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Montana named by AP as 1989 athlete of year

Joe Montana, who had the best season of any quarterback in NFL history in leading the San Francisco 49ers to their fourth Super Bowl victory, has been named the Associated Press' male athlete of the year for 1989. Montana began the year by capping a 92-yard drive with a 10-yard touchdown pass to John Taylor with 34 seconds left to beat Cincinnati for the 49ers' third Super Bowl. Then, during the 1989 regular season, he threw 26 touchdown passes and had only eight interceptions in leading San Francisco to a 14-2 record.

And although it didn't count in the balloting because it occurred in 1990, he threw five touchdown passes in the 55-10 Super Bowl win over Denver that made the 49ers the first team in a decade to repeat as NFL champions.

Montana won the honor in a three-way race with Bo Jackson, who plays both baseball and football, and cyclist Greg LeMond. He is only the third NFL player to win the award in the 49 years it has been given. The others were George Blanda in 1970 and O.J. Simpson in 1973.

He had 36 first-place votes in the national balloting by sports writers and editors and 253 points. Jackson received 33 first-place votes and 228 points.