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Team for the Ages — Joe Montana

July 24, 2018

Over the offseason, thousands of fans voted in our Team For the Ages contest to construct the best imaginable 50-man roster from the NFL’s modern era, which began in 1967. The votes have been counted, and we’re unveiling one player each weekday between now and the kickoff of the 2018 NFL season.

Legacy one-liner

One of the best winners ever, Montana led his 49ers and Chiefs teams to a 117-47 record during the regular season, a 16-7 mark in the playoffs and an unimpeachable 4-0 mark in Super Bowls.

They said it

“Winners, I am convinced, imagine their dreams first. They want it with all their heart and expect it to come true. There is, I believe, no other way to live.”

— Montana

Key stat

Montana had seven career three-interception games (two coming in the playoffs) and one four-INT game. For comparison, Tom Brady has had six four-INT games and five with three picks (including postseason).

Did you know?

Montana’s first fourth-quarter comeback came in his fifth career start, in 1980. The then-winless Saints led the 49ers, 35-7, in the second half before Montana rushed for one TD and threw for two more in the shocking 38-35 overtime victory for what was the biggest comeback in league history at that point.

In the fifth-to-last start of his career, Montana engineered his final fourth-quarter comeback in the NFL. It came in 1994 against the Cleveland Browns and head coach Bill Belichick, with the Chiefs winning 20-13 against a good Browns team.

Signature game

Black 59 Razor! Black 59 Razor!

Montana and the 49ers were at the peak of their powers when they completely dismantled the Broncos in Super Bowl XXIV, 55-10. On the 49ers’ first series, Montana called that now-famous audible (you’ve surely heard it on NFL Films) for a max protection, which meant only two receivers running routes. But one was Jerry Rice, who was in the slot running a post — and the Broncos had no shot of stopping it.

Montana hit Rice for three touchdowns that day, all down the middle of the field, and finished with one of the most efficient passing performances in Super Bowl history: 22-of-29, 297 yards, five TD passes. It capped his brilliant 1989 season in which Montana turned in an incredible 70.2 completion percentage, 26-8 TD-INT ratio, 9.1 yards per attempt and a then-record 112.4 passer rating.

Previous “Team for the Ages” player announcements

Tom Brady

Reggie White

Jerry Rice

Walter Payton

Anthony Munoz

Joe Greene

Lawrence Taylor

Ronnie Lott

Deion Sanders

Mike Webster

Tony Gonzalez

Dick Butkus

Barry Sanders

Bruce Smith

John Hannah

Ray Lewis

Randy Moss

Rob Gronkowski

Charles Woodson

Larry Allen

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