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Hall Of Fame Quarterback Steve Young
How often does one franchise have a Hall of Fame quarterback, then replace him with another Hall of Fame quarterback? There was no greater pair of quarterbacks over a longer period of time than Joe Montana and Steve Young.
Steve Young came to the 49ers as a brash, somewhat wild player, who often seemed out of control and was known as much for his scrambling as his passing. Initially, Young sat on the sidelines watching Joe Montana and learning the Bill Walsh system.
When Young first got the chance to play, due to a Montana injury, he was often criticized, even by his own offensive lineman. The feeling was that he scrambled too much and the linemen didn't know where he'd be, so it was difficult to provide proper protection.
Following two year stints in the USFL and with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Steve Young joined the 49ers in 1987. His career spanned 13 years in San Francisco and played his last game in 1999.
From 1987-1990, Steve Young played sporadically, relieving Joe Montana when injuries shelved the 49er starter. Due to an arm injury to Montana, Young started the majority of the 1991 season, but he too went down with an injury in the ninth game. Steve Bono played well in his absence and Young would not return until the 15th game, when Bono was injured.
The 49ers missed the playoffs in 1991 for the first time since the 1981 season. Steve Young was the quarterback in 1992, as Joe Montana's injured arm was slow to recover. Young led the Niners to the NFC championship game, a loss to the Dallas Cowboys.
Prior to the start of the 1993 season, Joe Montana was traded and the 49er offense was in Young's capable hands for the next seven years. Young learned how to be an effective pocket passer and also utilized his tremendous running ability more judiciously.
As Steve Young continued to gain more command of the 49er offense, he became an elite quarterback in the league. In the 1994 season, Young guided the 49ers to victory in Super Bowl XXIX, over San Diego. He was named Super Bowl MVP, as he became the first player to lead his team in passing and rushing in a Super Bowl.
Steve Young enjoyed a tremendous career with the 49ers. He started 124 games for San Francisco and compiled a record of 91-33. He was on three Super Bowl championship teams, but two of those were as a back up to Joe Montana. Young's crowning achievement came in that Super Bowl XXIX victory.
As a 49er, Steve Young threw for 29,907 yards, on 2,400 completions in 3,648 attempts, a 65.8% mark. Young's yards per attempt of 8.2 was also extremely high. He threw 221 touchdown passes and had only 86 interceptions.
During his time with the 49ers, Steve Young was also a prolific runner. He ran for 3,581 yards and had 37 rushing touchdowns. As I noted earlier, it was when he actually became a better pocket passer and chose his spots to run, did Young become a superstar.
Steve Young was a seven time Pro Bowl and six time All-Pro selection. He was also the NFL's MVP in both 1992 and 1994.
Steve Young was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2005 and his number 8 is retired by the 49ers.