Just like any other kid growing up in the Bay Area in the 1980s, Tom Brady had 49ers fever.
Brady was only 4 years old when the 49ers won their first Super Bowl in the 1981 season. He was 7 when Brady won his second championship, and 11 and 12 when Montana won his third and fourth rings. As so many other kids would, Brady envisioned himself as the next Montana every time he put on his red No. 16 49ers jersey.
"He was the guy," Brady said in a Q&A with ESPN's Jenna Laine. "When you're a kid growing up in the Bay Area in the '80s, that's who you rooted for. My mom, she loved Joe Montana. So that's who I wanted to be for Halloween. I had some cool jerseys. All the kids did.
"I mean, they won Super Bowls. That's what you wore on Super Bowl Sunday."
Brady said his family had four 49ers tickets growing up, and somehow he always convinced his three older sisters to let him go to games. A normal Sunday was Brady, his parents and one of his sisters watching Montana put on a show at Candlestick Park.
Brady now has passed Montana in Super Bowl wins, six to four. He's 2-1 in three games against the 49ers, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback now finds himself in the same conference as his childhood team. But Brady never will forget how he felt every time he wore his Montana jersey growing up as his biggest fan.
"I just loved being in the parking lot, wearing my jersey, playing catch before the game and going to watch the Niners play, and obviously just hoping they won," Brady said.