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Football fans and enthusiasts in the present day still marvel at the history created by one man who etched his name in the football hall of fame in the ’80s. What did this man do? He led the team of the San Francisco 49ers on to victory in 4 remarkable Super Bowls. In a career that spanned for 16 years this man, who is no other than Joe Montana left a splendorous legacy of fourth-quarter comebacks which made him one of the most successful quarterbacks ever in the history of the National Football League (NFL). During his heydays, he led the 49ers to football dominance with an indomitable prowess in the game.
In 1995 Montana hung his helmet bringing an end to an incredibly successful career, but his exploits in the game still resonate across decades. Do not worry if you are yet to learn of this super footballer, read through and learn of Joe Montana’s exploits, highlights of his career and facts about his personal life.
Joe Montana’s Early Years
Joe Montana was born in New Eagle, Pennsylvania to the family of Joseph Clifford Montana Sr. and Theresa Marie Montana. He was raised in the coal-mining town of Monongahela and as he grew he took interest in sporting—thanks to his father who exposed him to outdoor games. By the time Joe was 8, he joined in playing youth football under the guide of his father.
Joe also took an interest in baseball and equally loved basketball so much. For the latter, he played in a local team his father set up. While in high school (Ringgold High School) Montana played in the school’s football, basketball and baseball teams respectively.
As a basketball player, he won the 1973 WPIAL Class AAA boys’ basketball championship for Ringgold High and was named an all-state player for that game. His skills on the hardwood floor attracted interest from North Carolina State who offered him a basketball scholarship. However, Montana who was still in his senior year turned down the offer.
During his first two years with Ringgold High football team, he served as back up before earning the job of the starting quarterback—a job he did so well until the end of his high school. After his senior year, Parade magazine named him to their All-American team. During his high school career, he completed 12 passes in 22 attempts, scored three passing touchdowns and one rushing touchdown. Joe’s performance drew the attention of college recruiters from Notre Dame who offered a scholarship that he accepted.
By 1975, Joe started playing for Notre Dame, although he did not always start the game, he always turned the tables of the game in favor of his team anytime he got onto the field, making awesome comebacks for his team. An instance was a game against North Carolina where Joe came in when there was 5:11 left to play and North Carolina leading, he turned the game around and Notre Dame won the game. In another game against Air Force Falcons football team of the United States Air Force Academy, there was a similar outcome when Joe came into the game during the fourth quarter. He helped his team to win the game despite their poor start.
These occurrences made Joe Montana’s coach realize that Joe had the ability to perform well under high pressure and he used it in favor of the team. By 1977, Joe was the 3rd QB for Notre Dame team and after turning the tide of a game against Purdue Boilermakers football of Purdue University which he happened to get into “luckily”, he was made the 1st QB. With him as the 1st QB, his team won the remaining 9 games and topped it off by defeating top-ranked Texas Longhorns football team of the University of Texas at Austin in the Cotton Bowl.
The following year, Montana helped Notre Dame win the Pitt Panthers and on 1st January 1979 under the chill and gusts the infamous “Chicken Soup Game” for the Cotton Bowl was played against Houston winning the game with a final touchdown as time elapsed despite the weather condition.
His NFL Career/Achievement
Joe graduated from Notre Dame in 1979 with a degree in business administration and marketing and in the same year, he was drafted into the NFL as a San Francisco 49er 4th QB despite his splendid field performance. However, by midseason, he was made starting QB. During his 16 seasons as the team’s QB, he recorded a total of 26 comeback victories for his team. During his time as the QB, San Francisco won the Dallas Cowboys in the National Football Conference Championship Game, Cincinnati Bengals in Super Bowl XVI, Detroit Lions in the Divisional playoff game,
In 1986, Joe suffered a severe back injury on the spinal disc of his lower back which was so bad that his doctors suggested that he should retire. Joe, however, did not retire, he rather came back and led the 49ers to victory again against the St. Louis Cardinals, that season he threw more interceptions than touchdown passes for the first and only time in his career.
Following the controversy between him and Young for the 49er QB, On April 20, 1993, Joe was traded to Kansas City Chiefs where he signed a $10 million contract for 3 years. Kansas City was so excited to have him on their team and he did not fail them, he led them to two comeback wins in the 1993 playoffs. In 1994, Montana led Kansas City Chiefs against his former team, the 49er led by Young, Joe’s team won, 24–17 in that well-publicized and anticipated game.
In April 1985, Joe Montana announced his retirement, having won 4 Super Bowls. He was the first player to ever win 3 Super Bowl MVP awards and is listed as #4 on The Top 100: NFL’s Greatest Players. In 2000, he was elected to the Pro Bowl Hall of Fame, having been named to the Pro-Bowl a whopping 8 times
Following his retirement, Joe kept his wealth afloat by starting a wine company, Montagna. He also owns a number of horses. His wealth is estimated at $80 million.
Is Joe Montana Married and Does He Have Children?
Joe has been married to actress and model Jennifer Wallace since 1985. the duo met during a shoot for a Schick razor commercial. Jennifer Wallace has since retired from acting and has ventured into jewelry designing, she also runs a fashion outfit known as Jennifer Montana Design.
Before his marriage to Jennifer Wallace, Montana had previously married 2 women. His first marriage was to his high school sweetheart Kim Moses in 1974. They got divorced in 1981. Joe later married Cass Castillo and like the first marriage, it hit the rocks in 1985. He had no children from those marriages.
Joe and Jennifer have 4 kids together—Nathaniel “Nate” Joseph, Nicholas Alexander, Alexandra Whitney, and Elizabeth Jean. Nate and Nick both played college football, they, however, abandoned it to pursue other interests after college.