Joe Montana's 5 Greatest Drives

Joe Montana was well-known for his ability to remain composed in high-pressure situations. His four Super Bowl rings are a direct result of an astounding 31 career 4th-quarter comeback wins, so in honor of his 58th birthday, we've collected his five greatest drives.

5. 1989: 49ers vs. Eagles

Montana threw four touchdown passes in the 4th quarter to stage an unthinkable 38-28 comeback victory after trailing 21-10 in the 3rd. In the game's final quarter, he went 11/12 for 227 yards passing. A Sports Illustrated column about the game (written by a young Peter King) makes for some fascinating (and nostalgic) reading.

4. 1975: Notre Dame vs. Air Force

Down 30-10 heading into the 4th quarter, Montana led a 21 point rally for the Irish, including one drive that spanned 85 yards in just 4 plays.


3. 1980: Saints at 49ers

This one was only the largest regular-season comeback in NFL history. Down 35-7 at the half to Archie Manning's Saints, Montana propelled the 49ers to a miraculous comeback win in overtime, 38-35. has a great video and article on the game here.

2. 1989: 49ers vs. Bengals in Super Bowl XXXIII

The 49ers had to make up 92 yards in just over 3 minutes to come back and win. Montana found a way to keep the offense moving despite hyperventilating in the middle of the drive.


1. 1981: 49ers vs. Cowboys in the NFC Championship

This drive culminated in the play known simply as "The Catch". Montana found WR Dwight Clark on a 3rd and 3 from the Cowboys' six-yard line, sending the 49ers to their first ever Super Bowl.


"Montana...looking, looking, throwing in the endzone...Clark caught it!!!"


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