The Best Seat In The House For All Your News On The 5 Time World Champion Niners

The Best Seat In The House For All Your News On The 5 Time World Champion Niners
A review and commentary on the history & lastest events surrounding the 17 time NFC Western Division & 5 -Time World Champion San Francisco 49ers. From 1946 and the All America Football Conference to 2009 and the road to a 6th Super Bowl title - For true fans of the scarlet and gold! Enjoy!

Sunday, April 22, 2007

The Biggest Steal. The Best 49er Draft Pick Ever

The number one 49er draft pick is an interesting one because it is a tie. These two players were so connected in so many ways that it would be impossible to choose one over the other. They were not only drafted together, they were connected play after play, and most importantly, on the connection that changed the fortunes of not only a franchise, but an entire city.

Previously: Number 10 - Y.A. Tittle, Number 9 - Ronnie Lott, Number 8 - Terrell Owens, Number 7 - Dave Wilcox, Number 6 - Merton Hanks, Number 5 - Charles Haley, Number 4 - Guy McIntyre, Number 3 - Jerry Rice, Number 2 - Frank Gore

Number 1: Joe Montana & Dwight Clark


Round - 3 - QB - Joe Montana, Notre Dame
Round - 10 - WR - Dwight Clark, Clemson

When Bill Walsh arrived in San Francisco in the spring of 1979, he had the blueprint for an offensive system that was destined for greatness. However, it needed the players to execute it. After a 2-14 season the year previous, 49ers owner Eddie DeBartolo had impowered Walsh to overhaul the club as he saw fit. While Walsh tinkered with additions and subtractions to the team though free agency, it would primarily be the draft that contributed the most to righting the ship.

Walsh traded the teams first two selections, choosing to acquire 5 players from the Seahawks and the Dallas Cowboys. With the first selection that Bill Walsh ever made , he selected quarterback Joe Montana from Notre Dame in the 3rd round. He became the 49ers starting quarterback late in his second season taking over for the incumbent, Steve Deberg. Against the New Orleans Saints he led a comeback from a 28-point halftime deficit, to a 38-35 overtime victory. That feat still stands as the most points ever overcome to win a regular season NFL game. It was the first of Montana's 26 4th-quarter comebacks with the 49ers.

In 1981 Montana led San Francisco to a 13-3 record, the best in the NFL. In one of the most memorable games in 49ers history, he led the 49ers on an 11-play, 89-yard drive, ending with a dramatic touchdown pass to Dwight Clark, which came to be known as "The Catch," for a thrilling 28-27 victory over the Dallas Cowboys in the 1981 NFC Championship game. Two weeks later Montana led the 49ers to a 26-21 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals in Super Bowl XVI. For his efforts, which included scoring the first rushing touchdown by a quarterback in Super Bowl history, he was named the game's MVP, as he completed 14 of 22 passes for 157 yards and a touchdown.

In a 1983 playoff game against the Detroit Lions, Montana drove the 49ers 70 yards in the final 5 minutes, throwing a 14-yard touchdown pass to Freddie Solomon for a 24-23 victory. The following week in the NFC Championship game, Montana led San Francisco to 3 4th quarter scores to erase a 21-0 deficit against the Washington Redskins; however, the 49ers lost 24-21.
In 1984, the 49ers compiled a 15-1 regular season record, fielding what many consider one of the most dominant teams in NFL history. Montana led a 49er offense that scored 475 points, best in the NFC. He threw 28 touchdown passes with only 10 interceptions, and had a quarterback rating of 102.9. Highlights in the season include a 30-27 victory over Detroit, when he drove the team to a last-second field goal, and a 23-17 win over Cincinnati, in which the 49ers erased a 17-7 deficit with 3 scores in the final 10 minutes. This, despite Montana throwing a career-high 4 interceptions.

In Super Bowl XIX , Montana completed 24 of 35 passes for a Super Bowl record 331 yards and 3 touchdowns, outdueling Miami Dolphins quarterback Dan Marino, and leading San Francisco to a 38-16 victory. He also rushed for 59 yards and a touchdown, the most rushing yards ever by a quarterback in a Super Bowl at the time. The 49er's success during the regular season continued over the next 3 years, but each time, they were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs, and Montana failed to throw a single touchdown in all 3 postseason games.

He suffered an injury in the 1986 season that forced him to undergo major back surgery, after doctors discovered a ruptured disk as well as a congenital narrowing of the spinal cavity. Montana would return for the last 7 games of the season, helping the then 5-3-1 49ers finish the season at 10-5-1, although it was the only season of his career in which he threw more interceptions (9) than touchdowns (8). The rocky year for Montana would have a unceremonious ending, when he was tackled by Jim Burt in the 2nd quarter of the loss in the playoffs to the New York Giants, 49-3. Montana suffered a concussion due to the hit and missed the rest of the game.

However, he recovered in 1987, throwing for 3,054 yards and a career-high 31 touchdown passes, with only 13 interceptions. However, their 13-2 record was marred by the 36-24 upset loss they suffered in the Divisional Round of the playoffs versus the Minnesota Vikings, where after suffering another vicious hit and appearing shaky, Montana was replaced with Steve Young midway through the game.

