Joe Montana Football

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Joe Montana Football

Joe Montana Football boxart.jpg

Cover art
Developer(s) Electronic Arts [1]
Publisher(s) Sega
SeriesJoe Montana Football
Platform(s) Genesis, Master System, MS-DOS


Master System:


Genre(s) American football
Mode(s) Single-player
Multiplayer (1-2 players)

Joe Montana Football is an American football video game developed by Electronic Arts, and published by Sega for the Genesis in 1991. Although the game does feature Joe Montana (as the title respectively says) as a playable character, since Sega did not secure the rights from the NFL, teams are named generically after US cities, meaning Joe Montana is the only real player in the game.

American football Team field sport

American football, referred to as football in the United States and Canada and also known as gridiron, is a team sport played by two teams of eleven players on a rectangular field with goalposts at each end. The offense, which is the team controlling the oval-shaped football, attempts to advance down the field by running with or passing the ball, while the defense, which is the team without control of the ball, aims to stop the offense's advance and aims to take control of the ball for themselves. The offense must advance at least ten yards in four downs, or plays, and otherwise they turn over the football to the defense; if the offense succeeds in advancing ten yards or more, they are given a new set of four downs. Points are primarily scored by advancing the ball into the opposing team's end zone for a touchdown or kicking the ball through the opponent's goalposts for a field goal. The team with the most points at the end of a game wins.

Video game electronic game that involves interaction with a user interface to generate visual feedback on a video device such as a TV screen or computer monitor

A video game is an electronic game that involves interaction with a user interface to generate visual feedback on a two- or three-dimensional video display device such as a TV screen, virtual reality headset or computer monitor. Since the 1980s, video games have become an increasingly important part of the entertainment industry, and whether they are also a form of art is a matter of dispute.

Electronic Arts American interactive entertainment company

Electronic Arts Inc. (EA) is an American video game company headquartered in Redwood City, California. It is the second-largest gaming company in the Americas and Europe by revenue and market capitalization after Activision Blizzard and ahead of Take-Two Interactive and Ubisoft as of March 2018.



Similar to other football games of the time, the gameplay follows a slightly simplified version of standard American Football rules. Players have the option to play as different teams, as well as select number of players. Players also have the option to turn penalties on or off. Players also may play a normal game, a mode with a two-minute drill, and the Sega Bowl mode.


Following the launch of the Genesis in the United States, Sega of America president and CEO Michael Katz planned to create a library of instantly-recognizable titles for the console by contracting with celebrities and athletes to produce games using their names and likenesses. As part of this, Sega signed a US$1.7 million five-year contract with Joe Montana, despite concerns among the Japanese executives that the game would not earn enough to cover this cost. [1]

Joe Montana American football quarterback

Joseph Clifford Montana Jr., nicknamed Joe Cool and The Comeback Kid, is a former American football quarterback who played in the National Football League (NFL) for 16 seasons with the San Francisco 49ers and Kansas City Chiefs. After winning a national championship at Notre Dame, Montana started his NFL career in 1979 with San Francisco, where he played for the next 14 seasons. While a member of the 49ers, Montana started and won four Super Bowls and was the first player ever to have been named Super Bowl Most Valuable Player three times. He also holds Super Bowl career records for most passes without an interception and the all-time highest passer rating of 127.8. In 1993, Montana was traded to the Kansas City Chiefs where he played his final two seasons, and led the franchise to its first AFC Championship Game in January 1994. Montana was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2000, his first year of eligibility.

Since Sega of America did not at the time have a large game production facility and Sega Enterprises had never designed a football game, Sega contracted with Mediagenic to develop the game for November 1989. No one at Sega was aware of the turmoil inside Mediagenic at the time; despite five months of reports that development was proceeding on schedule, Katz discovered in September or October that the game was hardly begun. To have a football game for Christmas release, Sega would have to find an already-completed game that could be converted. [2]

Mediagenic did develop a DOS version of the game (contractor Mindspan) and it was published in 1990 (MobyGames). The opening video clip was the first commercial use of the video playback system (developed at Mediagenic) that would later be used in "The Return to Zork".

<i>Mindspan</i> book by Gordon R. Dickson

Mindspan is a collection of science fiction stories by American writer Gordon R. Dickson. It was first published by Baen Books in 1986. Most of the stories originally appeared in the magazines Fantasy and Science Fiction, Venture, Startling Stories, Galaxy Science Fiction, Analog Science Fiction and Fact and Worlds of Tomorrow.

<i>Return to Zork</i> Graphic adventure videogame

Return to Zork is a 1993 graphic adventure game in the Zork series. It was developed by Activision and was the final Zork game to be published under the Infocom label.

Sega approached Electronic Arts, developer of the Madden NFL series, and president Trip Hawkins agreed to help. Joe Montana Football missed the Christmas deadline and was released in January 1991, shortly after the Genesis version of John Madden Football . [1] [2]

Madden NFL is an American football video game series developed by EA Tiburon for EA Sports. It is named after Pro Football Hall of Fame coach and commentator John Madden, and has sold more than 130 million copies, and influenced many players and coaches of the physical sport. Among the game's realistic features are sophisticated playbooks and player statistics, and voice commentary that allows players to hear the game as if it were a real TV broadcast. As of 2013 the franchise has generated over $4 billion in sales.


Though Joe Montana Football and John Madden Football were made by the same company, Madden had realistic plays and a full roster of 28 teams, while Montana was a more arcade-style game with only 16 teams and a simplified, passing-intensive offense. [1] Prior to the release of Montana, Park Place had developed the game so well that it surpassed Madden, and they believed it would hurt the sales of Madden. According to Michael Knox, they took Montana and "scaled it back" just before releasing the game back to Sega. [3]

Although not as successful as the Madden series, Joe Montana Football and the sequels helped establish the Genesis' reputation as the top platform for sports simulations and proved to Sega Enterprises that sports games could be worthwhile investments. [1] [2]


Joe Montana Football was followed by four sequels, all developed by BlueSky Software instead of Electronic Arts: Joe Montana Football II: Sports Talk Football , NFL Sports Talk Football '93 , NFL Football '94 Starring Joe Montana , and NFL '95 . After the contract with Joe Montana ended in 1995, development on the sixth game in Sega's NFL series moved to Farsight Technologies and the franchise was rebranded as Prime Time NFL Starring Deion Sanders . In 2015, Damon Grow, CEO of Superstar Games, tweeted snippets of Joe Montana Football 16. Joe Montana subsequently released a screenshot of the game. At E3, Damon Grow revealed the game as "Joe Montana Football", a mobile game coming to iOS, followed by Android and PC.

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  1. 1 2 3 4 5 Kent, Steven L. (2001). The Ultimate History of Video Games: The Story Behind the Craze that Touched our Lives and Changed the World. Roseville, California: Prima Publishing. pp. 406–407. ISBN   0-7615-3643-4.
  2. 1 2 3 4 Horowitz, Ken (2007-11-20). "Behind the Design: Joe Montana Football". Retrieved 2008-05-11.
  3. Horowitz, Ken (2007-11-23). "Interview: Michael Knox". Retrieved 2010-02-23.