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The Montana/Young saga of '91-'92

Was wondering if we could have a separate forum for historical 49er threads because I'd like to start a few of them!

Anyways, I wanted to know first hand from San Francisco Bay Area people what was really going on those two years that Montana was out. Never got good stuff on the national level for this story, and I'm sure there's a lot of good insider info here on what took place.

All the Manning/Luck talk got me thinking about it, and even the analysts point out Montana being traded as a precedent for ANYBODY being traded.

BTW, I watched the Montana/Lions MNF game.........and always wondered if he had what it took to pull out a Miracle at the Stick against the Cowboys in the NFC Championship Game.

A loss is a loss, and it would have been his last game anyways. Imagine if he pulled it off???

LOL, We'd still be talking about it to this day. :)

ps - Did appreciate one of our losses in the '94 season to be against Joe. I think most 49er fans would agree that it was fitting.
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Originally posted by JTsBiggestFan:
Was wondering if we could have a separate forum for historical 49er threads because I'd like to start a few of them!

Anyways, I wanted to know first hand from San Francisco Bay Area people what was really going on those two years that Montana was out. Never got good stuff on the national level for this story, and I'm sure there's a lot of good insider info here on what took place.

All the Manning/Luck talk got me thinking about it, and even the analysts point out Montana being traded as a precedent for ANYBODY being traded.

BTW, I watched the Montana/Lions MNF game.........and always wondered if he had what it took to pull out a Miracle at the Stick against the Cowboys in the NFC Championship Game.

A loss is a loss, and it would have been his last game anyways. Imagine if he pulled it off???

LOL, We'd still be talking about it to this day. :)

ps - Did appreciate one of our losses in the '94 season to be against Joe. I think most 49er fans would agree that it was fitting.

That might actually work.
I will pass the request on to the powers that be.
I was a kid back then, but Montana had some health issues, I believe it was back problems, and/or something with his throwing elbow.

When Steve Young came in for Montana, he always played very well. Some coaches we played against were quoted saying that they hoped Montana would not get hurt, because then they would have to face Steve Young.
The thing is, Steve Young wanted to play, and Montana was always a risk for injury. Steve Young was also the younger player. So we traded Montana rather than have a quarterback controversy. Both players were tired of answering questions about each other to the media.
It was also creating a divide in the locker room to some extent. We had to decide on one quarterback, they were getting in each others way. Like I said, we went with the younger, less injury prone player, which was a sensible decision. The only problem with it, was the fact that even back then, Montana was such a huge legend that letting him play for another team seemed almost unfathomable.

But I think going with the younger player was the correct call, given the circumstances.
I remember seeing clips of Joe with a jacket over his pads on the sidelines during the 92 Championship game. In that game we didn't get enough touches. For me it sticks out as one of the more painful defeats.
I remember a reporter asking montana when he would be ready to return. He stated, "last week", meaning the niners were intentionally keeping him off the field. He was not happy.
Charles Haley during the '92 NFCCG @ Niners:

"first they get rid of ronnie, then they leave joe on the sidelines....here cowboys (shows super bow rings) how bad do you want it?"
Joe has always stated that his biggest disappointment was not being able to compete with Young for the starting job once he was healthy. My memories of that time will always be that we were the luckiest team in the NFL to have Young following the greatest QB of all time. Maybe luck isn't a good word because we had Bill Walsh
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Originally posted by JTsBiggestFan:
Was wondering if we could have a separate forum for historical 49er threads because I'd like to start a few of them!

Anyways, I wanted to know first hand from San Francisco Bay Area people what was really going on those two years that Montana was out. Never got good stuff on the national level for this story, and I'm sure there's a lot of good insider info here on what took place.

All the Manning/Luck talk got me thinking about it, and even the analysts point out Montana being traded as a precedent for ANYBODY being traded.

BTW, I watched the Montana/Lions MNF game.........and always wondered if he had what it took to pull out a Miracle at the Stick against the Cowboys in the NFC Championship Game.

A loss is a loss, and it would have been his last game anyways. Imagine if he pulled it off???

LOL, We'd still be talking about it to this day. :)

ps - Did appreciate one of our losses in the '94 season to be against Joe. I think most 49er fans would agree that it was fitting.

I like this idea.
man I was torn apart during those years.

I was about 10, and I just remember my dad always being a Negative Nancy when it came to my 9ers at the time. He had already gave up on Joe and was telling me "look, Steve can run with the ball"...but I was still holding out hope Joe was fine, even though I like Steve when ever he was on the field. I wanted both of them, but didn't understand how that would be possible...but wanted it either way.

so one thing I remember from that Monday night game against the Lions, there was a few plays when Joe got back on the field for the first time.....well, he ran with the ball like never before....and it was kind of sad, because I remember turning to my dad and telling him "see, Joe can run too". I personally thought Joe ran on those few situations just to show he could do it too. But no, that was it...and he was gone.

then years later when Steve would struggle in the playoffs, here comes father talking s**t about Steve...while I was still holding out hope. So that 94 season meant so much for me as well.
Montana had an elbow injury and missed 1991 and most of 1992. He returned healthy but by then the team had transitioned to Young. Players and fans were very split as Young had mixed results and the majority of fans favored JM coming back. Walsh had retired to Stanford and some never got over Montana's trade (1993) to KC...blamed George.

