Before Joe Montana became arguably the greatest quarterback in NFL history, the San Francisco 49ers had a pretty good starting quarterback in Steve DeBerg.
DeBerg had one problem (aside from not being Montana). He dealt with occasional bouts of laryngitis, and in 1980 the team got creative to help him call signals with a sore throat.
DeBerg was outfitted with an audio system underneath his jersey. The Niners attached a microphone to DeBerg's facemask and a large, boxy speaker to his back. It's unclear if he went all-out and got the hydraulics and 20-inch rims, too.
DeBerg talks about the contraption, which bulged out the back of his jersey, in a video posted along with some photos Tuesday on Uni-Watch.
"The only problem there might be is when there's a lot of wind and it blow into the speaker," DeBerg explains in an ESPN video that season.
Yeah, that was the "only" problem — aside from the possible danger of a hit to the back sending elements of the doohickey into his spine.
Somehow, DeBerg never suffered serious injury and it doesn't appear that opponents took advantage of something that must have affected the QB's mobility.
Even more odd is that Uni-Watch editor Paul Lukas, a Niners fan in the '80s, says he doesn't recall any attention given to the doodad. Considering all the hoopla over Michael Vick's kevlar vest, Terrell Owens' hyperbaric chamber and all the makeshift thingamabobs NFL teams contrive to address odd injuries nowadays, this contraption would receive at least 15 minutes of attention on Sunday NFL Countdown.
DeBerg also wore the mic and amplifier in 1983 with the Broncos, and it received a brief, three-paragraph mention by The Associated Press. So there's that.
Learn more about the invention below in the Video of the Day.
Did you notice this in 1980?
"Tell him I said [expletive] you."
— Bears quarterback Jay Cutler, caught on NBC cameras cursing at an unknown person during Sunday night's game
Like we said: polarizing.
Some people dedicate their ingenuity to sending human beings into space. Others figure out ways for quarterbacks with frogs in their throats to call plays. Ah, humanity. Gotta love it.
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