Joe Montana: Italian of the Week

Credit Otto Greule AllSportOn June 11, 1956, Joseph Montana, Jr. was born in New Eagle, Pennsylvania, to Theresa Marie (née Bavuso) and Joseph Montana. His mother’s family came from Sicily and his father’s from Northern Italy. His family’s surname – Montana – is the Americanized version of Montani. He played several sports in high school and was offered a basketball scholarship to North Carolina State University. Joe turned down the offer and instead enrolled at the University of Notre Dame to play football. As their quarterback, the Fighting Irish took home national championships in 1977 and 1979. Later that year, he joined the NFL when he was drafted by the San Francisco 49ers.

Karl MondonJoe played football for a total of 16 season – the first 14 of these were with the 49ers and the last two with the Kansas City Chiefs. By his second season with the 49ers, Joe was their starting quarterback. He led his team to his first Super Bowl win against the Cincinnati Bengals and was named the Most Valuable Player. During his career he was named the Super Bowl MVP three times, played eight Pro Bowls and four Super Bowls, and was ranked in over 70 NFL records. His impressive career earned him recognition from Sports Illustrated (ranked #1 clutch quarterback of all-time), ESPN, The Sporting News, and the NFL Network. He was inducted into the National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame in 1996-1997 and the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2000.

Following his retirement from football, Joe has kept a low profile. Joe and his wife, Jennifer, have four children and both of his sons are following in their father’s footsteps by playing football in high school and college.

Sources: Pro Football Hall of Fame,, National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame

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