Breakfast in Vegas with Joe Montana and Joe Burrow

Montana: What Bill did was try to normalize our week. It’s a two-week thing, so in the first part, we’d just kind of practice. In the week when you come down, we had another week of practice, but our normal week of practice wasn’t a normal week of practice for other teams back then. We never wore shoulder pads. We didn’t wear pads in training camp unless we were going to have a scrimmage.

You never hit at all in practice?

Montana: No. Bill would look at our offensive linemen. Those guys never wear sleeves, right? They’d be bruised from Sunday to Sunday! He’d say, “I don’t need you healthy on Wednesday or Thursday, I need you healthy on Sunday. This is what we’re going to do. If I don’t see the effort I think we need, we’ll put the pads back on. It’s up to you.” So, he’d normalize that second week and try to keep things from getting crazy. The family comes in and it’s, I don’t like my room. I want this ticket. I want to go to this restaurant.

How were the nerves for your first Super Bowl?

Montana: Well, they kind of got thrown out real quick. I never did this again. But I never wore a lot of tape for my ankles and stuff. It didn’t take me long to get ready. So I got on the last bus to the Super Bowl. We were half a mile away from the stadium and traffic dead stopped.

Montana celebrates during his first Super Bowl

Wally McNamee/Getty Images

No police escort?

Montana: We did, but the vice president stopped everything because he was coming to the game. We’re sitting there looking at our watch going, We have to be on the field in 20 minutes to warm up! Ever since then, I’d get up in the morning, hit the training table, grab something to eat. Then I’d get in a taxi to go to the stadium. I didn’t care if the game was at night, afternoon, didn’t matter. I just went straight to the stadium. I usually had a Snickers bar at halftime.

You were taking taxis by yourself to the stadium? You never took the team bus?

Montana: Yeah. I’d go mess with the trainers and equipment people. Sometimes I’d do stupid stuff like hide the guys’ shoes.

I imagine you’re not eating Snickers bars at halftime, Joe B.

Burrow: No, I usually get a banana in. But Super Bowl halftime is much longer, so you gotta eat a little more. You need to have a plan for that because usually it’s ten minutes, and it’s 45 for the Super Bowl. You kind of need a meal at halftime.

On that note, being in Vegas, the one thing you can’t get away from is the cigarettes. How many of your teammates were smokers back in the day?

Montana: We had two or three. When we were at training camp they’d go and hide in the broom closet, play dominoes, and smoke cigarettes.

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