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

title.

Back in Dallas a year later, Notre Dame trailed Houston by 22

points with 8 minutes left before pulling off a fantastic

finish.

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

Cotton Bowl.

“Thank you for the throws,” Haines said.

Montana said this was his first induction into a college hall of

fame.

“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,”

Montana said.

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.