Each week, I get to sit down with different 49ers players and alumni for the team's only player-focused podcast, discussing the upcoming game week and leading players through fan-submitted questions about football, life and everything in between. Former 49ers quarterback Steve Bono joined the 49ers You've Got Mail podcast presented by Manscaped ahead of the team's Week 4 "Monday Night Football" matchup against the Los Angeles Rams and answered some fan-submitted questions about his career.
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Here are five things we learned about Bono:
Football players are known for their intricate pregame rituals, and the trio of quarterbacks in the late 80s of Joe Montana, Steve Young and Steve Bono were no exception to this rule. Bono shared a fun game day activity he and his teammates would play before hitting the field.
Bono: "One of the most fun times was the first year, and obviously as football players, we're not real superstitious, not at all. We got into this goofy game of firing rolls of injury tape into the top of the goalpost which was 30 feet off the ground and had maybe a five inch diameter hole in it. We were winning, and we weren't going to stop throwing rolls of tape up there. We did it every day until probably two days before the Super Bowl."
Every player has at least a few memorable plays from his career, and Bono was kind enough to share his favorite with us. The 49ers former backup quarterback also had a stint with the Kansas City Chiefs, and he's a part of football lore for an iconic bootleg 76-yard touchdown run with this team.
Bono: "It worked even better than we thought... It was bizarre. It worked every time in practice during the week. There were two scenarios with it. One with Terry Hoage, who was the strong safety staying in the game, that's why we pulled Joe Valerio. The other was that Terry Hoage would go off, and they'd bring in a sixth linebacker. That happened as we came out of the huddle and went to the line of scrimmage. We all knew that it was going to be wide open. It was totally crazy."
The late 80s and early 90s were a special time in San Francisco 49ers history. The team won five Super Bowls in just over 10 years, and you don't accomplish that without a special group of players on the field. During his five seasons, Bono got to throw six touchdown passes to Hall of Fame wide receiver Jerry Rice, and one, in particular, is a favorite memory of his.
Bono: That was 1989, and Joe (Montana) banged up his knee in the game after the earthquake that happened at Stanford Stadium, which was a win but that was not a good day for injury purposes. We went back to the Meadowlands to play the Jets, and Steve (Young) was starting and got banged up a little bit. I went into the game...In the next series of plays, Joe signaled in a play, and I was like 'Oh, okay!' He was going to let me go deep to Jerry. I thought, 'I better throw this thing as far as I can.' Well, of course I underthrew it, and Jerry made the catch for the touchdown."
Every player's path to the NFL looks a little different, and Bono's athletic career was actually split three ways with baseball, basketball and football before really dedicating himself to football.
Bono: "My dad raised me to be a switch-hitting catcher. I actually played a lot of basketball. I went to a public school that was more of a basketball school and also played football, obviously. Then all of a sudden, there were people coming out of the woodwork to recruit me for football, and then it was like, 'whoa maybe I should think about football.' I went to UCLA, played there, and then I got drafted by the Vikings in 1985. I spent a couple seasons there, a couple seasons in Pittsburgh and then, I got really lucky and came to the 49ers.
To close out the podcast session, Bono shared a fun fact about himself.
Bono: "I love soap. I love to shop for soap. I go to Trader Joe's, and every time I go there, I buy a bar of soap."