What am I wanted for now, Sheriff?
To take me to the dance, JoeMontana.
Or better yet, to explain what the American Dream means to you, JoeMontana. A guy with a microphone asked JoeMontana that recently and JoeMontana, possibly confusing dream with democracy, repeated the routine shibboleths—"Life, liberty, freedom, is that how it goes?" he said—before adding a new one, "Oh yeah, and going out on Sundays to get beat up." Haw, haw. Elusive rascal, that JoeMontana. Just like on third-and-long. He doesn't want to be trapped. Or even touched. Doesn't want the people to know. Doesn't want anybody to figure out how absolutely delicious his life is. How wonderfully controlled, rich, secure and happy he finally has become. How JoeMontana, a skinny kid from the dreary Pennsylvania coal fields, could turn himself into a California beach layback. How he could outcelebrity his own name—a cute trick pulled off in recent times only by Madonna Louise Veronica Ciccone herself—and come off so...so....
What am I wanted for now, Sheriff?
To explain why you're so lucky, JoeMontana.
Well forget it. Nobody can explain luck anyway. But so what if JoeMontana won the Super Bowl and married the spectacular Schick Sheriff back to back? (With a tiny rotor blade on the way.) Or that he makes a million point one a year and lives in a glorious hillside hacienda, where on a clear day he can see Catalina Island, Malibu, innumerable marinas and maybe the great but late Dan Marino as well? So what if JoeMontana, 29 years old, 6'2", 200 pounds, of Monongahela-by-the-Bay, Pennsylfornia, is the American Dream.
JoeMontana deserves all of this. First he had to juke that name—"Sounds like a gunfighter," said Terry Hanratty, the Notre Dame quarterback of the late '60s, hearing it for the first time. Now as a rule he's merely JoeMontana—ram right through that, one word. Really now, "Joe" is too, too plebeian, and how are you going to call a guy "Montana," which at last look was a state or something?
Remember also that JoeMontana had to spend the first 18 years of his life in the vicinity of Pittsburgh and the next five at Notre Dame—four regulation seasons and one injury-compelled redshirt year. That is enough dues-paying for several lifetimes. Moreover, he has had to scramble out of the pocket of two broken marriages and into daylight from a reputation for a lackadaisical attitude and game-time inconsistency. Not to mention the silliest stigma of all: that an offensive football system "made" him rather than the other way around. Ultimately, however, JoeMontana hit pay dirt.
"JoeMontana's been searching," says his San Francisco 49er teammate Russ Francis. But no more than he has been searched after. Whose life is this, anyway? Was JoeMontana a flashy, womanizing show-off, as manifested by his ladies and his cars? He dated a Norwegian model between marriages; he tooled across high school in a Triumph Spitfire; his current favorite is a red Ferrari. Was JoeMontana a silent, bashful introvert? His wife, the former Schick law woman, Jennifer Wallace, says he is only now getting over being "afraid" of people. A veritable stranger, she had to pinch him in the butt (embarrassing him to a shade of cerise) before he would loosen up enough to complete their commercial.
Was JoeMontana a quaking-in-his-boots novice? In a game at Dallas in 1980, his second season in the pros, he actually tried to hide behind Bill Walsh so the 49er coach wouldn't send him into a terrifying blowout that the Cowboys would win 59-14. Was JoeMontana a macho commander? A little more than a year later he whistled a touchdown pass over the earlobe of Too Tall Jones and yapped "Respect that!" in San Francisco's 28-27 playoff upset of Dallas that created the 49ers' aura and lifted him to stardom.