Montana


Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin’s Press
(Hardcover)
New York
2015

As long as football is played, Joe Montana will be synonymous with the heart-pounding rally. Seemingly impervious to the pressure of a scoreboard deficit, the quarterback known as Joe Cool brought a steadying calm to every huddle, especially when the situation seemed especially dire. His reputation for miracles began to take root at the University of Notre Dame. In the 1979 Cotton Bowl, he overcame the flu, hypothermia and a 22-point deficit to lead the Fighting Irish to a stunning victory over Houston. This narrative continued in the NFL, as he engineered 31 fourth-quarter comebacks, including victories known in professional football lore as The Catch and The Drive, forever casting his career in a heroic glow.

In MONTANA, acclaimed author Keith Dunnavant sketches the definitive portrait of a man who repeatedly defied the odds, on and off the field.

While leading the San Francisco 49ers to four Super Bowl championships over a nine-year period, establishing a new standard for passing efficiency, and twice earning the league’s Most Valuable Player award, Montana became the signature quarterback of the 1980s and one of the greatest ever to play the game. Overcoming his own limitations, which caused him to be underrated coming out of Notre Dame, he quickly mastered Bill Walsh’s West Coast Offense, and thereby, helped reinvent offensive football.

But it was rarely easy. Like the rallies he so often produced, his life was filled with the sort of tension that made his journey seem routinely dramatic: The father who pushed him. The high school coach who challenged his commitment. The college coach who very nearly squandered him. The back surgery that almost ended his career. The younger athlete who tried to take his job.

Rich an anecdotal detail, insight and context, MONTANA is a powerful story about a man who was defined by his intense competitiveness, and how this intangible helped him become one of the iconic figures in football history.

Praise for MONTANA

“MONTANA is one of the best sports books I’ve ever read. When Keith Dunnavant tackles a project, he nails it to the wall. You will love this definitive account of Joe Montana’s life.”

—Pat Williams, senior Vice President, Orlando Magic and author of Extreme Winning

“Dunnavant builds his portrait through research and dozens of personal interviews with those who have known Montana. Fans will remember Montana’s triumphs in the NFL, but this thoroughly engaging volume also tells the less familiar story of Montana’s early career and his battles with his high-school and college coaches, both of whom were slow to recognize Montana’s talent. That changed in San Francisco, where Montana and coach Bill Walsh were the perfect match. That special relationship is portrayed skillfully in this carefully researched and fluidly written biography. Sure to be of interest in any sports collection.”

Booklist

“One of the best books ever written about football…”

The Daily Beast

“Dunnavant has done it again. I was mesmerized by MONTANA. I don’t know what was more enjoyable---watching Montana play quarterback or reading Dunnavant’s stunning account of his life and times. A truly memorable and magnificent book. A riveting read.”

—Paul Finebaum, ESPN radio host

“The story of Joe Montana has been always been captured in moments frozen in time from “The Catch” to the laser to John Taylor to win Super Bowl XXIII. Because these memories have so long endured, we feel like we know Joe Montana. It turns out we don’t. Until now. In “Montana” Keith Dunnavant paints a multi-dimensional picture of a man who is so much more than “Joe Cool.” Through thorough research and extensive interviews, Dunnavant unlocks the real reason why the underrated kid from Pennsylvania became his generation’s best quarterback and a cultural icon. The reason might surprise you.”

—Tony Barnhart, SEC Network

“Tastefully written and complimenting the true spirit of Joe Montana. A winner and always a champion.”

—Former teammate and believer in the magic of Joe Montana, Daniel “Rudy” Ruettiger

“Joe Montana imagined greatness and made it happen when it mattered most. In his richly detailed biography, Keith Dunnavant shows how football’s best quarterback turned science into art and changed the game forever.”

—Dave Kindred, author of Sound and Fury

“This superbly crafted profile not only explores the heart and soul of one of the game’s greatest players, but Keith Dunnavant’s MONTANA provides locker room access to some of football’s most memorable moments and takes the reader on a journey through a golden era of the NFL.”

—Blair Kerkhoff, The Kansas City Star

“An insightful, engaging biography about the best quarterback of modern times.”

—Tim Wendel, author of Summer of ’68

“Dunnavant emphasizes Montana’s surprising struggles to get on the field at every level as he continually had to convince doubters that he was big enough and committed enough to lead the offense…[in] the first serious biography of the quiet legend. Well written and researched…”

Library Journal

“MONTANA is another spectacular book by Keith Dunnavant…”

—Mike Lindsley, Buffalo talk radio host

“In this biography, the author examines what made Montana, a late bloomer, the perfect field general to direct San Francisco’s innovative ball-control passing attack known as the West Coast offense…”

The Christian Science Monitor

“Details an era and a lot of inside moments and posits Joe Cool as Joe Competitive…”

Sports Illustrated

“Keith Dunnavant, who wrote the definitive biographies of football giants Paul ‘Bear’ Bryant and Bart Starr, takes on Joe Montana, one of the most iconic figures in sports history…”

Parade

“Author Keith Dunnavant, just like in his previous books, really delivers with MONTANA, a portrait of one of the greatest quarterbacks ever. Dunnavant captures the makeup of Joe Montana with an insightful look into the making of Joe Cool. You truly see the fuel behind the passion and drive that made Montana who he was on the field and how we look at him still today. MONTANA is one of my favorite sports books in the last twenty years.”

Johnny ‘Ballpark’ Franks, Nashville talk radio host

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