It's Super Bowl week and the San Francisco 49ers are preparing for the game of their lives. On Sunday evening, the team arrived in New Orleans and suddenly, the moment became even more real. One of the most storied franchises in all of sports has an opportunity to bring home a sixth Lombardi Trophy.
And someone who would know a thing or two about that is former 49ers quarterback Joe Montana.
The Hall of Fame and four-time Super Bowl winning passer went on KNBR Monday morning to talk Niners with Brian Murphy.
"I think they're on the way to another Super Bowl. They've been playing with that intensity. When you get to the end of the year things need to fall in place for you. And that seems like that's been taking place. The games don't get any easier going forward," Montana opened with.
Naturally, the conversation moved toward QB position. Montana had some unique insight on the 49ers' midseason situation as well as what he thinks of Colin Kaepernick. I transcribed some of the highlights from the interview.
On the quarterback change:
Of course, I had been in that situation and I missed a lot longer period of time. But after missing just one game, I thought [Alex Smith] would have gotten back in there. And if something started to falter, then [Jim Harbaugh] would have made the change. There's no question now, looking back on it, it's easy to say it was the right move. But at that point in time, you had a guy that was playing pretty well. You can't question what he did at this point. But back then I just thought they should have at least let him lose his job because he got knocked out. And he had been playing pretty well.
On Kaepernick being same age (25) as Montana when he won his first Super Bowl:
It's the chance of a lifetime. You may never go back to a Super Bowl. How many people thought Dan Marino would never go back to another Super Bowl? As well as he was playing. You just have to enjoy it. ‘This is my first one' and hopefully he thinks he's going to win a bunch more. So, you just think about it, put it behind you and move on. It's a part of your path - you don't think about how old you are. I might be one of the youngest guys to not only play, but to win a Super Bowl. I never looked at it that way and I don't think he does. He's just looking at a great opportunity. It doesn't matter how old he is, he's playing well.
On Kaepernick's arm:
Obviously he can throw the ball with the best of them. It's hard to judge with guys in this kind of a system. Because of his running ability, there's a difference in how guys get open. Who's going to let Vernon Davis open as many times as he was? Not just open - wide open. But a lot of that comes from his ability to run the ball, and the defenses fear of him to be able to run the ball. So, you get guys that are going to squeeze open a little more. But that's the style of offense they run. He fits in to what they're doing and he's throwing the ball well. When he's had to throw the ball in tight situations, he's been able to do it on those occasions. You can't question how well he's playing.
You see those style of offenses, you get guys wide open a lot - especially when you've got a guy as talented as Kaepernick is. Because he cannot only throw, but he can flat out run. But you have to respect his ability to run the ball. So you'll sneak guys behind people. Especially when you see the tight ends getting behind the linebackers, those are the kind of guys you want to affect the most. I was surprised they didn't play a little more man-to-man, especially with Vernon [Davis]. You can't let a guy like that get off the ball free.
Montana's perspective was accurate. The fact that Kaepernick is a multidimensional quarterback does affect the way defenses play him. It's difficult to guard his scrambling ability, as well as his powerful arm and pinpoint accuracy. The hesitation by the defense does allow bigger throwing windows.
Montana seemed to have confidence in Kaepernick; in both his physical ability and his mental approach as a player.