How do I explain a legacy that in many ways was accidental? How do I explain a legacy that may not have happened if not for a coach that was a visionary? How do I explain a legacy that, well, in a short phrase, popped up out of nowhere?
That’s the legacy of perhaps the greatest left-handed quarterback to play in the NFL. His name: Steve Young.
How can you identify this man? With the team he finished his career with. But before we go there, let’s take a look at his football journey.
It started at BYU, then went to the USFL with the Los Angeles Express, and then finally to the NFL with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. It was his stop with the Buccaneers where it seems he was destined for mediocrity.
Enter the visionary: Mr. Bill Walsh. The Godfather of the West Coast Offense.
But wait, the 49ers already had an all-pro MVP Quarterback – his name’s Montana.
Here’s where Walsh saw into the future – and in many ways, so did his successor George Siefert.
We got samples of Young. The 49-yard run against the Vikings in 1988. Various starts from 88-90 in place of an injured legend. While his own legend was being formed. But when would we see the FULL compliment of Steve Young’s abilities?
How about 1991 – after the hit that ended Montana’s 49ers’ career in the NFC Championship game against the Giants, Young was given the keys to this Ferrari of an offense. And boy Young did NOT disappoint. Except for the NFC Title games in 1992 and 1993 when he lost to the Dallas Cowboys.
But then came 1994. Sure Young had won passing titles and an MVP award, but 1994 was the year that put Young on the map. 13-3, another passing title, another NFC West title, and FINALLY the defeat of the hated Dallas Cowboys to earn a trip to Miami for Super Bowl XXIX. Half of his legacy defined.
The other half, was the Super Bowl itself. Not one, not two, not three, but SIX touchdown passes. SIX of them. Three of them to Hall of Famer Jerry Rice. Legacy SEALED!
More passing titles, more yardage titles, and unfortunately more concussions. But his career wrapped up in Canton at the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
One of the most underrated hall of fame careers in football history. And yet some people think Russell Wilson has had a BETTER career than this hall of famer? ARE YOU CRAZY?!?!?!?!
Oh by the way, the Super Bowl record he broke for most passing TDs in a game?
That would be Mr. Montana. Another Hall of Famer. THERE is the legacy of Jon Steven Young.