This is an article from the Aug. 10, 2009 issue
The Hall of Famer will watch his son Nate play QB for Pasadena City College after transferring from Notre Dame for this season
Dan Patrick: I don't know if you saw the clip, but we were just talking about Tiger Woods's caddie breaking wind daring the Buick Open. I'm sure there have been incidents like that in football?
Joe Montana: Unfortunately there are a lot of incidents. We had a line coach [with the 49ers], Bobb McKittrick. He would have a can of Lysol and draw [on the board] with one hand and spray with the other—but not miss a beat.
DP: You're allowed to because you're the quarterback. But if it's a rookie, then it's frowned on in the huddle, right?
JM: Oh, no. It's a common occurrence, unfortunately. And when you put your hand under the center, he thinks it's funny [to break wind] on occasion. The way to get him back: A flick of your finger, and he has a hard time breathing for a while.
DP: What's it like to be a rookie QB in training camp, like Matthew Stafford or Mark Sanchez?
JM: You probably make more mistakes by trying not to make mistakes. That happened to me where I was drafted [in the third round in '79], so I imagine that's got to be magnified [for first-round picks].
DP: What did you make your rookie year with the Niners?
DP: You're almost embarrassed to admit that, aren't you?
JM: I know, it's crazy. If I could run from here to my front door, I'd be trying to come back and take Brett Favre's place.
DP: Take inventory here, Joe. How many concussions? What hurts? Or is it easier to say what doesn't hurt? I mean, you had back surgery, knee surgery—you can't feel your leg sometimes....
JM: The thing that bugs me the most right now is probably my knee. It doesn't hurt as much as when my back acts up, but the problem is that it's constant. I can't really run a lot, or plant and turn and twist. I can't play a lot of golf because it swells up, but other than that.... You know, my elbow, I had surgery....
DP: Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play? Could you help Tim Tebow become a first-round talent as a quarterback?
JM: It's so hard to figure out how these people put together the criteria for being drafted in the first round. There are unanswered questions—he's not under center, he runs the ball more—and you just don't know whether he's going to make that transition [to a drop-back QB]. This may be a generalization, and I'm sure I'll get a lot of crap for it, but you have to get under center, at least a little bit. A lot of guys who haven't done it struggle trying to make those decisions as you drop back. It's different than making that decision from the shotgun.
DP: So you would just have him under center this final year?
JM: That would be great for him if they do.
DP: Is this a make-or-break year for Charlie Weis?
JM: I hope not. Charlie was a classmate of mine and a friend. But it's a pretty important year for him. [Notre Dame] has a schedule that sets up nicely for them to win a lot of games, so everybody says.
DP: The Fighting Irish could be undefeated going into the USC game on Oct. 17.
JM: They could be, but you know how it is when people play a name team: Even when they're not [that] good, they end up being a lot better when they come into your stadium or you show up at theirs.
Like Father ...
Future hall of famer Warren Sapp isn't pushing his nine-year-old son, Warren II, to follow in his footsteps. I asked Sapp what he'd do if his son wanted to go to the University of Miami right now. "I'd have to call [coach] Randy Shannon and say, 'Do not offer my kid a scholarship,'" Sapp said. "Maybe he'll think about going to Harvard or Yale. I got enough trophies and accolades for both of us from this football thing."
After The Sporting News published its list of the top 50 coaches ever, I asked listeners which coach they'd want to play under. Bob Knight, Don Shula and John Wooden were the most popular choices. But there was adamant support for a coach who wasn't on the list: Dan Gable. His Iowa teams won an unprecedented nine straight NCAA wrestling titles from 1978 through '86, and 15 total. It's tough to argue Gable's not one of the best coaches of all time.
Line of the week
Judd Apatow, director of The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Knocked Up and the newly released Funny People, joked with me about how easy it is for him to get films made now that he's had a string of hits: "There's a chance I could slip an awful idea past them at this point. That's a responsibility I take very seriously."
THE FINE PRINT: This is long overdue. President Obama invited Carlos Zambrano and the dugout Gatorade cooler to the White House for beers.
Now Hear This
Listen to the podcasts at danpatrick.com/interviews
1. Dara Torres discusses swimming's suit controversy.
2. Brooklyn Decker checks in from an SI Swimsuit shoot.