Friday Featured Athlete: San Francisco 49ers and NFL Legend Joe Montana
Each Friday, Ultimate Autographs will feature one athlete that is part of the Ultimate Autographs lineup. This week's Friday Featured Athlete is one of the all-time great players in NFL history, Joe Montana.
Joe Montana played his college football at Notre Dame University and due to team policy, could not practice or play with members of the varsity football team. Showing the early makings of his moniker, "The Comeback Kid", he would make an immediate impact as a sophomore by leading Notre Dame to comeback wins against North Carolina and Air Force. Against Air Force, Joe Montana lead an incredible fourth-quarter comeback, bringing Notre Dame back from a 30-10 deficit to win the game, 31-30.
Joe Montana would be forced to redshirt the 1976 season due to a separated shoulder and found himself buried on the team's depth chart entering the 1977 Notre Dame season. However, he'd make his way up to be the team's starter and captured the AP/Coaches National Title.
As incredible as Joe Montana's comebacks and almost-comebacks were, the most legendary part of his Notre Dame career was the "Chicken Soup Game." During the game, Joe Montana's body temperature dipped below 96-degrees and he was forced to the locker room with Notre Dame trailing. The Notre Dame staff gave him intravenous fluids, covered him in blankets and fed him chicken soup. Joe Montana would return to the field late in the third quarter and helped fuel a Notre Dame comeback in the 1979 Cotton Bowl game.
Despite his success at Notre Dame, Joe Montana fell to the third round of the NFL Draft and was selected by the San Francisco 49ers with the No. 82 overall pick. Jack Thompson, Phil Simms and Steve Fuller were all drafted well ahead of Joe Montana.
After spending his rookie season as the team's backup QB, Joe Montana emerged as the San Francisco 49ers' starting QB in 1980. The rest, as they say, is history. As the 49ers QB, Joe Montana helped lead the team to 4 Super Bowls and helped create the 49ers dynasty of the 1980s. He was awarded the Super Bowl MVP in 3 out of the 4 Super Bowls he appeared in, earned 8 Pro Bowl awards and won the NFL MVP Award in consecutive years (1989, 1990).
Among Joe Montana's legendary 49ers moments are "The Catch" with Dwight Clark, his masterful performance against the Chicago Bears inside frigid Soldier Field in 1988, a 55-10 drubbing of the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XXIV and his numerous comeback victories.
He would end his career with the Kansas City Chiefs, helping the team win their division for the first time in 22 years and lead the Kansas City Chiefs to consecutive playoff appearances.
For his many achievements during his NFL career, Joe Montana was named a member of the NFL 1980s All-Decade Team, NFL 75th Anniversary All-Time Team, saw his jersey retired by the San Francisco 49ers and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2000. He is widely regarded as one of the Top 5 players in NFL history.
Joe Montana has become a staple in the sports memorabilia world following his impressive playing career. Fans can currently get a chance to grab Joe Montana autographed sports memorabilia in our current Gold Mine, Mega Box and Complete NFL Helmet series.