Joe Montana was drafted by the 49ers in 1979 and led them to Super Bowl victories in the 1981 and 1984 seasons. In his first six seasons in the league, he established himself as one of the all-time greats, leading the team to multiple comeback victories while putting up incredible numbers.
But in 1986, he was severely injured and missed most of the season. The 49ers traded for the Tampa Bay Buccaneer's starting quarterback, Steve Young.
In 1987, Young appeared in eight games and started three, putting up an impressive 120.8 QB rating and giving the franchise something to think about over the offseason. Montana had been suffering from injuries the past two seasons, and it appeared that Young could be a very good QB.
Montana and Young split time to start in 1988; Montana kept the starting job after Week 12 and then led the team to his third Super Bowl victory. In 1989, Montana had his best season, earning the NFL MVP award while leading the 49ers to a 14-2 record and yet another Super Bowl victory.
In 1990, Montana led the team to another successful season, but in the NFC Championship Game, he suffered a severe elbow injury and went on to miss the entire 1991 and most of the 1992 season.
In 1991, Young was given the starting job, but struggled early. In the ninth game of the season, Young injured his knee and was replaced by Steve Bono, who led the team to five consecutive wins. Bono would likely have kept the job had he not been injured himself.
Young got back the starting job and held onto it for the rest of his career, winning a Super Bowl in 1994 and being inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2005.
Transition Grade: A
Young was a known commodity when Montana was traded, so this wasn't a very hard decision.