With the NFL trade deadline quickly approaching at 4:00 p.m. Eastern time on Tuesday, the Kansas City Chiefs are not widely expected to make another mid-season splash after signing Le’Veon Bell in Week 6.
However, Hall of Famer and ex-Chiefs QB Joe Montana spoke to Heavy ahead of the deadline to discuss the historic trade that sent him from San Francisco to Kansas City nearly 28 years ago, as well as his 2020 Super Bowl prediction and retirement ventures.
Joe Montana on 1993 Trade: ‘I Didn’t Want to Leave San Francisco’
This offseason, Tom Brady reminded football fans that the game is, in fact, a business and that no player, despite their level of talent, fame or success, is safe with one team for the entirety of their career. However, it’s not every day that a face-of-the-franchise quarterback is traded away, but that is exactly what happened to Montana in 1993 when the 49ers elected to hand the keys to now-Hall of Famer Steve Young.
Looking back on the deal that sent him, safety David Whitmore and a 1994 third-round pick to Kansas City in exchange for the No. 18 overall pick in 1993, Montana knew that he could still play the game at a high level despite his injuries.
“I didn’t want to leave San Francisco,” Montana told Heavy.com. “I really wanted to stay here, but I wasn’t going to be afforded the opportunity to at least compete for the job after I’d gotten hurt. I felt that I didn’t want to finish my career sitting on the bench when I knew I could still play. They made a decision to make the switch, so I just made a decision that I needed to go. I was looking forward to it.
“I went to another great organization with Lamar Hunt and the Hunt family. Great team. We had a really, really good defense and a really good offense, offensive line. We made the best of it. We should have won a Super Bowl there, but we made a dumb mistake one year and lost the game — like two or three weeks before the end of the season that cost us home-field advantage.”
When asked if he had any advice for current players who may be dealt to a new team and city without much warning in Week 8, Montana’s advice was simple: embrace the process.
“There’s a new jolt of energy when you get to another team,” said Montana. “The excitement is back, you’re not in the same old locker room, same thing you’ve been going to for years. You just have to approach it — if you really want to play you’ve got to have the right attitude when you get there. I just say if you get traded, hey, embrace it. None of us want to go. I mean, Jerry Rice, he got traded. He didn’t finish in San Francisco and he’s the greatest wide receiver to ever play the game.”
‘Totally Insane’ K.C. Fan Base Left Impression on Joe Montana
After 14 years and four Super Bowl titles in San Francisco, “the Comeback Kid” led the Chiefs to an AFC Championship appearance after the team had suffered two Wild Card losses in the previous three seasons under head coach Marty Schottenheimer. During his 37- and 38-year-old seasons in Kansas City, Montana aided the franchise to a 17-8 regular season record while throwing for 5,427 yards, 29 touchdowns and 16 interceptions.
But no matter which side of the scoreboard the Chiefs fell on during his brief tenure in the Show-Me State, it was the people of Kansas City who left the biggest impression on the NFL legend.
“The fan base is absolutely and totally insane,” Montana joked. “Marty Schottenheimer, he tried to warn me about the first game at home and said when you get out here and when you see, when you hear the national anthem and at the end when they say ‘And the home of the Chiefs’ in the whole stadium, he goes, ‘It’ll give you goosebumps.’ I go, ‘Come on Marty, I’ve played in front of crowds before, what’s the difference?’ Sure enough, it was insane. Win or lose they were behind you. They were always, always positive and it was great. My experience there was great.”
Joe Montana Predicts Another Chiefs Super Bowl Appearance in 2021
Similar to the 1990s Chiefs who posted nine consecutive winning seasons and seven playoff appearances in 10 seasons under Schottenheimer, the present-day Chiefs appear to be approaching their apex in the eighth season under Andy Reid and third under Patrick Mahomes’ leadership. With a 7-1 record through the first half of the 2020 campaign, the defending Super Bowl champions are well on their way to an eighth consecutive winning season, sixth playoff appearance and fifth AFC West title.
Montana, who knows a thing or two about sustained success, foresees yet another deep postseason run for Reid’s club heading into the new year, drawing a potential Super Bowl matchup against Tom Brady, Russell Wilson or Aaron Rodgers.
“I think the Chiefs are going to make it and then I think it ends up being between Tampa and Seattle on who ends up going,” said Montana. “Having to get up there and play in Seattle is tough for anybody. They lost their first game (in Week 7) and I’m sure they want to maintain home-field advantage if they can throughout the playoffs. The way Green Bay has been playing, both Green Bay and Seattle had a little hiccup last week or so, but they’re still playing pretty well. They’re playing at a high level, but so is Tampa. I wouldn’t count Green Bay out, but I think it’ll still be between Tampa and Seattle.”
Should any one of the former Chiefs quarterback’s predictions come to fruition, fans will be in for a quarterback battle for the ages in Super Bowl LV on February 7.
What is ‘Joe Cool’ Up to These Days?
Since officially retiring from the NFL following the 1994 season, the two-time MVP has continued to follow the league and pursue new opportunities in the business world, particularly through seed-stage investing as a managing partner at San Francisco-based Liquid 2 Ventures. According to Montana, the group of four investors, which includes his son, Nathaniel, is getting ready to raise its third fund.
Additionally, the Hall of Famer is also getting more involved with his alma mater, Notre Dame, who recently announced an iconic partnership with Guinness to become the Official Beer of Notre Dame Fighting Irish Alumni and Fans. A natural choice as the face of the campaign, Montana will soon make his debut in new TV spots that celebrate the magic of coming together over a pint to watch a game.
The new spots will begin airing during the highly-anticipated college football matchup between #1 Clemson (7-0) and #4 Notre Dame (6-0) this Saturday, November 7 at 7:30 p.m. Eastern time.