Joe Montana Opens Up About the 49ers, Bill Walsh and His Tide Super Bowl Ad

Tyson Langland@TysonNFLNFC West Lead WriterFebruary 6, 2013

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - FEBRUARY 04:  Former NFL player Joe Montana attends NFL Honors And Pepsi Rookie Of The Year at Murat Theatre on February 4, 2012 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images for Pepsi)
Mike Coppola/Getty Images

Since Joe Montana's playing days ended back in 1994, he has made commercial appearances for companies like Sketchers and Tivo. Yet none of those ever came close to being as big as Montana's most recent commercial shoot titled, “Miracle Stain.”

Tide's “Miracle Stain” commercial debuted during the Super Bowl and became an instant sensation. According to USA Today’s Ad Meter, the minute-long spot scored as the second-most popular Super Bowl commercial.

It finished behind the eventual winner by only one one-hundredth of a point. Regardless of its finish, the storyline is compelling. A 49ers fan hits the jackpot as he discovers a salsa stain on his Montana jersey that is the spitting image of the four-time Super Bowl champion.

The jersey stain makes the fan a celebrity overnight as people from around the world come to see the stain. San Francisco fans who come to catch a glimpse of the stain call it a Super Bowl miracle, but the jersey owner's wife has other plans.

She is a Ravens fan and uses Tide to wash the miracle stain away. The husband, in desperation, yells “Where’d you go, Joe?!” If you haven't seen the commercial yet, jump below to watch it in its entirety:


Bleacher Report: When Tide came to you and pitched the idea for the commercial, what were your initial thoughts?

Joe Montana: Well, I thought it was different and you know they had done commercials back in, I think it was 2008 or in that area with stains that talk, so it was something that they had success with already. The concept sounded kind of unique because it really gave a plug on both teams and it was a play on superstitions. I thought it would be kind of fun, but it ended up being more than fun, it ended up being kind of good.


B/R: Media outlets described the commercial as “hilarious” and “perfect for the game.” Did you find the commercial to be just as funny as America did?

Montana: Oh yeah, my best judge is my wife and when I first showed it to her she laughed and said, “That’s going to be a good commercial and it’s cute.” So yeah, I was excited to see it when it really ran on TV, other than going and seeing it on my computer, but it looks better on TV. 


B/R: What do you think of the play-calling on the 49ers last red zone series?

Montana: Well you know you try to put the ball in the hands of the guys that got you there. Everybody was talking about Gore coming out, but I think he took himself out after the long run that got them down there, and then they put him back in.

So, he wasn’t out that long and everybody thought they should have been pounding it with Gore, which if you pound it with Gore and he doesn’t get in, then they say why didn’t you throw it? You can’t win as a play caller if it’s not successful and that’s the hard thing.

Plus, those two guys on the outside, Vernon Davis and Crabtree, were both having a pretty good game as well. You know as the quarterback you want the ball in your hand.

Should they have given it to Gore? Probably, but at least you know that it was down there and you got to the point where you knew you had to score and get in the end zone. Also, they were a pretty good run defense and I think they were just taking their chances with the guys who had the hot hand at that time.


B/R: In addition to the play-calling, what did you think of no-call on Michael Crabtree?

Montana: Well you know if it’s the 49ers you always think it’s a hold, but I am sure the funny part is you can probably go back to that video and watch and everybody holds down there. It doesn’t matter, but it was just a tough time to have a no-call.

The part I don’t like about those types of penalties is that you know it’s an automatic first down. I’m sure that is in everybody’s mind and that changes the game if you get an automatic first down, so the refs try not to overdo it. He was just trying to make sure he makes the right call and not be a part of the game.

That’s what you always hope for, and they both were wrestling with each other’s hands, so it’s hard to tell what was going on in there. Obviously as a 49er, you wish they would have called it.


B/R: You still follow the NFL very closely; tell us what you think about Ray Lewis and his incredulous career?

Montana: I think it was a great way to go out. There is nothing better than winning the Super Bowl on the way out the door. He’s had a great career playing linebacker and there’s been a lot of great players play there and you know I’m happy for him.

Of course, I would’ve rather had the 49ers win, but I think it was great for him. You know the year they had, front and back everybody has their ups and downs. Succumbing to an injury and being able to finish it out I think for him was probably the ultimate, and I totally understand that.


B/R: Give us your thoughts Colin Kaepernick’s first season as starter and his future as an NFL quarterback.

Montana: Well, he had a great run. I forget how many games he played—eight, nine or 10 or something like that. It will be fun to see him from the start next year; I think he has a good future as long as he stays healthy.

The only issue is with guys that pick it up and run a lot, case and point RG3, it’s just hard to stay healthy in the NFL. As fast as those guys can run, it’s just nothing like a running back, they don’t prepare like a running back. If he can protect himself though, he should be fine. 


B/R: How much easier do quarterbacks have it today with the rules favoring the offense?

Montana: The game is still difficult no matter what you do and no matter what rules have changed. You know when you are not going to get hit; it is a little bit easier to stay in there. If you can stay hanging in there long enough, the receivers are going to get off the ball because you can’t get your hands on them too much on the outside.

A lot of guys are getting free releases and if you go back to the championship game, they just let Vernon Davis off the line. I’m not sure how you do that with a guy making that many catches—after two I figure you go, “OK someone get a helmet on him, grab that jersey if you have too.” So, it’s a little bit easier, but it’s still difficult.


B/R: When playing under Bill Walsh, what were the key points he stressed in QB play?

Montana: We had progressions and things. Walsh would say, “Look, I’m going to make a bad call.” That’s what I don’t see as much from today’s style of offense. Yeah, they are up there making some calls, but usually they are changing a run to a run. If he made a bad call it was his mistake, but in most cases he was going to give you the best chance that you had and all we had to do was execute the play.

He would also say, “Look if this guy is open down the field, I’m going to give you a shot down the field. If it’s first down and the defender doesn’t like it I’m going to give you a couple more up here underneath.” So I made sure I went through my progressions and got the ball out of my hands to one of those guys and we moved onto the next play. His thing was execution and he wanted it done perfectly. 


B/R: How important was balance in the West Coast offense?

Montana: Especially early on, I think where it stemmed from was the fact we really didn’t have a running game, or one that we could put a lot of faith in until later in my years. So Walsh would approach the short passing game as a part of the running game.

He would say, “First down I am going to call a pass: You know if you check down here to the back or the tight end it’s OK because we’ll take four yards.” It is a funny thing how a defense thinks. A defense is thinking, OK if you hand the ball off to a running back and he gets four yards, it’s unacceptable to give up four yards on a first down run.

But when you drop back and pass and you get three or four yards to the tight end, they think they stopped you. Yet in reality, you have the same four yards and it allowed you to keep moving the ball. That helps keep pressure on the defense, and all of a sudden you are on their 20 and they’re going, “How did those guys get here?”


B/R: Who is the greatest player you ever shared the field with?

Montana: Well probably you can’t bring that question up without answering two guys, Ronnie Lott and Jerry Rice.


B/R: Growing up, who was your favorite player? 

Montana: I didn’t really try to model my game after anyone because especially in the area I was growing up in I was watching Bradshaw, and he had a cannon and I didn’t have one of those. I grew up outside of Pittsburgh watching the Steelers go through their Super Bowl runs and I thought Bradshaw was fun to watch, and I was looking at guys like Unitas and Namath. But most of all, you know, Pittsburgh, because it would be great to have your hometown win.


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