Joe Montana is the NFL icon at quarterback. Sure there are others (one, Peyton Manning, will be working Sunday) but Montana is to the NFL what Jerry West is to the NBA — he’d be the logo, if the NFL had that sort of thing. But these days the 59-year-old Hall-of-Famer can’t do anything without pain, as he revealed to USA Today. He’s got bad knees, bad hands, elbow problems and “three neck fusions” so far, with another imminent. And oh yeah, he can’t see very well: optical nerve damage.
As the NFL battles the idea that it utterly debilitates its players, leaving many brain damaged, Joe Montana will handle the coin toss at Super Bowl 50. (The latest scary NFL revelation is that another Hall of Fame quarterback, Ken Stabler, was posthumously diagnosed with CTE — the brain disease at the center of the movie Concussion, and most of the NFL’s current headaches.) All these retired greats were marvelous athletes in their prime, but even here Montana was surprisingly special. Montana not only threw TDs with aplomb, he could dunk a basketball backwards with two hands. It even made him some money once, as this video explains: