One of the players that is synonymous with the San Francisco 49ers is the great Joe Montana. The legendary quarterback led the franchise to four Super Bowls and is widely regarded as one of the greatest of all-time at the position.
The Niners’ quarterback situation has been under the microscope all offseason. Starter Jimmy Garoppolo missed 10 games last season, and the team dealt with a myriad of injuries while stumbling to a 6-10 finish.
San Francisco has been linked to virtually every quarterback who has been rumored to be available the past few weeks. Still, Garoppolo remains the most likely option to be under center for Week 1 of the 2021 season.
Montana made an appearance on ESPN’s First Take and was asked about Jimmy G (h/t 49ers Web Zone).
“It’s been tough for him staying healthy throughout the time he’s been with the 49ers. I think that becomes a concern if you can’t keep him on the field. I think it’s a tough decision with the cap money that he has against him.
I don’t know. You just never know. I never knew they were trying to trade me, but they were too. So, you never know what’s going on behind the scenes back there.”
General manager John Lynch has been open about the fact that he would like to add a veteran backup, given the fact that Garoppolo has missed 23 starts over three seasons.
But the results speak for themselves when Jimmy G is healthy. The team is 24-9 in games that Garoppolo starts, a stat that isn’t lost on Montana, who believes this will be a make it or break year for the 29-year-old.
“When he’s in there, they’ve had pretty good success at winning. I think they just try to keep him healthy and see what they can get from there. And if it continues along this way, then I would imagine they would try to make a change because it’s hard to get any type of consistency offensively with moving quarterbacks around in and out. No matter what they say, it’s hard to do.”
The best ability is availability. We saw how the Niners’ offense looks when a quarterback the caliber of Nick Mullens or C.J. Beathard takes over the reins. The 49ers were a juggernaut in the only season Garoppolo didn’t miss a game, going 13-3 and coming within minutes of winning the Super Bowl.
As much as Garoppolo is beloved by teammates, the 2021 campaign will define his time in the Bay Area. If he’s unable to stay healthy or the team fails to get back to the postseason, he will more than likely be gone before the 2022 season.
Montana is revered by The Faithful for all of his accomplishments. San Francisco was the premier franchise in the NFL during his tenure.