The man who led the Red and Gold to their last Super Bowl ring will have his number 8 jersey retired during halftime on October 5 against the New England Patriots. Steve Young will forever be remembered as the man who succeeded Joe Montana successfully by leading the 49ers to ring number five. I remember the NFC Championship game in 1991 when Montana was knocked out of the game and a lefty wearing number 8 with the name Young on his back came into the game. No 49er fan could have imagined what to make of Young and what he could do. The 49ers ended up losing to the Giants 15-13, not exactly giving the 49er fans much to look forward to. The following season Young struggled going 4-4 then hurt his knee as Steve Bono took over and led the 49ers to five straight wins. After Young recovered Bono still remained the starting QB. When it looked as if Bono was the 49ers new man, he went down with an injury and Young took back the starting job which he held until he was forced to retire in 1999 as he suffered his fourth concussion in three years.
Young will forever be overshadowed by Montana because of the four Super Bowl rings Montana won. Young however made his mark leading the 49ers to their fifth ring. Young’s numbers and achievements in his career are impressive. Some of them include:
- Highest Passer Rating, Career – 96.8
- Most Rushing Touchdowns by a QB, Career – 43
- Most TD Passes in one Super Bowl – 6
- Most Passing Titles, Career – 6
- Most Seasons With a Passer Rating Over 100, Career – 6 (1991-94, 1997-98)
- Most Consecutive Games w/300+ Yards Passing – 6 (Young was the first QB to do this in 1998
- Most Consecutive Passing Titles – 4 (1991-94)
- One of only 4 QB’s to lead the league in touchdown passes 4 times
- Most Passes Attempted, Playoff Game – 65 vs. Green Bay, 1995
- Most TD Passes, Playoff Game – 6
- First left handed QB elected in the NFL Hall of Fame.
Other than Young winning Super Bowl XXIX, my most memorable moment of his playing days was in the 1998 NFC wild card game against the Packers. Young and the 49ers had lost to Favre and the Packers three straight years in the playoffs, including twice at home. Many 49er Faithful probably remember the play dubbed “The Catch II”. In the closing seconds of the game Young throw a game winning touchdown to Terrell Owens as the 49ers finally prevailed against the Packers winning 30-27. Favre’s look on his face was priceless. (I wrote a post about two months ago reminiscing about “The Catch II”. Check it out. There is also a link to the video of the pass.) Grant it the 49ers lost in the NFC Title Game against the Falcons the following week and the 49ers started their tailspin after Young retired the next year, but it is one of the few moments 49er fans have in the last decade that they can be proud. Congrats Mr. Young you deserve it and thank you for your years of service to the San Francisco 49ers and their fans.