Joseph Clifford Montana, Jr., (born June 11, 1956), nicknamed Joe Cool and Comeback Joe, is a retired American football player whose professional career in the National Football League (NFL) spanned the late 1970s through the mid-1990s. Montana started his NFL career in 1979 with the San Francisco 49ers, where he played quarterback (QB) for the next 14 seasons. He spent the 1993 and 1994 seasons, his final two years in the NFL, with the Kansas City Chiefs. While a member of the 49ers, Montana started four Super Bowl games and the team won all of them. In 2000, Montana was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
In 1989, and again in 1990, the Associated Press named Montana the NFL Most Valuable Player (MVP), and Sports Illustrated magazine named Montana the 1990 "Sportsman of the Year". Four years earlier, in 1986, Montana won the AP NFL Comeback Player of the Year Award. Montana was elected to eight Pro Bowls, as well as being voted 1st team All-Pro by the AP in 1987, 1989, and 1990. Montana had the highest passer rating in the National Football Conference (NFC) five times (1981, 1984, 1985, 1987, and 1989); and, in both 1987 and 1989, Montana had the highest passer rating in the entire NFL.
Noted for his ability to remain calm under pressure, Montana helped his teams to 31 fourth quarter come-from-behind wins. In the closing moments of the 1981 NFC Championship Game and Super Bowl XXIII, Montana threw game-winning touchdown passes. The touchdown at the end of the championship game was so memorable that sports journalists, fans, and many others, refer to the play simply as "The Catch". The touchdown in the closing moments of Super Bowl XXIII came at the end of a 92-yard drive.