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Before they took the field against the Denver Broncos, the San Francisco 49ers prepared for the Super Bowl the best way they knew how. Some of them, like Bubba Paris (left), geared up for the trenches. Others, like Joe Montana, thought about their families. Then the 49ers went out and answered the call to glory
Room 5072—Joe Montana's room—Hilton Riverside and Towers, New Orleans, Super Bowl Sunday, 10:15 p.m. Bob Woolf, Montana's agent, puts through a call to another of his clients, Larry Bird. After two rings, Bird picks up the phone and says, "55-10, Joe Montana."
"Wait a minute," says Woolf, laughing. "I'll let you speak to Joe."
Montana, who threw for a Super Bowl-record five touchdowns in the San Francisco 49ers' shellacking of the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XXIV and collected the MVP award, gets on the line. "Hey man, how's the foot doing?" says Montana.
"Looks like you're moving a lot better. Yeah, I know, we're homing in on five championships. One more, man. Hey, I'll be watching you. You, too. Take care."
Montana hangs up and dials the hotel operator—again. He has been trying to get through to room service. This is his party. Downstairs, the official 49er affair is in full swing, but that's not his scene: wall-to-wall backslappers, many of whom wrote him off three years ago, two years ago, last year.
Montana is getting ready for his own people—his uncle and aunt from Monongahela, Pa., friends of relatives—maybe 40, all told. He has put on a white shirt and a tie. On a couch his dad, Joe Sr., is changing his grandson Nathaniel's diaper. Next to him Joe's wife, Jennifer, is pouring '82 Dom Perignon into a water glass and apologizing because room service hasn't brought up champagne glasses yet. Montana finally gets through to room service: eight pizzas, four orders of Cajun wings—wait, better make it six—champagne glasses, like 30 of them.
The TV in the corner is playing a tape of the game. Montana watches his 38-yard touchdown pass to wideout Jerry Rice with 40 seconds left in the first half, the play that made the score 27-3 and essentially put the game away. As running back Roger Craig goes in motion, left to right, Bronco nickelback Mark Haynes switches off Rice and picks up Craig. Rice then bends inside on a post pattern and loses strong safety Dennis Smith, who gets no inside help. Rice is all alone as he crosses the goal line. It's like stealing.