Joe Montana Football (Mega Drive)

From Sega Retro

For other versions, see Joe Montana Football.


JoeMontanaFootball title.png

Joe Montana Football
System(s): Sega Mega Drive
Publisher: Sega
Supporting companies:
Sound driver: Electronic Arts/Rob Hubbard
Genre: Sports[4][5] (American football)

Number of players: 1-2
Release Date RRP Code
Sega Mega Drive
¥6,0006,000 G-4045
Sega Mega Drive
$49.9549.95[7] 1205
Sega Mega Drive
$29.9529.95[8] 1205C
Sega Mega Drive
Sega Mega Drive
£34.9934.99[9] 1205
Sega Mega Drive
Sega Mega Drive
Sega Mega Drive

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Joe Montana Football (ジョー・モンタナ フットボール) is a Sega Mega Drive American football game co-developed by Park Place Productions and Electronic Arts, and published by Sega. Directly endorsed by professional football player and NFL star Joe Montana, it was first released in the United States in December 1990, and is most notable for being both one of the earliest celebrity-sponsored sports video games, and one of Sega of America's first domestically-produced successes.

Released alongside a redesigned Sega Master System version, Joe Montana Football, it would also receive a sequel the following year courtesy of American developer BlueSky Software, Joe Montana II: Sports Talk Football.


While Sega were able to feature Joe Montana in Joe Montana Football, it did not secure the rights from the NFL to include any official team names (or other real-world players). This means teams are simply named after US cities and much of the content is fictionalised. It is, however, loosely based on the 1989 NFL season.


Only 16 of the 28 NFL teams are represented in Joe Montana Football:

  • San Francisco
  • Tampa Bay
  • Denver
  • Cleveland
  • Detroit
  • Atlanta
  • Philadelphia
  • Cincinnati
  • Houston
  • Kansas City
  • Washington
  • Chicago
  • Miami
  • Buffalo
  • Los Angeles
  • New York


Sega signed with Joe Montana in mid-1990[10], before they had a game to show. The contract was thought to be the most expensive celebrity video game signing to date[11], with Montana both having a hand in the game's design, and promoting it before its launch in the Christmas season of 1990.

Joe Montana was likely the biggest name in American football at the time. Playing with the San Francisco 49ers, he led the team to victory at the Super Bowl XXIV in January 1990, and had picked up both the Super Bowl Most Valuable Player Award (as he had in 1982 and 1985) and Associated Press Most Valuable Player Award for the 1989 season. Reportedly Montana was also a fan of the Mega Drive (Genesis in North America), with his favourite game being Arnold Palmer Tournament Golf[11].

At the time, Sega did not have the facilities in the US to develop a Mega Drive game from scratch, so had to seek outside developers, with three separate development studios working on the project[12]. Among these was Mediagenic, who were attempting to turn Hard Yardage into this game[13], but quality concerns saw the project re-worked from scratch[14]. Michael Katz first approached BlueSky Software, who wanted to assist but felt the game's tight schedule would be too great of a detriment and thus declined.[15] Sega then approached Electronic Arts with the view of licensing the upcoming John Madden Football, but the deal fell through[14], however the engine was used (with major modifications) for the final game[12].

This confused development schedule meant that Joe Montana Football changed from having a "horizontal" perspective to a "vertical" one. Sega had wanted to use the horizontal view, though was unable to until the following year, when they found a developer that could produce a satisfactory game in Joe Montana II Sports Talk Football. Early promotional material for Joe Montana Football includes screenshots from one of the "horizontal" builds[12].

Production history


Magazine articles

Main article: Joe Montana Football (Mega Drive)/Magazine articles.

Promotional material

MDMSGG MX advert.jpg
MX advert (1992)
MDMSGG MX advert.jpg
Print advert in Sega Visions (US) #1: "June/July 1990" (1990-xx-xx)
also published in:
Print advert in Electronic Gaming Monthly (US) #16: "November 1990" (1990-xx-xx)
also published in:
Print advert in Electronic Gaming Monthly (US) #19: "February 1991" (1991-xx-xx)

Physical scans

Sega Retro Average 
Publication Score Source
{{{{{icon}}}|L}} Division by zero.
Based on
0 review
Sega Retro Average 
Publication Version Score
1700 igr dlya Sega (RU)
Ação Games (BR)
Beep! MegaDrive (JP) NTSC-J
Console XS (UK) PAL
Computer & Video Games (UK)
GamePro (US) NTSC-U
Hippon Super (JP) NTSC-J
Joystick (FR)
Sega Mega Drive Advanced Gaming (UK) PAL
Mega Drive Fan (JP) NTSC-J
Mega (UK) PAL
Mega Play (US) NTSC-U
MegaTech (UK)
Mean Machines (UK)
Mean Machines (UK)
Mean Machines Sega (UK)
Player One (FR)
Power Play (DE)
Sega Power (UK) PAL
Sega Power (UK) PAL
Sega Pro (UK)
Sega Pro (UK) PAL
Sega Saturn Magazine (JP) NTSC-J
Tilt (FR)
VideoGames & Computer Entertainment (US)
Video Games (DE)
Sega Mega Drive
Based on
26 reviews

Joe Montana Football (Mega Drive)

Mega Drive, JP
JMF MD JP Box.jpg
JoeMontana1 MD JP CartTop.jpg
JMF MD JP Cart.jpg
Joemontanafootball md jp manual.pdf
Mega Drive, US
JMF MD US Box.jpg
JMF MD US Cart.jpg
Joe Montana Football MD US Manual.pdf
Mega Drive, US (Sega Classic)
JoeMontanaFootball MD US Box Classic.jpg
JMF MD US Cart.jpg
Mega Drive, EU
JMF MD EU Box.jpg
JMF MD EU Cart.jpg
Joe Montana Football MD EU Manual.jpg
JMF MD EU pcb.jpg
Mega Drive, SE rental (HENT black)
JMF MD SE rental Box.jpg
Mega Drive, AU
JMF MD AU cover.jpg
Mega Drive, CA
JMF MD CA cover.jpg

External links

Technical information

Main article: Joe Montana Football (Mega Drive)/Technical information.


