Joe Montana was born in New Eagle, Pennsylvania, and grew up in Monongahela, 25 miles south of Pittsburgh. There might be something in the water in that area of western Pennsylvania, because that part of the state is known as The Cradle of Quarterbacks. In addition to Montana, Dan Marino, Joe Namath, Jim Kelly, Matt Schaub, Terrell Pryor, Johnny Unitas and Len Dawson all grew up within 50 miles of Pittsburgh.
Montana began playing football when he was eight, with an assist from his father who lied about his age to get him past the age requirement for the league.
After a stellar career at Notre Dame, he was not given too much attention by the pro scouts. He was too small, he did not have a cannon for an arm, and he was too slow to avoid on coming pass rushers. However, there was one coach who saw something the others did not, and that was Bill Walsh of the 49ers. In the 1979 NFL Draft, the 49ers selected Montana in the third round with the 82nd overall pick, thus becoming one of the great draft day steals of all time.
His career did not get off to a promising start as Montana appeared in all 16 regular season games during the 1979 season, but only threw 23 passes. He spent a lot of time with a clipboard as a backup to Steve DeBerg, but finally became a starter midway through the 1980 season. Montana made the most of his opportunity with the first of his great comebacks. On December 7, 1980, San Francisco hosted the New Orleans Saints. The winless Saints took a 35–7 lead at halftime and 35-21 in the fourth quarter. Montana led the Niners to two scores to tie the game and send it into overtime. Ray Wersching ended the game with a field goal to win the game for San Francisco, 38–35. During his 16 seasons in the NFL, Montana led his team to 31 comeback victories, with 26 of those coming as a 49er.
Thanks to Cliff from Flikr.com for this great picture of NFL hall of fame Joe Montana.
Another Montana miracle came two years later when he led the Niners into the NFC Championship game against America’s Team, the Dallas Cowboys. Trailing 27-21 with 4:54 left, Montana led the team 89 yards to a touchdown that began his legacy as the comeback kid. It also put San Francisco into their first Super Bowl, where they beat Cincinnati 26-21.
In his four Super Bowls, Montana completed 83 of 122 passes for 1,142 yards and 11 touchdowns with no interceptions, earning him a passer rating of 127.8. Montana and Terry Bradshaw are the only quarterbacks with four Super Bowl victories and no defeats but has one honor Bradshaw does not, and that is being named Super Bowl MVP three times. He played in eight Pro Bowls, and also holds the record for most passing yards on a Monday night game with 458 against the Los Angeles Rams in 1989.
His record as a starter was 117-47. His number 16 was retired by the 49ers on December 15, 1997 during halftime of the team's game against the Denver Broncos on Monday Night Football. Read more about Joe Montana in Best All-Time Professional Football Quarterback.
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