On September 5, 2014, the National Football League touched down in Vancouver with their NFL Fantasy Football Charity Dinner and Draft in support of Special Olympics BC. One of the highlights of the event was the opportunity for the generous donors to meet and mingle with legendary NFL quarterback Joe Montana – the four-time Super Bowl champion, three-time Super Bowl MVP and Pro Football Hall-of-Famer.
Prior to the start of the event, the ever-gracious and classy Joe took the time out of his busy schedule to speak chat with Football BC and where he talked about some of his best memories playing football growing up, who he thinks is the favourite to win the Super Bowl this season and even has a message for the BCTF and BC Government encouraging to get students back in school.
Watch the video or read the interview transcript below.
FOOTBALL BC: Welcome to Vancouver! How do you like it so far?
JOE MONTANA: I’ve been here a number of times. It’s a beautiful place. Flying in this morning, it was spectacular.
FBC: Joe, I can ask you a lot of questions about your amazing career in the NFL but our audience here are the kids who are playing minor football across the province. Tell me about what your favourite memories are of playing football growing up.
JM: Well, I hated to run sprints! But, I mean, I think the funny part about it is a lot of the other sports I played – and I can remember bits and pieces – but I remember a lot about my football career from Pop Warner. I can still see guys’ faces that I played with back at that age and high school even more so and the funny things that happened. Some of them are funny now when you look back at them like guys getting some cramps so bad on their thighs one time that they popped up like that and guys were beating on the muscles trying to get them down. It was a lot of great fun on the field and a lot of competition. That’s kind of where you learn the fundamentals of the game. It’s not the easiest thing to do is try and teach fundamentals every day after day after day but that’s how you get better.
FBC: You mention about learning the fundamentals. Obviously a lot of coaches, especially when you’re younger, would have had a big impact on you. Can you talk a little about the work that a lot of these guys put into the game and with a lot of them being volunteers as well?
JM: I think there are a lot of great volunteers. For me, my father, he volunteered. He knew nothing about it. He loved sports but didn’t know about fundamentals so he actually went to books and started reading about it. The nice thing that happened for me is if you can find someone that’s been there, played at that level or played at a level or two above that’s had success that can help teach so you understand and get proper mechanics whether that’s throwing, blocking, catching or tackling. I was fortunate because I had a college All-American that was coaching me in high school so it made things a little bit easier with me to keep with the fundamentals.
FBC: I’ll switch gears a little bit and talk about the NFL. In recent years there’s been an influx of great, young quarterbacks. We’ve seen guys like RG3, Andrew Luck and obviously just down the I-5 from us, Russell Wilson. Is there one guy that reminds you of yourself?
JM: I never try to say somebody reminds me of somebody, not even just myself or “hey he reminds me of this guy or that guy.” I always say it’s great to watch the other guys and maybe if you like the motion or the motion is similar to yours to try and do things like that. But you should always try to be yourself because you know what you do best. You may think you’re Russell Wilson or RG3 and you may not be.
FBC: Who are you picking to win it all?
JM: After watching last night’s game [the Seahawks defeated the Packers 36-16 in their season opener], I think it’s going to be tough for Seattle not to repeat unless something tragic happens to them along the way and they just get off-track. They looked very good last night. I think the other team in the NFC is a little further down the road in San Francisco – they didn’t have a very good pre-season and that’s one of the things that scares me about them that makes me a little leery. If they can get back on track and get a couple of things to get them steering in the right direction again, they’re a very talented team. AFC-wise I think you look at Denver, New England and another scary team that’s defense that has gotten a lot better is San Diego.
FBC: Joe, thanks for taking the time. Is there anything else you want to say to the amateur football family in British Columbia?
JM: Well I’m just hoping that the teachers and the government can get together and get all the kids back in school and that way you guys are going to have a lot of fun playing high school football.