Montana had back surgery in 1986 and elbow problems in the early 90s so it was logical to see that he was on the down trend. Did pretty darn well at KC though, with less of a team.

Don't think there is much that was not reported but though the team was split they kept a pretty good lid on it...except for Charles Haley!

BrianGo--Young had some really bad plays, head scratching kind, and that's why many wanted Montana back. Young also had an injury and JM filled in and played very well...then was traded in the offseason. I was really mad about the trade but Young had been patient so deserved a shot.

Young made some plays that made Alex Smith's bone head plays look like elite QB stuff! LOL!
[ Edited by dtg_9er on Jan 7, 2012 at 10:14 AM ]
Originally posted by dtg_9er:
Montana had an elbow injury and missed 1991 and most of 1992. He returned healthy but by then the team had transitioned to Young. Players and fans were very split as Young had mixed results and the majority of fans favored JM coming back. Walsh had retired to Stanford and some never got over Montana's trade (1993) to KC...blamed George.

Montana had back surgery in 1986 and elbow problems in the early 90s so it was logical to see that he was on the down trend. Did pretty darn well at KC though, with less of a team.

Don't think there is much that was not reported but though the team was split they kept a pretty good lid on it...except for Charles Haley!

BrianGo--Young had some really bad plays, head scratching kind, and that's why many wanted Montana back. Young also had an injury and JM filled in and played very well...then was traded in the offseason. I was really mad about the trade but Young had been patient so deserved a shot.

Young made some plays that made Alex Smith's bone head plays look like elite QB stuff! LOL!

KC was actually pretty good back then. I wasn't surprised when they beat us with Joe.
The 10-Year Saga / Timeline (IIRC):

1986 - Montana misses a bunch of games due to back surgery, fueling speculation on whether his career done. Backup Jeff Kemp fills in nicely, but Montana makes heroic comeback (ala Jerry Rice in 1997). In the playoffs, the 49ers are blown out by the NY Giants and Montana is knocked out into the Meadowlands turf by Jim Burt.

1987 - Bill Walsh trades with the TB Bucs to land Steve Young as a backup to Joe. Steve replaces & outperforms Joe late in the NFC Divisional loss to the Vikings, leading to a mini QB controversy that festers in the '88 offseason

1988 - Joe vs Steve debate continues in early part of the season, while the Niners struggle to maintain .500 record. Joe eventually solidifies his starting QB role with a record-breaking renaissance spanning mid-'88 season to end of 1990.

1989-90 - The Joe Montana-led 49ers win a record 18-consecutive ROAD victories on their way to two more Super Bowl titles. They seemingly are destined to appear in and likely win a third consecutive Super Bowl until.....

1991 - Leonard Marshall of the New York Giants knocks out and injures Joe Montana late in the 3rd quarter of the 1990 NFC Championship. Later in the game, due to not wanting to put too much pressure on Young and to run out the clock, the 49ers elect to try and pound the ball, but this backfires when Roger Craig fumbles. Giants kick a FG as time and the "Threepeat" dream with it expire.

1991 - Joe, seemingly recovered from his injuries suffered in January, feels a twinge in his elbow during warmups to a preseason game against Seattle. He eventually has further surgery and is shelved for the 1991 season. Steve Young and Steve Bono lead the 49ers to an erratic, 10-6 season but the team misses the playoffs for the first time since 1982.

1992 - Montana still in recovery and inactive for the early part of the '92 season, then gradually goes to the backup QB role. Steve Young has by now solidified his status as the starting QB, on his way to his 2nd passing title, but as yet still hasn't won over the split fanbase. Montana plays his last action in a 49ers uniform in the season finale vs. the Lions, then watches from the sidelines the entire postseason as the 49ers eventually lose to the Cowboys in the NFC Championship.

1993 - Joe Montana is traded to the Kansas City Chiefs. Steve Young leads the 49ers to another NFC Championship but again loses to Dallas.

1994 - Only ever showdown between Montana-led Chiefs and Young-led 49ers occurs in week 2. Chiefs win the game 24-17, but Steve Young and the 49ers end up having the better season on their way to their 5th Super Bowl title. Steve Young seemingly finally has won over the majority of 49er fans during this season with his performance. Joe Montana plays his last ever NFL game in a wild-card playoff loss to Miami on the last day of 1994.

1995 - Steve Young has a record-breaking Super Bowl performance with 6 TD passes and is named both Super Bowl and NFL MVP. In April, Joe Montana signs a 1-day contract and officially retires from the NFL.......as a 49er.

*edited for 1986
[ Edited by Dr_Bill_Walsh on Jan 7, 2012 at 6:24 PM ]
Awesome work thanks for that summary Dr Bill Walsh.
Originally posted by Leathaface:
Awesome work thanks for that summary Dr Bill Walsh.


Ditto!