11, 1956.   Joe grew up in Monongahela, Pennsylvania, (Mon City) a coal mining town about 25 miles south of Pittsburgh.  (Western Pennsylvania is also the birth place of Johnny Unitas-QB-Baltimore Colts, Joe Namath-QB-New York Jets, Dan Marino-QB-Miami Dolphins  and Jim Kelly-QB-Buffalo Bills.  All of these players were great NFL quarterbacks with Johnny Unitas and  "Broadway" Joe Namath being in the top three of any list of top ten NFL quarterbacks.  When Joe Montana was asked what was in the water in Western Pennsylvania that produced such great QB's, he replied-"it's not what's in the water, it's what's in the beer".) 

As a youngster, Joe became interested in sports and started to play youth football at the age of eight years.  (His Dad  enrolled  Joe as a nine year old so Joe could participate in the youth football league.)  Montana Sr. worked with Joe and helped Montana develop his athletic skills in football, basketball and baseball. 

Joe attended Ringgold High school and participated in football, basketball and baseball.  He excelled in basketball  and led Ringgold High School to a State Championship and was named  All State in basketball. During his senior year,  North Carolina State University offered Joe a basketball scholarship with the agreement that he could also play football. 

In high school football,  Montana was a backup quarterback during his freshman and sophomore years.   He won the starting QB job during his junior year.  After his senior year, Montana was named  to the Parade magazine High School All-American team.  Joe Montana was recruited by several colleges to play football for them but  accepted a scholarship from the University of Notre Dame Fighting Irish and head coach Ara Parseghian).  


NOTRE DAME  "FIGHTING IRISH"


In December of 1974,  head coach Ara Parseghian resigned his position from the University of Notre Dame.  Notre Dame then hired Dan Devine to replace Ara Parseghian as head coach of the "Fighting Irish".

At Notre Dame, Joe established a reputation for being able to lead his team  to "come from behind" victories.  He became known as Joe "Cool" for his ability to stay calm under pressure and lead his team to victory.  His most notable achievement as a collegian was leading  the "Fighting Irish" to an 11-1 season and winning  the NCAA national title in 1977 when they defeated the Texas Longhorns 38-10 in the 1978 Cotton Bowl.

In 1978, Montana led the "Fighting Irish" to a 9-3 record and  a berth in the  1979   Cotton Bowl  where they defeated the University of Houston Cougars  35-34.  The 1979 Cotton Bowl  came to be known as the "Chicken Soup" game because  Montana became ill during the game and was given intravenous fluids and chicken soup at half time to strengthen him.  Montana returned to the game in the fourth quarter and led Notre Dame to the winning touchdown with four seconds left in the game.  This game was perhaps Joe "Cool's" greatest comeback victory in his collegiate career at Notre Dame.


SAN FRANCISCO FORTY NINERS


In the 1979 NFL draft, the San Francisco Forty Niners (head coach Bill Walsh) drafted Joe Montana in the third round with the 82nd.  pick.  QB's who were taken ahead of him were:  Jack Thompson of Washington State University (Cincinnati Bengals),  Phil Simms of Morehead State University--Morehead, Ky.  (New York Giants),  and  Steve Fuller of Clemson University (Kansas City Chiefs). 


During the 1979 NFL season, Montana played sparingly, mostly as a backup to starting QB Steve Deberg.


In the 1980 NFL season, Montana became the starting QB for the Forty Niners in the middle of the season.  The Forty Niners finished the season sporting  a record of 6-10 with Montana passing for 1,795 yards, 15 TD's, 9 interceptions and completed 64.5 per cent of his passes.   Joe Montana became firmly entrenched as the Forty Niners starting QB.


Because of his stellar performance in the latter half of the 1980 NFL season, Montana began the 1981 season as the Forty Niners starting QB.  The Forty Niners  finished the season with a 13-3 regular season record and qualified for the NFC playoffs.  They  played the NY Giants in the divisional round and defeated them 38-24 to reach the conference championship against the Dallas Cowboys who were coached by Tom Landry.


THE CATCH


In the 1970's, the Dallas Cowboys had dominated the NFL.  They arrived in Candlestick Park   with a 12-4 record  for the January 10, 1982 NFC championship game against the San Francisco Forty Niners who had compiled a record of 13-3.   The game would prove to be a "landmark" game for both franchises as the loss by the Cowboys would signal the decline of the Dallas Cowboys franchise and the rise of the Forty Niners to ascendancy in the NFL throughout the 1980's. 


During the game, the lead alternated back and forth but late in the fourth quarter, the Cowboys led 27-21.  The Forty Niners took possesion of the football on their own 11 yard line with  4:54  remaining in the game.  Montana then moved the Forty Niners to the Cowboys 6 yard line.  On third down and three, with 58 seconds left in the game, Montana called a pass play (Red Right Tight, Sprint Right Option)   to wide receiver Freddie Solomon who had scored a TD on that same play earlier in the game. 


