Joe Montana was known as “Joe Cool” while he was leading the 49ers to Super Bowls and establishing himself as one of the greatest players in NFL history. Montana kept his composure at times when most would crack, like in Super Bowl XXIII when he commented on John Candy sitting in the stands right before engineering the game-winning drive.
A new story from teammate and four-time Super Bowl champion Jesse Sapolu added to the “Joe Cool” legacy. Sapolu appeared on the DNP-CD Sports Podcast Wednesday and told a tale of Montana’s reaction to a particularly poor performance by the 49ers’ usually stout offensive line.
In a 1989 Week 3 contest, the 49ers allowed eight sacks to the Eagles’ defense, which featured a young Reggie White, and Montana was beat up badly. The line looked so poor that offensive line coach Bobb McKittrick personally apologized to Montana and to the team the next day.
“They came at us because they wanted to prove themselves against the defending champions, but we played for 60 minutes,” Sapolu explained. “Did we get our ass whooped in the first half? Yes we sure did, but we played 60 minutes, we executed for 60 minutes.”
“So after Bobb McKittrick apologized to the team on Monday,” Sapolu said. “And we split up to position meetings, Joe peaked his head inside our room and says, ‘I throw interceptions, shit happens. I trust you guys.’”
“So, you tell me how that makes me feel as an offensive lineman,” Sapolu added. “What would I do for that guy?…And that’s why Joe was so beloved. He was just one of the guys.”
Montana was probably still feeling the consequences of his line’s poor performance, but he took that opportunity to let them know when they were at their low point, that he still believed in them. It’s difficult to imagine many of today’s NFL stars (Cough. Baker Mayfield and Aaron Rodgers. Cough) responding to eight sacks in the same manner.
The interview with Sapolu is available on iTunes, Spotify, and Pandora and also features his thoughts on the 49ers 2-0 start, why Trey Lance didn’t play in Week 2, and if Nick Bosa was held by the Chiefs in the Super Bowl.