Joe Montana leads Cotton Bowl Hall of Fame class
Joe Montana and Kris Haines, the quarterback-receiver combo that
led Notre Dame to one of the greatest comebacks in college football
history, were among six inductees into the 2010 AT&T Cotton
Bowl Hall of Fame on Wednesday.
Also honored at the eighth annual ceremonies were Texas wingback
Phil Harris, Alabama middle guard Warren Lyles, Texas A&M and
Mississippi State coach Jackie Sherrill and the late Wilbur Evans,
the Cotton Bowl’s first executive director.
Montana, who went on to a Hall of Fame career spanning 16
seasons in the NFL with the San Francisco 49ers and Kansas City
Chiefs, helped the Fighting Irish to a 38-10 upset of top-ranked
Texas in the 1978 Cotton Bowl as Notre Dame won the national
Back in Dallas a year later, Notre Dame trailed Houston by 22
points with 8 minutes left before pulling off a fantastic
Montana passed to Haines for a two-point conversion to narrow
the deficit to six points with 4:15 remaining. Montana later threw
again to Haines, who made a diving catch in the corner of the end
zone for an eight-yard touchdown as time expired, tying the score
at 34. The ensuing extra-point kick by Joe Unis completed the rally
in what has become known as the Chicken Soup Game.
The game was played in bitter cold after an overnight ice storm,
and by halftime, Montana’s body temperature had fallen below
normal. Notre Dame trainers gave Montana hot chicken bouillon, and
it proved the perfect tonic.
“When you played in a cold-weather game, you could have either
chicken broth or beef broth,” Montana said. “I took chicken.
Otherwise, it would have been called the Beef Bowl.”
Haines remembered working with Montana on the practice field
when he first arrived at Notre Dame, running a corner route and
getting hit in the head three times by Montana’s passes.
Eventually, they developed the chemistry that helped win the ’79
“Thank you for the throws,” Haines said.
Montana said this was his first induction into a college hall of
“I didn’t have exactly a stellar college career,” Montana
said. “I didn’t set any records on fire. So if this has to be the
first one, what better than the Cotton Bowl? I wish I would have
played in a couple more.”
These days, Montana’s following the career of his son, Nate, a
sophomore walk-on quarterback at Notre Dame.
“He’s had a rough road from the beginning (in high school), but
right now he’s in the No. 2 spot there, so he’s in good position,”
In 1964, Harris caught three passes for 157 yards and two
touchdowns to lead Texas to a 28-6 victory over Navy.
Lyles had 16 tackles in the 1981 and ’82 Cotton Bowls. Alabama
beat Baylor 30-2 in the ’81 contest, and Texas knocked off the
Crimson Tide 14-12 a year later.
Sherrill, who recruited Montana when he was at Pittsburgh,
coached Texas A&M in three straight Cotton Bowls from 1986-88.
He also coached Mississippi State in the 1999 game.
Evans worked for the Cotton Bowl in the ’60s and ’70s, helping
persuade Notre Dame to end a 45-year ban on postseason games to
accept an invitation to participate in the 1970 game.
For the first time, the induction was at Cowboys Stadium.
Previous ceremonies were at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, site of the
game for 73 years until it was moved to the Dallas Cowboys’ new
home in January.