  1. K Horowitz (2016). Playing at the Next Level: A History of American Sega Games
  2. K Horowitz (2016). Playing at the Next Level: A History of American Sega Games
  3. K Horowitz (2016). Playing at the Next Level: A History of American Sega Games
  4. File:JMF MD JP Box.jpg
  5. 5.0 5.1 (Wayback Machine: 2020-07-20 09:51)
  7. GamePro, "April 1991" (US; 1991-xx-xx), page 41
  8. Sega Visions, "August/September 1992" (US; 1992-xx-xx), page 20
  9. Sega Power, "June 1991" (UK; 1991-05-02), page 21
  10. File:TheDanvilleNews US 1990-03-23; Page 4.png
  11. 11.0 11.1 Game Players, "Vol. 2 No. 6 June 1990" (US; 1990-0x-xx), page 100
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 Interview: Jim Huether (2006-10-31) by Sega-16
  13. Game Players, "Vol. 2 No. 9 September 1990" (US; 1990-0x-xx), page 57
  14. 14.0 14.1 Electronic Gaming Monthly, "November 1990" (US; 1990-xx-xx), page 26
  15. K Horowitz (2016). Playing at the Next Level: A History of American Sega Games
  16. Electronic Gaming Monthly, "August 1990" (US; 1990-xx-xx), page 7
  17. GamePro, "July 1990" (US; 1990-xx-xx), page 61
  18. VideoGames & Computer Entertainment, "July 1990" (US; 1990-0x-xx), page 59
  19. GamePro, "November 1990" (US; 1990-xx-xx), page 100
  20. Game Players Sega Guide!, "Vol. 1, No. 1: Fall 1990" (US; 1990-10-xx), page 8
  21. Sega Visions, "Winter 1990/1991" (US; 1990-xx-xx), page 22
  22. 1700 igr dlya Sega, "" (RU; 2001-xx-xx), page 149
  23. Ação Games, "Maio 1991" (BR; 1991-05-21), page 45
  24. Beep! MegaDrive, "March 1991" (JP; 1991-02-08), page 35
  25. Console XS, "June/July 1992" (UK; 1992-04-23), page 131
  26. Computer & Video Games, "May 1991" (UK; 1991-04-14), page 76
  27. GamePro, "April 1991" (US; 1991-xx-xx), page 40
  28. Hippon Super, "March 1991" (JP; 1991-02-04), page 42
  29. Joystick, "Mars 1991" (FR; 1991-0x-xx), page 144
  30. Sega Mega Drive Advanced Gaming, "January 1993" (UK; 199x-xx-xx), page 92
  31. Mega Drive Fan, "May 1991" (JP; 1991-04-08), page 95
  32. Mega, "June 1993" (UK; 1993-05-20), page 20
  33. Mega Play, "March/April 1991" (US; 1991-04-xx), page 45
  34. MegaTech, "Xmas 1991" (UK; 1991-12-06), page 78
  35. Mean Machines, "April 1991" (UK; 1991-04-01), page 76
  36. Mean Machines, "February 1992" (UK; 1992-01-27), page 74
  37. Mean Machines Sega, "October 1992" (UK; 1992-09-xx), page 139
  38. Player One, "Juillet/Août 1991" (FR; 1991-xx-xx), page 57
  39. Power Play, "5/91" (DE; 1991-04-12), page 123
  40. Sega Power, "June 1991" (UK; 1991-05-02), page 20
  41. Sega Power, "October 1991" (UK; 1991-09-05), page 53
  42. Sega Pro, "February 1992" (UK; 1992-01-16), page 18
  43. Sega Pro, "April 1993" (UK; 1993-03-11), page 66
  44. Sega Saturn Magazine, "September 1995" (JP; 1995-08-08), page 85
  45. Tilt, "Mai 1991" (FR; 1991-0x-xx), page 78
  46. VideoGames & Computer Entertainment, "March 1991" (US; 1991-0x-xx), page 32
  47. Video Games, "2/91" (DE; 1991-06-07), page 94

Joe Montana Football (Mega Drive)

JoeMontanaFootball title.png

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American Football games published by Sega
Joe Montana Football (Mega Drive) (Master System/Game Gear) (DOS) (1990) | Joe Montana II Sports Talk Football (1991) | NFL Sports Talk Football '93 Starring Joe Montana (1992) | Joe Montana's NFL Football (1993) | NFL Football '94 Starring Joe Montana (1993) | NFL '95 (1994) | Prime Time NFL Football Starring Deion Sanders (1995) | NFL '97 (1996) | NFL 98 (1997)
Joe Montana NFL Football (IBM PC) (unreleased) | NFL Football '94 Starring Joe Montana (Game Gear) (unreleased)
College Football
College Football's National Championship (1994) | College Football's National Championship II (1995) | NCAA College Football 2K2 (2001) | NCAA College Football 2K3 (2002)
NFL 2K Series
NFL 2K (1999) | NFL 2K1 (2000) | NFL 2K2 (2001) | NFL 2K3 (2002) | ESPN NFL Football (2003) | ESPN NFL 2K5 (2004)