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Dwight Clark's hilarious first interaction with Joe Montana

/ by Matt Maiocco
Presented By Toyota
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  • Programming note: Watch "Joe Montana: Cool Under Pressure," a documentary chronicling the life of the legendary 49ers QB, exclusively on Peacock TV.

Joe Montana is best-known as Joe Cool, a quarterback who was calm under pressure and always delivered in the clutch.

But before they became 49ers teammates and best friends, the late Dwight Clark had another name for Montana, as he revealed on "Joe Montana: Cool Under Pressure," a documentary that premieres Thursday on Peacock TV.

Montana had already shown a penchant for leading Notre Dame back from great odds to pull out victories.

And his performance on Nov. 12, 1977, was one from the early days that added to his lore.

This come-from-behind victory came against Clemson, where Clark was watching from the sideline as a seldom-used wide receiver.

In front of a record crowd at Memorial Stadium with two top-15 teams battling, Clemson led 17-7 in the second half and appeared to be in good position to pull off the upset on their home turf.

But . . . 

“That bitch comes back and beats us,” said Clark, flashing his colorful sense of humor to describe Montana in the documentary.

Montana engineered two scoring drives that he capped with 1-yard quarterback sneaks in the Irish’s 21-17 victory. Notre Dame went on to finish with an 11-1 record and a national championship.

Four years later, Montana teamed up with Clark to produce one of the signature plays in NFL history, known simply, as “The Catch.” Montana, a four-time Super Bowl-winner, grew into one of the game’s all-time great quarterbacks under coach Bill Walsh. 

 
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But when Clark first saw his future teammate on the field, he had no knowledge of him.

“That’s kid’s name is Joe Montana? What a great name,” Clark said in the documentary. “I didn’t know anything about him.”

The second time Clark saw Montana was at the counter of a restaurant near the 49ers’ training facility in Redwood City after the 49ers selected both players in the 1979 NFL Draft.

Clark often said that he initially thought Montana was a kicker because of his slight build.

At that point, Clark knew all about Montana — other than what he looked like.

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