As the play unfolded,  the Cowboys secondary recognized the play and covered Solomon while the Dallas defensive line collapsed the Forty Niners offensive line and chased Montana to the sideline.  With  Cowboys  defensive end,  Ed "Too Tall" Jones breathing down his neck, Montana pump faked a pass, causing "Too Tall" to  jump in an attempt to block the pass.  Montana then heaved a desperation pass to the back of the end zone which, at the moment, seemed like it would sail out of bounds as it was to high for any Forty Niner wide receiver to catch. 


On the play, wide receivers Freddie Solomon and Dwight Clark were to split out wide to the right side.  Solomon, the primary receiver,  was supposed to go down, then cut to the right side line.  Montana was to roll to the right and look for Freddie Solomon.  Wide receiver Dwight Clark's assignment  was to  run down, cut to the left,  stop, then turn to the right and run along the back side of the end zone towards the sideline.  His goal was to have the Cowboy's secondary lose sight of him as he doubled back to the right sideline.  If Solomon was covered, then Montana would attempt to find Clark.  With the Dallas secondary covering Solomon like a blanket, Montana looked for his secondary receiver on the play--Dwight Clark.    When "Too Tall" jumped in an attempt to block Montana's pass, Montana had to throw the ball too high-- the play appeared to fail but Dwight Clark jumped, extended his hands and caught the ball.  

The TD and extra point gave the Forty Niners the lead 28-27 with 51 seconds left in the game, a lead which they held.  San Francisco won the game 28-27.   The game and pass completion to Clark became Montana's signature game in the NFL. 

 The pass reception by Dwight Clark has become   immortalized  in San Francisco Forty Niners football lore as "The Catch".


SUPER BOWL XVI

San Francisco Forty Niners 26.  Cincinnati Bengals 21.

January 24, 1982.

Pontiac Silver Dome, Pontiac, Michigan

AFC-- Cincinnati Bengals-- Head Coach Forrest Greg.  QB Ken Anderson.

NFC--San Francisco Forty Niners--Head Coach Bill Walsh.  QB Joe Montana.

In Super Bowl XVI, the Forty Niners defeated  Ken Anderson and  the  Cincinnati Bengals 26-21.   Joe Montana was honored as  the "Most Valuable Player". This victory made Montana and Joe Namath  (University of Alabama Crimson Tide   and the New York Jets) the only QB's to win championships at the collegiate level and in the Super Bowl. 


SUPER BOWL  XIX

San Francisco Forty Niners 38.  Miami Dolphins 16.

January 20, 1985.

Stanford Stadium, Stanford, California.

AFC--Miami Dolphins--Head Coach Don Shula.  QB  Dan Marino

NFC--San Francisco Forty Niners--Head Coach Bill Walsh.  QB Joe Montana.

In  Super Bowl XIX,   Montana and the Forty Niners defeated  Dan Marino and the Miami Dolphins  38-16. Montana was named MVP.


SUPER BOWL XXIII

San Francisco Forty Niners 20.  Cincinnati Bengals 16.

January 22, 1989.

Joe Robbie Stadium, Miami, Florida.

AFC--Cincinnati Bengals--Head Coach  Sam Wyche, QB  Boomer Esiason.

NFC--San Francisco Forty Niners--Head Coach Bill Walsh. QB Joe Montana.

Montana and the Forty Niners defeated the Cincinnati Bengals  by a score of 20-13 .   In this game, the Forty Niners  were behind  16-13 in the 4th quarter with 3:20 left in the game.  With the ball  on their 8 yard line,  Joe "Cool"  drove the Forty Niners to the game winning TD, completing  8 of 9 passes with the winning TD being caught by wide receiver John Jefferson.


SUPER BOWL  XXIV

San Francisco Forty Niners 55.  Denver Broncos 10.

January 28, 1990.

Louisiana Super Dome, New Orleans, Louisiana.

AFC--Denver Broncos--Head Coach  Dan Reeves.  QB John Elway.

NFC--San Francisco Forty Niners--Head Coach  George Seifert.  QB Joe Montana.


In Super Bowl XXIV,  Joe Montana and the San Francisco Forty Niners dominated  the Denver Broncos 55-10.  Montana was honored as  the MVP of the game.  Montana became the only player to win Super Bowl MVP  three times.  The final score, to this date, is the most lopsided score in Super Bowl history.


CAREER  HIGHLIGHTS


Montana completed  3,409 of   5,391 passes   for  40,551 yards and 273 TD's with 139 interceptions.  He reached the 100 win mark faster than any QB until Tom Brady (New England Patriots) surpassed his mark.  His record as a starter was 117-47.  Joe "Cool"  is the only player to win three Super Bowl MVP awards. 


Joe Montana is considered by many NFL experts as the greatest QB to ever play the position in the NFL.  






 











 

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