AS COOL AS EVER
The Hall of Famer was 4--0 in Super Bowls. His Tide ad during the big game, featuring a Montana-shaped stain, was second in popularity according to USA Today's ad meter.
DAN PATRICK:How emotional did you get watching your former team in the Super Bowl?
JOE MONTANA: It was pretty fun. If they would just get off to a better start....
DP:Why did they start slowly in their last two games?
JM: They hadn't been there before. Guys get a little nervous. Next thing you know, they're trying too hard. They just have to relax a little bit.
DP:Should the Niners have had Colin Kaepernick run more to pressure the defense?
JM: [Running] makes me more nervous than anything. You get a young guy in the game, he's not going to think about protecting himself. You watch [running back] Frank Gore—a couple of times he went for 20 yards or more and tapped himself on the helmet to go out. A quarterback can't do that.
DP:What did you think of Joe Flacco's even-keeled approach?
JM: That's the way he has been all year. That's the way he should be. To get all hyped up and jump around—people would look at him and say, Calm down.
DP:Were you ever nervous during the Super Bowl?
JM: I think you should be nervous. You have to have a little bit of excitement. When people say I'm not nervous, that makes me a little nervous: Maybe I don't care enough.
DP:What did you think of Randy Moss's claim he's the best receiver ever?
JM: He's a great receiver, but he's not up there with Jerry [Rice]. That effort he gave on the ball that was over his head [in the Super Bowl].... I know you're going to get hit, and you know it, but you can't give [a half-hearted] effort like that. [Rice] would have [made a bigger effort].
DP:What's the future of the quarterback position?
JM: I don't think it changes much. You see this pistol stuff getting mixed in. The guys who are playing that right now are pretty special, because they can throw the ball.
DP:Would you have run the read-option?
JM: I don't know. Almost every team you see is doing some version of it. But I'm not a runner like that. If I'm running the read-option, I'm looking for a third option. Is there a throw somewhere in there? The problem we would have had was, Bill [Walsh] didn't like the shotgun. A guy snapped the ball over my head the first time we tried it in a game, and that was the last time.
DP:Do you think the new offenses are a fad?
JM: Once [defensive coaches] put their minds to it, they'll figure something out. I think the best way to defend them is to make the quarterback carry the ball all the time. [That way] you get chances to take shots at him. Then at the end of the game, is he still the same guy he was at the beginning?
DP:What was your fastest 40?
JM: I didn't have a plow behind me, but I was close.
"We run our program with integrity. If there are [violations] out there that people know about, I want to know. If they have something, bring it. But if they're just going to make random accusations that have no basis, you get frustrated."
—HUGH FREEZE, Mississippi coach, responding to skepticism about the Rebels' top 10 recruiting class
Newly elected Pro Football Hall of Famer Warren Sapp wants his likeness to be distinctive. "I asked for a bust that's never been done before: one with braids," Sapp told me. "There are some Afros, some waves, some bald heads. There's not a set of braids." ... Ohio State coach Urban Meyer described the feeling of signing a recruit at the 11th hour. "It's a little bit like winning a game," he said. "When [highly recruited safety] Von Bell said, 'I'm with you, Coach,' you just won." ... NBC NBA analyst Stan Van Gundy said the Lakers shouldn't count on re-signing Dwight Howard. "Dwight already has a lot of money," Van Gundy told me, "[but] he can still make a lot signing somewhere else. That's why the Lakers were not going to trade Pau Gasol. They don't know what Dwight's going to do." ... Rivals.com's Mike Farrell admitted that recruiting analysis isn't an exact science and said he remembers his mistakes well. "If we had known Johnny Manziel was Johnny Manziel," Farrell told me, "we would have made him a six-star. He was a three-star. He was too small. We were wrong."
MICHAEL J. LEBRECHT II/1DEUCE3 PHOTOGRAPHY (PATRICK)
JUAN BOITES/EL UNIVERSAL/ZUMAPRESS.COM (MONTANA)
COURTESY OF RIVALS.COM (FARRELL)
BOB ROSATO (VAN GUNDY)
AL TIELEMANS (MEYER)
MARK CORNELISON/MCT/ABACAUSA.COM (SAPP)