NEW YORK (AP) — Joe Montana remembers what it was like to start his first Super Bowl.
Montana was in his third season with the San Francisco 49ers when they faced the Cincinnati Bengals in the Pontiac Silverdome. The 60-year-old Hall of Fame quarterback knows the disadvantage players making their first start face in the big game. Atlanta’s Matt Ryan will do that against Tom Brady and the New England Patriots on Feb. 5 in Houston.
“That’s where the game is a little different. Once you get down to the Super Bowl city, and you’re going for the first time, it’s nuts,” Montana said in an interview with The Associated Press. “Everybody that you ever knew in your life comes out of the woodwork looking for something.”
Montana was 14 for 22 for 157 yards and a touchdown in the 49ers’ 26-21 win in 1982.
“Once you get out of the bus or however you get to the stadium that day, and you get into the locker room, it’s just like another game.
“And yes, it’s a little bit more exciting till the game starts. Once the game starts, and you’re still thinking ‘Wow this is the Super Bowl,’ you’re in trouble.”
Montana never had trouble in the Super Bowl, going 4-0 with 11 touchdown passes and no interceptions.
Going into this Super Bowl, Montana is launching a new virtual reality video game, “Montana 17.” It’s an all-passing, 7-on-7 offensive football game with a series of quick-play quarters.
“I don’t think a lot of people knew about 7 on 7, what 7 on 7 really meant, but now all the younger kids have 7 on 7 with passing leagues, whether it’s high school or even younger than that,” Montana said. “We started off trying to do a regular game. Obviously EA (Electronic Arts) is pretty big in that space. We’re looking for spaces to go. This kind of evolved into here.
“With the VR (virtual reality) space coming around and the ability to do in it there and be one of the first movers in there, we thought it was a great opportunity. And especially on the passing side, it just makes it a lot more fun.”
The game is set to launch soon and will initially be available on Samsung Gear VR and then on Google Daydream VR. Gamers will slide their phones into a headset.
And the game has a license from the NFL Players Association to use the likenesses of all current NFL players.
Montana has previous experience with video games, having endorsed games for Sega in the 1990s.
“I’ve always had an interest in it,” he said. “I don’t play at as much because my kids were too good and beat the crap out of me, and I can’t stand losing.”
One of the investors in the game is Patriots owner Robert Kraft. And Kraft’s team is trying to win its fifth Super Bowl, one more than Montana had with the 49ers.
“It’s great to have him (Kraft) involved.” Montana said.
One thing Kraft’s Patriots and Montana’s 49ers had in common was being able to sustain dominance over a long period of time.
“It’s too many people moving around, it’s really difficult,” Montana said of the challenge of keeping winning teams together. “It’s been amazing what they’ve been able to do as an organization to keep that team together, at least a nucleus of guys. And really understand which guys are interchangeable with other players of similar qualities. And that’s what allows you to be able to stay on top.
“If you go back and look at the way (49ers coach) Bill Walsh did it, it was the same thing. There was a nucleus of guys that he knew were the foundation of it and the other guys he moved in and out on occasion.”
These organizations have dealt with different eras in the sport, though, including free agency and a salary cap that make it more difficult now than in the 1980s.
“If somebody wanted to make more money, that was fine. And that’s what happens today. You look at guys that make a couple of plays and the next thing you know they move to another team,” Montana said. “Yeah, they’ll make a lot more money. And that’s the hardest part, trying to figure that out and they’ve (Patriots) done a great job of doing that.”
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