"Joe Cool," quarterback Joseph Clifford Montana (1956-), kept his composure under pressure and played football with relentless precision.
"He's got this resourcefulness, this something that's hard to put into words," said his 49ers coach Bill Walsh. "He won't choke. Or rather, if he ever does, you'll know everyone else came apart first."
Montana grew up in the small mining town of Monongahela, Pennsylvania and attended Notre Dame on an athletic scholarship, working his way up from last-string quarterback and leading the Fighting Irish to the 1977 national collegiate championship.
"I always remembered my dadís advice from when I was growing up," he said. "ĎWhatever you do, Joe, you should want to be the best.í"
Montana joined the 49ers in 1979. With a reputation for error-free accuracy, he was a master at coming from behind to win the game. He rallied 31 fourth-quarter comeback victories.
"Confidence is a very fragile thing," said Number 16, the Montana Magic, the Comeback King. Joe led the San Francisco 49ers to four Super Bowl victories--in 1982, 1985, 1989 and 1990--and was the Most Valuable Player for three of those games.
Perhaps the best NFL quarterback of all time, when he retired on this day in 1995, Montana had the most efficient passing rating and lowest interception percentage in league history.
He said upon his induction into the Football Hall of Fame in 2000, "It is the greatest game that Iíve ever been around. Itíll continue to get better and be the greatest."
More FOOTBALL Quotations
Remain cool and keep your advantage.