San Francisco 49ers Hall of Famer Joe Montana sounded a bit bitter and wistful on Saturday, when he told a forum of European NFL fans that the former leaders of the city of San Francisco make a mistake by not figuring out a way to keep the 49ers in San Francisco.
ESPN.com reported that Montana doesn’t understand how the city couldn’t find a way to build a downtown sports hub. The San Francisco Giants have played at AT&T Park in downtown since 2000 and are thriving there, while the Golden State Warriors are committed to moving into a new downtown arena.
The four-time Super Bowl winner and three-time Super Bowl Most Valuable Player said former decision makers in San Francisco “made a terrible effort” to keep the 49ers in San Francisco.
The team is playing its final season at Candlestick Park, where it has played since 1971. Prior to moving to Candlestick, the 49ers played 25 seasons at Kezar Stadium in Golden Gate Park, dating back to the franchise’s inception as part of the All-America Football Conference in 1946.
Beginning next season, of course, the 49ers will play their home games at new Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara.
Montana said he’s excited about the new stadium, though, and said, “it’s not like [the 49ers] went to Oakland.”
In any event, Montana said he’s happy the team is finally getting out of Candlestick, calling it the worst place he ever played because the field was always wet.
He even took a friendly jab at his former backup, Steve Young, when answering a question from a fan at the forum about the relationship between the two iconic quarterbacks.
“You ever had anybody try to take your job?” Montana joked. “It was my job to make sure he stayed behind me.”