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Joe Montana Football (Genesis)


Company: Sega
Year: 1990
Platform: Sega Genesis (Megadrive)
Controller: Default control of the console.


Montana himself congratulates you for choosing the game.

Early 90s, the transition from 8bit consoles to the 16bit ones, open a new world for videogamers. In sports videogames, the company Sega founds an interesting market to explore hoping to gain prestige and fans.

Managing to land the license for using the name of the most popular quarterback at the time, Joe Montana, develop an american football videogame with that name in the title.

Even when the company was not able to land other licenses, the final product was a highly acceptable videogame which helped the Genesis’ reputation as the best console for sports videogame at the time.


Good defense, the rival quarterback can’t find a receiver.

The videogame shows an horizontal perspective, not very used at the time, although used by the (now considered milestone) Madden. Before any play, the videoplayer must select one ply from the playbook, an already used feature in previous videogames.

The change is that in every play, either offensive or defensive, there is one recomendation from Joe Montana. The offensive ones are often good options, while defensively, I often found myself getting better results selecting other play instead of the recommended.

After selecting a running play, the game is siple and there is not much to add not already present in other videogames. But, when selecting a passing one, a mechanism with a steep learning curve was implemented. It’s possible to snap the ball using any of the 3 buttons of the controller, while in running plays is not relevant, it really is in passing ones.

When passing there are always 3 receivers, when pressing the A button at the top of the screen appears a view of how the quarterback looks for a receiver. With B button, cycles between receivers, and the C button throws the ball outside the field. The last one I haven’t seen it before.

Look for an open receover, but keep an eye on the pressing defensives.

Depening on which button was pressed to start the play, is the first receiver the quarterback sees. If the receiver is open, it’s fine. But otherwise, is a really dangerous situation. When selected the receiver, the ball is thrown with the A button and at the field appears a crosshair which indicated where the ball will proably land. This can be a bi confusing at first..

The C button can be used also to make a dive, useful to win a couple of yards, although used in a bad time, the defense will be happy for you doing their job. Speaking of defenses, be careful for late hits, offsides and interferences. The referees are really strict when throwig the yellow flag.

Finally, in case of a big play, appears an image of Montana congratulating the team, even if it’s the one controlled by the AI.


Not having the license of using the NFL or the teams, only teams with city names are available. The teams are:

DetroitNew YorkClevelandDenver
PhiladelphiaSan FranciscoHoustonKansas City
Tampa BayWashingtonLos AngelesMiami
Well, not exactly the most objective of the analysis…

Those teams, more or less, have the same pros and cons than their real life counterparts.

The New York team is based on the Giants, while the Los Angeles one is based on Raiders.

Of course, San Francisco are demigods. I suppose that is for being the team of the QB of the game.

Actualy, just before the match starts, appears a brief description of the game, with Montana in the image. If the description says the team is Top Notch, then the team is a strong one. If it says Good, well, not very strong.

Other Plataforms

There were other videogames with the same name for other Sega’s consoles (and DOS-based computers) , but with enough differences to being considered ohter game, and they will have their own entry.


There were sequels, being the immediate one, Sportstalk Football, but these ones have more in common wth the games mentiones in the previous paragraph.

IMO, being too close in time and console to Madden, which shared many features with, hampered its popularity. I suppose that is the main reason the other games with the same name, were made different.


A quarterback can be the leading runner in the game, believe me.

The videogame is interesting. Even when passing (and kicking) is a bit complicated, but not impossible. Using teams which rely a lot in running play can be an option for beginners, specially in tournaments between friends.

I played it during my college years, using mainly Denver. Due to their feautres I was “forced” to being the first one to perform passing plays with a decent degree of accuracy. That gave me a lot of advantge over my peers.

In my circle of friends, it was really common to see a quarterback as the rushing leader of the videogame. Not only of yards gained, also of touchdowns.


Sport Icon designed by Smashicons of FlatIcon licensed by CC 3.0 BY.

Console Icon taken from Retroarch.

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