In 1988, Montana struggled with various injuries that resulted in several missed starts. He was also involved in a much-publicized battle for the quarterback starting position against Young. After a devastating home loss to the Los Angeles Raiders that left the 49ers with a 6-5 record, the 49ers were in danger of missing the playoffs. Montana regained the starting position, and led the 49ers to a 10-6 record and the NFC Western Division title. The 49ers then faced the Minnesota Vikings in the NFC Divisional Playoffs. Montana threw 3 first-half touchdowns as the 49ers won 34-9. In the NFC Championship game in Chicago, Montana played through bitter, freezing temperatures to throw for 288 yards and 3 touchdowns in San Francisco's surprisingly easy 28-3 win over the favored Chicago Bears. Then in Super Bowl XXIII, Montana had one of the best performances of his career. He completed 23 of 36 passes for a Super Bowl record 357 yards and 2 touchdowns. Despite his great performance, the 49ers found themselves trailing the Cincinnati Bengals 16-13 with only 3:10 left in the game and the ball on their own 8-yard line. But Montana calmly drove them down the field, completing 8 of 9 passes for 87 yards and throwing the game-winning touchdown pass to John Taylor with only 34 seconds left.

1989 proved to be one of the best for Montana and the 49ers. The team finished the season with an NFL-best 14-2 record, and their 2 losses were by a total of only 5 points. Montana threw for 3,521 yards and 26 touchdowns, with only 8 interceptions, giving him what was then the highest single-season quarterback rating in NFL history, a mark subsequently broken by his 49er teammate Steve Young in 1994. He also rushed for 227 yards and 3 touchdowns on the ground, and earned the NFL Most Valuable Player Award. In a memorable comeback win in week 4 against the Philadelphia Eagles, Montana threw 4 touchdown passes in the 4th quarter despite the relentless pass rush from the Eagles defense. He finished with 425 yards passing and 5 touchdown passes in the victory. The 49ers then cruised through the playoffs, easily crushing the Minnesota Vikings 41-13 and the Los Angeles Rams 30-3. Montana threw for a total of 503 yards and 6 touchdowns in both games, without a single interception. Then in Super Bowl XXIV, Montana became the first player ever to win Super Bowl MVP honors for a 3rd time, throwing for 297 yards and a then Super Bowl record 5 touchdowns, while also rushing for 15 yards as the 49ers defeated the Denver Broncos 55-10, the most lopsided score in Super Bowl history.

In 1990, Montana once again led the 49ers to the best record (14-2) in the NFL. He was named by Sports Illustrated as their Sportsman of the Year, and earned a second consecutive NFL MVP. A highlight from the season was a rematch with the Atlanta Falcons. Intent on blitzing Montana most of the game, Atlanta's porous defense allowed Montana to throw for a career-best 476 yards passing (49ers single-game record) and 6 touchdown passes (49ers single-game record shared with Steve Young.)

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.

Along with his unique ability to stay calm at key moments, Montana earned the nicknames "Joe Cool" and "Comeback Kid" due to his ability to rally his teams from late-game deficits, including 31 4th quarter comebacks. He also earned the nickname "Golden Joe" because he played in California (the Golden State).

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 35 300-yard passing games. His career totals: 3,409 completion on 5,391 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, 4th-highest all-time, behind his 49er successor Steve Young (96.8), Indianapolis Colt Peyton Manning (94.1), and Arizona Cardinal Kurt Warner (93.5).

Montana holds post-season records for most career touchdown passes (45), and passing yards (5,772) among others. In his 4 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 8 Pro Bowls in only 11 full seasons worth of work.

His draft counterpart, Dwight Clark was a Pro Bowl wide receiver from 1979 to 1987. He played his college football at Clemson University before being drafted in the 10th round of that same 1979 entry draft. Clark embarked on a fine career in which he had 506 catches for 6750 yards and 48 touchdowns, along with 50 rushing yards. He led the NFL in receptions(60) during the strike shortened 1982 season, and made the Pro Bowl twice in 1981 and 1982 in his 9 NFL seasons. Before the 49ers saw the phenom that would be Jerry Rice, it was Clark who would be San Francisco's go-to-guy for Montana.

In 1979, Walsh, went to Clemson to check out their promising quarterback. Steve Fuller. While there, he needed a wide out for Fuller to play catch with and discovered Clark. Early on, he made Clark and Montana practice a certain 20 yard roll-out "Hail Mary" into end zone pass at the end of every practice. Walsh wanted to make sure that they could complete that certain pass in the red zone.

On January 10, 1982, "The Catch" happen as we've mentioned when Clark caught that "20 yard Hail Mary" from Montana in the back of the end zone to give the 49ers a 28-27 victory. That play is one of the most famous in the history in the NFL. Clark was a member of two Super Bowl winning clubs. His number 87 has been retired by the 49ers and after retirement, he has served as a team executive for both the San Francisco 49ers and the Cleveland Browns.

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