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!

Friday, July 20, 2007

Top Ten All Time - Number 4

Since top ten lists are all the rage these days, the dog days til training camp starts, I thought it was time for one more! Since USA Today is counting down the top 25 players of the last 25 years til camp,(and we will keep you up to date on the Niner notables on that list), I will go one better. Here is number 4 on my list of top ten players of all time, regardless of era or position. And yeah, there might be a 49er or two in here!!

Number 4:

Joe Montana, San Francisco 49ers, 1979-92, Kansas City Chiefs, 1993-94

Montana was drafted in the third round (82nd overall) by the San Francisco 49ers in 1979, and played sparingly his first season behind starter Steve DeBerg. Bill Walsh, when asked by reporters before the 1979 season if Montana would be given a chance to play or contribute, remarked back, "Joe Who?". He became the 49ers starting quarterback late in his second season. Against the New Orleans Saints he led a comeback from a 28-point halftime deficit, to a 38-35 overtime victory. This is the second biggest comeback in NFL history, next to the 32 point comeback by the Buffalo Bills in 1993 vs the Houston Oilers. It was the first of Montana's twenty-six 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 NFL 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. 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 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 three scores in the final ten 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 three touchdowns, outdueling Miami Dolphins quarterback Dan Marino, and leading San Francisco to a 38-16 victory. 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 seven games of the season, helping the then 5-3-1 49ers finish the season at 10-5-1.

Montana regained the starting position and led the 49ers to a 10-6 record and the NFC Western Division 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 two 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 two losses were by a total of only five 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. The 49ers then cruised through the playoffs, and in Super Bowl XXIV, Montana became the first player ever to win Super Bowl MVP honors for a third time, throwing for 297 yards and a then Super Bowl record five 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.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.

Traded to Kansas City in 1993, much excitement was created by Montana's arrival. Although he was injured for part of the 1993 season, he was still able to lead the Chiefs in 2 come-from-behind wins in the 1993 playoffs and reached the AFC Championship Game, where Kansas City lost to the Buffalo Bills. Kansas City has not won a playoff game since 1993. Montana was also selected to his final Pro Bowl at the end of the 1993 season. Montana returned healthy to the Chiefs in 1994, starting all but 2 games. His highlights included a classic duel with John Elway (which Montana won) on Monday Night Football and a memorable game in week 2 when Montana played against his old team, the 49ers and their new quarterback, Steve Young. In a much-anticipated match-up, Montana and the Chiefs prevailed and defeated the 49ers 24-17. Montana led his team to a final playoff appearance in 1994. Montana retired at the end of the 1994 season.

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). Among some female fans he was also known as "Swivel Hips Joe." To his teammates he was simply "Bird Legs" a reference to his skinny legs. Among his career highlights "The Catch" (the game-winning TD pass vs. Dallas in the '82 NFC Championship Game) and a 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 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 (94.4), and Arizona Cardinal Kurt Warner (93.8). Montana holds post-season records for most career touchdown passes (45), and passing yards (5,772) 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 8 Pro Bowls.

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