Joe Montana

With his late-game heroics and steady play in the biggest games, Joe Montana is widely regarded as one of the top quarterbacks in NFL history.

Selected by the San Francisco 49ers in only the third round of the 1979 draft, the relatively unheralded QB went on to a legendary career with the 49ers and Kansas City Chiefs.

Montana had a strange career at Notre Dame. Not always a starter, he won acclaim for his ability to come off the bench and rally the team to victory, most notably in the 1979 Cotton Bowl, when he brought Notre Dame back from a 23-point deficit in the fourth-quarter to win 35-34.

As a pro, Montana became a true student of the game. His season awards include: the NFL’s passing leader (twice), NFC passing leader (five times), all-NFL (three times), all-NFC (five times), and eight Pro Bowls. He was also the three-time MVP of the Super Bowl, which he won four times with the 49ers.

At the time of his retirement, the “Montana Magic” accounted for 40,551 passing yards (despite missing the equivalent of two-plus seasons due to injury), 5,931 attempts and 273 touchdowns, all fourth in NFL history at the time of his retirement. His 3,409 completions rank him third in pro football history, and his career passer rating of 92.3 ranks second.

Montana was elected to the National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame in 1996-97 and to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2000.