Greg Aiello, who recently retired, served as the NFL's senior vice president in charge of communications for 29 years. He spent 39 total years in NFL public relations and marketing roles, including time with the Dallas Cowboys.

Aiello was with Dallas in 1979 and shared an interesting draft story during an interview with our friends at the Talk of Fame Network. Apparently, the Cowboys had an opportunity to select a quarterback named Joe Montana out of Notre Dame in the third round of that draft. Not only was the opportunity there, but Montana was at the top of the team's draft board when their selection came around.

Even more interesting is the fact that, according to the draft rules set by Tom Landry and the Cowboys, Montana should have been Dallas's pick with the 76th-overall selection.

Montana went on to be selected by the San Francisco 49ers with the 82nd-overall pick, which was six selections after Dallas picked tight end Doug Cosbie. Montana went on to win four Super Bowls with the 49ers, was a three-time Super Bowl MVP, an eight-time Pro Bowl selection, a three-time First-team All-Pro, and was twice named the league's Most Valuable Player. Dallas' decision worked out well for the 49ers.

Aiello explained why the Cowboys passed on Montana.

"That was my first year in Dallas, 1979," said Aiello. "It was actually my first month on the job. I was a few weeks there in April of 1979. So I'm wide-eyed and in the draft room, and I was a graduate of Note Dame. So I had a particular interest as we got into the third round — and our pick was coming up — in the guy at the top of our board, Joe Montana. I was curious what we were going to do.

"The Cowboys' system devised by Tex Schramm, and Tom Landry, and Gil Brandt specified that the players would be ranked according to who the best players are, regardless of position. Rank the board from one to whatever many they ranked, and whoever ranked at the top of the board when the Cowboys' pick came, that was who we were supposed to take, regardless of position.

"So here we go, we're in the third round and nobody, of course, knew that Joe Montana was going to become one of the all-time greats, Pro Football Hall of Famer, or he would have been already taken before the third round.

"But nevertheless, here we are, here's our pick, and there's Joe Montana's name at the top (of the draft board), and I remember Tom Landry saying, 'Well, we have three quarterbacks better than him right now.' So, in other words, 'Why would we want to take him?'

"And he was talking about Roger Staubach, who was about to go into his final season with the Cowboys. Nobody knew that. He was 37 at that point."

The Cowboys also had quarterbacks Danny White and Glenn Carano, who was Dallas' second-round draft pick in 1977.

"(Landry) took a pass and violated our own system, and took the next guy on the board who happened to be Doug Cosbie, who turned out was a very good pick," Aiello continued. "He was an outstanding tight end."

Landry passed on Montana, Bill Walsh and the 49ers didn't, and less than three years later, San Francisco knocked off the Cowboys in the NFC Championship game on the way to their first Super Bowl.

You can listen to the entire interview with Aiello here.