Regardless of whether the San Francisco 49ers or Kansas City Chiefs win Super Bowl LIV, Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Montana will have reason to cheer.
On Monday, the four-time Super Bowl champion tweeted a guarantee that “his team” would win this year’s big game.
Montana spent the first 14 years of his NFL career with the Niners, during which time he won four Super Bowls and took them to another two NFC Championship Games. However, he spent the final two seasons of his career with the Kansas City Chiefs after a somewhat acrimonious departure from San Francisco.
Although time heals old wounds, Montana should be pulling for the Chiefs to win their first Super Bowl in 50 years on Feb. 2.
Montana missed the entire 1991 season and all but one game in 1992 because of an elbow injury, which allowed backup quarterback Steve Young to seize the starting gig.
Following the 1992 season, San Francisco allowed Montana to shop himself around for a trade. But while he did so, “the 49ers—in an apparent public-relations ploy—suddenly started an all-out campaign to bring Montana back,” according to Tom Friend of The New York Times.
The Niners “named him their ‘designated’ starter” ahead of Young, but “Montana, believing the 49ers were insincere, turned them down,” Friend reported. Meanwhile, talks repeatedly broke down between San Francisco and Kansas City before the two sides eventually came to terms on an agreement, according to Ira Miller of the Baltimore Sun. Legendary Sports Illustrated scribe Paul Zimmerman wrote in 1993:
The guy who put four Super Bowl trophies in the case was severely jerked around by his team. He got the old switcheroo, the good cop-bad cop treatment. In the end, the Niners got stung, and they lost their man.
Montana and the Niners have since seemingly reconciled. He announced his retirement in San Francisco in 1995, and he still resides there to this day.
However, he still has a clear fondness for Kansas City. He told Sam Farmer of the Los Angeles Times on Monday:
The thing about Kansas City, it doesn’t matter whether they’re winning or losing, that fan base is ridiculous. Over the years, I don’t think that stadium’s ever been empty. Those people there support that team and that organization like none you’ve seen.
Montana guided the Chiefs to the AFC Championship Game in 1993, where they lost to the Buffalo Bills, 30-13. They were down 20-6 heading into halftime, and Montana left the game with a concussion three plays into the third quarter.
That was the Chiefs’ last appearance in the AFC Championship Game until star quarterback Patrick Mahomes guided them there in each of the last two seasons.
The Chiefs haven’t won a Super Bowl since the 1969 season. They haven’t even gotten there since then. Meanwhile, the Niners have won five Super Bowls—four with Montana and one with Young—and returned there in the 2012 season with Colin Kaepernick at the helm.
Montana shouldn’t hold a grudge about how his departure from San Francisco went down. After all, Young won a Super Bowl with the Niners two years later. But his affinity for Kansas City fans should lead him to root for the Chiefs in Super Bowl LIV. As the Philadelphia Eagles, Chicago Cubs, Cleveland Cavaliers and other longtime losers have proved in recent years, there’s no matching the euphoria of a long-awaited title.
Last modified: June 25, 2020 3:41 PM UTC