Joe Montana headlines QBs with ties to 49ers, Chiefs

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MIAMI (AP) — Soon after the Super Bowl matchup was set, Hall of Famer Joe Montana went to Twitter to send out a picture of his framed jerseys for the Kansas City Chiefs and the San Francisco 49ers.

Joe Cool will be a champion once again.

“You heard from me first. I GUARANTEE my team will win the SUPER BOWL!!” Montana tweeted.

Montana won four Super Bowl titles in 14 years with the 49ers before finishing his career with two seasons on the Chiefs when he made one trip to the AFC championship game.

The path from San Francisco to Kansas City is a well-traveled one for quarterbacks with four other passers besides Montana taking that route as starters. In fact, for 11 of 13 years starting in 1988, a former 49ers quarterback led the Chiefs in passing.

Here’s a look at the QBs who have started for both San Francisco and Kansas City:


DeBerg began his NFL career with the 49ers in 1978 and was Bill Walsh’s first starting quarterback in San Francisco the following year. DeBerg led the NFL in attempts and completions running Walsh’s West Coast offense in 1979 but the Niners still went 2-14. DeBerg was replaced the following year as starter by Montana and Walsh famously described his tenure like this: “He plays just well enough to get you beat.”

DeBerg went on to spend time in Denver and Tampa Bay before joining the Chiefs in 1988. He started 52 games over four seasons and led Kansas City to two playoff berths, beating the Raiders in the wild-card round in 1991.


Montana had his greatest success in San Francisco, helping establish a dynasty that won four Super Bowl titles in the 1980s. But with Steve Young waiting in the wings and an elbow injury that sidelined him for almost the entire 1991-92 seasons, Montana was dealt to Kansas City in 1993.

Montana showed he still had plenty left with the Chiefs, making the Pro Bowl his first year when Kansas City made it all the way to the AFC title game in 1993 for the first time since winning the Super Bowl in 1970. Montana led the Chiefs back to the playoffs the following season before retiring.


Bono spent five years as the backup in San Francisco, serving as the third-stringer behind Montana and Young in 1989-90 and then winning five out of six starts in 1991 when both stars were injured.

The Niners traded Bono to Kansas City in 1994 and he backed up Montana once again his first year before leading the team to 13 wins in his first season as starter the following year. He started one more year before getting cut when the Chiefs turned to another former Niners quarterback.


After three years as Young’s backup in San Francisco, Grbac signed with the Chiefs in 1997 for the chance to be the starter. He started the first nine games that season before getting hurt, but helped Kansas City win the AFC West. Grbac returned for the season finale and then lost the playoff opener at home to Denver.

Grbac split time with Rich Gannon in 1998 before starting his final two seasons with the Chiefs.


Smith was the No. 1 overall pick by San Francisco in 2005 ahead of Aaron Rodgers. He struggled his first six seasons as a pro as the Niners lacked offensive talent and stability as Smith was forced to work with a revolving cast of coordinators that hindered his development. That all changed in 2011 when coach Jim Harbaugh arrived and Smith helped lead the Niners to 13 wins and a trip to the NFC title game that season.

But Smith struggled in that loss to the New York Giants and then lost his starting job the following year to Colin Kaepernick after suffering a concussion. Kaepernick led San Francisco to the Super Bowl and the Niners dealt Smith to Kansas City.

Smith became the starter in coach Andy Reid’s first season and led the Chiefs to the playoffs in four of his five seasons in Kansas City. But he was 1-4 in the playoffs, contributing to the decision to draft Patrick Mahomes in 2017 and then deal Smith to Washington after that season.



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