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Joe Montana Talks Jerry Rice's Legacy

Posted Jan 29, 2014

Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Montana detailed how Jerry Rice became the greatest wide receiver in pro football history.

Jerry Rice will be the latest subject of NFL Films' "A Football Life" series.

The documentary show will cover the career of the San Francisco 49ers Hall of Fame receiver on Wednesday night. Get your DVR ready, the show begins at 6 p.m. PT.

Rice's first quarterback was asked about the legendary receiver and what made him become the best in NFL history. Joe Montana, the quarterback, discussed his favorite passing target in an appearance on NFL AM from Super Bowl radio row.

"Jerry Rice was one of those guys who was meticulous about what he did when he ran routes," Montana said. "It made it easier for a quarterback and it made it difficult for a DB. A lot of times he used the same stem for most every route unless there was something Bill (Walsh) added to the stem of the route.

"It all looked the same."

Montana offered a story on Rice that left a mark on the quarterback's experience playing for the Kansas City Chiefs. Montana's offensive coordiantor at the time, Paul Hackett, marveled over the passing chemistry between San Francisco's Hall of Fame passing connection.

"When I went to Kansas City, (Hackett) goes, ‘Come in here, sit down, I want to show you something,'" Montana began. "We go over a play called, ’22 Z-in.’ It was a hook route.

"He goes, ‘This looks like ‘22 Z-in,’ but Jerry is running a post."

Montana remembered the play quite well.

"I said, ‘Yeah, I know.’"

To which Hackett replied, "Did you call that?"

"No," Montana answered.

"But you hit him in stride and the footwork was smooth… How did you know he was going to the post?" the offensive coach asked his new quarterback.

"I didn’t until I saw the end of the route… You could tell where he was going and he just had to put his hand up and he was gone," Montana recalled with a smile.

The chemistry between the two was undeniable. 

"He was just amazing to watch," Montana added.

Rice owns every significant record for a receiver in pro football. He played for 20 seasons, the longest career for a wideout. But even more notable, he has the most receptions (1,549), receiving yards (22,985), 1,000-yard receiving seasons (14), total touchdowns (208) and net yards (23,546) in NFL history.

Rice, the 13-time Pro Bowler and 11-time All-Pro, played in eight conference championships and has three Super Bowl rings.

A football life, indeed.

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