Aaron Rodgers grew up in Chico idolizing Joe Montana and the 49ers, and he wore a Joe Montana T-shirt under his Cal uniform when he played for the Bears. But it wasn't until today at the NFL Honors ceremony in Indianapolis that Rodgers had a chance to meet Montana.
Rodgers was named the league's MVP at the ceremony, and it was clear that having a chance to chat with Montana and Steve Young - whom Rodgers called "a good friend" - were still on his mind as he accepted the award.
"I was a big Niners fan as a kid - thanks for drafting me," said Rodgers to laughter from the crowd, which included the player the 49ers did draft No. 1 overall in 2005, Alex Smith. Smith, meanwhile, finished third in the "Comeback Player" category, but he had his own turn on stage in accepting the Coach of the Year award for Jim Harbaugh.
Judging from shots of the crowd, at least two other coach-of-the-year candidates, New Orleans' Sean Payton and Detroit's Jim Schwartz, were on hand. Harbaugh and brother John were not.
"He probably would say that he doesn't deserve this," Smith told the crowd. "That's the type of guy he is. He'd give all the credit to the players, to the assistant coaches. From someone who's had one or two coaches in my career, I'd just like to tell you this is well-deserved. Congratulations, coach."
-- Matt Barrows