You Know Joe Montana, but Which Other QBs Played for Both the Chiefs and 49ers?

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Joe Montana

There isn’t an official over/under betting line on the number of references that will be made to Alex Smith on the Super Bowl LIV telecast, but it’s a safe bet his name will come up less often than Joe Montana but more often than Bob Gagliano.

If you just reflexively asked, “Bob who?” you’re not alone. Like Montana, Gagliano is one of the six quarterbacks to have played for both the San Francisco 49ers and Kansas City Chiefs and his name is easily the most obscure, never to be confused for the signal callers this weekend, Patrick Mahomes or Jimmy Garoppolo.

If you lost a bet by not being able to name all six to have quarterbacked both teams, then maybe you can win some of your cash back by knowing that Gagliano was the only one of the bunch to have played for the Chiefs before joining the 49ers.

Joe Montana goes to the head of the class

Joe Montana won four Super Bowls as the heart of the San Francisco 49ers offense, including the dramatic drive to beat the Cincinnati Bengals 20-16 in Super Bowl XXII in Miami, site of this year’s championship game.

His time in San Francisco ended after 13 seasons, the last two plagued by injuries, as the 49ers moved on to Steve Young, who at age 31 had a lot more tread left on his tires.

Montana’s numbers as a Chief weren’t as good as with the 49ers, but he did get Kansas City to the playoffs in both seasons before retiring at the age of 38 with more than 40,000 passing yards and 273 touchdown throws.

Alex Smith served the Chiefs and 49ers well

If Joe Montana was a rock star of a quarterback, Alex Smith garnered all the respect of a xylophone player in punk rock band. That was in part due to his 2-5 record in the postseason and frustration that he didn’t turn out to be Aaron Rodgers, who was taken 23 places behind Smith in the first round of the 2005 draft.

But Smith was above .500 in his final two regular seasons in San Francisco after enduring a revolving door of offensive coordinators and then all five years in Kansas City, throwing 132 touchdown passes and just 43 interceptions.

Still, he was tagged with the label of “reliable game manager” and made expendable after the 2017 season because the Chiefs had determined that Patrick Mahomes was their signal caller of the future.

The rest of the Chiefs and 49ers QBs

Considering that Patrick Mahomes and Jimmy Garoppolo each already own more playoff victories for the Chiefs and Niners than Steve DeBerg, Steve Bono, Elvis Grbac, and Bob Gagliano combined, the rest of the names on the list of two-team QBs scarcely registers with the average fan.

DeBerg, Bono, and Grbac each played a combined seven seasons for the two franchises.

DeBerg had the longest career overall but was the very definition of journeyman, winning 31 of 52 appearances during four seasons with the Chiefs beginning in 1988, but only a quarter of his starts with five other franchises and finishing with a modest career quarterback rating of 81.0.

And Gagliano? In two years with Kansas City and one with San Francisco, Gagliano’s only start came for the 49ers.