He was with the 49ers for 14 seasons and he won four Super Bowls while with them. He is also the first player in the NFL to have been named as the Super Bowl MVP three times.
Montana holds several NFL records, including the one for the most passes without an interruption.
Montana was born Joseph Clifford Montana, Jr. to an Italian-American family. His father was Joseph Sr. and his mother was Theresa Montana. He was born in New Eagle, Pennsylvania and he grew up in a mining town called Monongahela in Pittsburgh.
He first learned football from his father and at 8, Joe was already playing youth football. He also took interest in baseball and basketball.
Basketball and Football High School Career
For high school, he attended Finleyville Junior High and Ringgold High School.
He played football, baseball, and basketball while he was at Ringgold. He did well on the basketball team and helped them win the 1973 WPIAL Class AAA Boys’ Basketball Championship. He was also named an All-State Player.
On the football team, he spent most of his junior and sophomore years as a backup QB. For his junior year, he became the starting quarterback. He was named by Parade Magazine to their All-American team during his senior year.
In 2006, Ringgold renamed their football stadium the “Joe Montana Stadium”.
Montana received several College Offers for both basketball and football.
At one point, he seriously considered attending North Carolina State University because they had promised to allow him to play both basketball and football.
He eventually went with the University of Notre Dame. Joe chose Notre Dame because it was where Terry Hanratty went to school.
Montana did not begin to significantly contribute to the Notre Dame football team until his second year. Notre Dame had a rule that did not allow freshmen to practice with or play in the varsity.
In 1975, under the coaching of Dan Devine, Joe helped the team to several wins. In 1976, he suffered from a separated shoulder and ended up redshirting the year.
He was the third quarterback in reserve during the 1977 season. Devine allowed Montana to play after Rusty Lisch and Gardy Forystek were taken out of the game due to injuries.
Chicken Soup Game
On January 1, 1979, Montana participated in what would become known as “The Chicken Soup Game”.
He was fighting hypothermia in the blustery weather and the University’s medical staff fed him chicken soup, covered him in blankets, and administered warmed intravenous fluids to keep him going.
Despite his performance in College, Joe did not receive a high rating from NFL Scouts.
He was eventually drafted into the NFL during the 1979 NFL Draft by the San Francisco 49ers. He was their 82nd overall pick during the 3rd Round.
He took the position of the fourth quarterback behind Jack Thompson, Phil Simms, and Steve Fuller.
For his Rookie Year with the 49ers, he spent most of the season as the backup behind Steve DeBerg. Midway through the season, he became the starting QB for the team.
A career with the San Francisco 49ers
1981 saw Joe start the season as the starting quarterback. His strong performance and the great lineup contributed to the season becoming one of the strongest in the team’s history.
Joe would go on to lead the 49ers to four Super Bowl wins. They are for Super Bowls XVI, XIX, XXIII, XXIV. Montana was also named as the MVP for Super Bowls XVI, XIX, XXIV.
In addition to that, Joe was also named as the NFL MVP for 1989 and 1990. It was also in 1990 that Sports Illustrated named him the Sportsman of the Year.
Joe was injured during the 1990 Super Bowl. This led to a loss for the team, which dashed their hopes of winning a third consecutive Super Bowl.
The elbow injury he sustained led him to miss the 1991 season and a good part of the 1992 season. In his absence, Steve Young had taken his place as starting quarterback.
In his two-year absence, the 49ers had gotten used to having Steve Young as their starting quarterback and Young did not want to remain on the team if he was going to be the second quarterback to Montana.
This led to a locker room rift and Joe eventually requested a trade. Young would go on to lead the 49ers to another Super Bowl win.
Kansas City Chiefs
There was much anticipation when Montana was traded to Kansas City Chiefs. He performed well as expected, but he also suffered from injuries that kept him from playing for significant periods.
In 1994, he was the starting quarterback for a much-anticipated match between the Chiefs, led by Montana and the 49ers under Young. The Chiefs took victory over the 49ers, 24-17.
Of Kansas City, Montana calls the fans one of the best fan bases in the NFL.
Joe announced his retirement in April 1995. He was replaced as starting quarterback on the Chiefs’ lineup by Steve Bono.
Super Bowl XXX was dedicated to Montana. Super Bowl LIV was nicknamed the “Joe Montana Bowl” since it was between the 49ers and the Chiefs.
- XVI, XIX, XXIII, XXIV - Super Bowlchampion
- XVI, XIX, XXIV - Super Bowl MVP
- 1989, 1990 - NFL Most ValuablePlayer
- 1989 - NFL Offensive Player of theYear
- 1986 - NFL Comeback Player of theYear
- 1987, 1989, 1990 - First-teamAll-Pro
- 1981, 1984 - Second-team All-Pro
- 1981, 1983–1985, 1987, 1989, 1990,1993 - Pro Bowl
- 1982, 1987 - NFL passing touchdownsleader
- 1987, 1989 - NFL passer ratingleader
- 1980, 1981, 1985, 1987, 1989 - NFLcompletion percentage leader
- NFL 1980s All-Decade Team
- NFL 75th Anniversary All-Time Team
- NFL 100th Anniversary All-Time Team
- San Francisco 49ers No. 16 retired
- San Francisco 49ers Hall of Fame
- 1989 - Bert Bell Award
- 1990 - Sports Illustrated Sportsmanof the Year
- 1989, 1990 - AP Athlete of the Year
- 1977 - National champion
Career NFL statistics
Games started: 164
Pass attempts: 5,391
Pass completions: 3,409
Passing yards: 40,551
Passer rating: 92.3