Monty Stickles

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Monty Stickles
Date of birth August 16, 1938
Place of birth Kingston, New York
Date of death September 3, 2006 (age 68)
Place of death Oakland, California
Career information
Position(s) Tight end
College Notre Dame
AFL draft 1960 / Round: 1
(by the Los Angeles Chargers)
NFL draft 1960 / Round: 1 / Pick 11
Career history
As player
1960-1967 San Francisco 49ers
1968 New Orleans Saints
Career stats

Monty Anthony Stickles (August 16, 1938 – September 3, 2006) was an American football tight end in the National Football League for the San Francisco 49ers and the New Orleans Saints. He was known during his career for his ferocity and love of playing the game.

Stickles was born in Kingston, NY on August 16, 1938 and grew up in Poughkeepsie, NY, the son of Frances and Montfort Stickles. After graduating from Poughkeepsie High School, Stickles played End (offensive) and kicked PATs for University of Notre Dame from 1957 to 1959, wearing number 80. He measured 6'4", 215 lbs. During that time, he was a three-year starter and a two-time first-team All-American, consensus in 1959. As a senior he was 9th in Heisman voting. In 1957 he had 11 catches for 183 yards and three touchdowns. He also led the team in scoring with 11 PATs, one field goal, and three TDs for 32 points, made 27 tackles, and broke up two passes. In 1958 he led in minutes played and scored 60 points while making 31 tackles. He also led the team in receiving with 20 catches for 328 yards and seven TDs. While playing for Notre Dame he accumulated 42 career receptions for 746 yards and 12 TDs, kicked 42 PATs and five field goals, made 110 tackles, broke up six passes, recovered three fumbles, and blocked one kick. He also participated in the East-West Shrine the College All-Star games.

In 1960 he was the first-round-draft-pick of the San Francisco 49ers, who had the 11th pick in the first-round of the NFL draft that year. He also was chosen in the first round by the Los Angeles Chargers of the newly formed AFL in 1960.

Stickles played for the San Francisco 49ers from 1960 through 1967, wearing number 85. He was known during this time for his rugged blocking, ferocious and uncompromising play, and his receiving ability. During his time in San Francisco, he amassed 207 receptions for 2,993 yards and 14 touchdowns. His best season as a 49er came in 1961 when he caught 43 passes for 794 yards and five touchdowns. He was a self-admitted dirty player, even for an era in which it was encouraged by the NFL and rewarded by the fans. Once, he threw a cheap shot at a linebacker and drew the ref's attention; when the linebacker retaliated, he, and not Stickles, got thrown out. After 8 seasons with the 49ers, Stickles played the 1968 season with the New Orleans Saints before retiring. That season, he is perhaps best known for making contact with a referee, becoming one of the few NFL players in the history of the sport to be sanctioned for doing so.

After retiring from football, Stickles transitioned into radio. He went to broadcasting school and called University of San Francisco basketball games for KEST radio in 1968. He moved to KGO radio in 1973 to do color commentary on California Golden Bears and Oakland Raiders football, and eventually became the weekend Sportscaster at KGO-TV. While juggling the roles of Sportscaster for KGO and Sports Writer for the San Francisco Progress in the '70s, Stickles pioneered in the San Francisco Bay Area what is now called sports talk by launching the Bay Area's first, call-in radio sports show, "Monty Stickles Sports Talk." He also became the "Color Man" for the Oakland Raiders from the mid '70s to the early '80s. In addition to the 1976 and 1981 Super Bowl seasons, Stickles was in the booth with Bill King in 1978 for the Raiders' memorable "Holy Roller" game against the San Diego Chargers. The pandemonium can be heard here as the Raiders win 21-20 in the final seconds with a questionable play that changed the rules of the game forever: Unwilling to relocate, Stickles stayed in San Francisco, kept his job at KGO, and left the Oakland franchise in 1982 when the team moved to Los Angeles.

During his 12 years with KGO, Stickles managed to navigate through many tough interviews, the most difficult for him being the one with some of the members of the Old Christians Rugby Club, who had survived the plane crash of the 1972 Andes Disaster.

After a thirteen year career behind the mic, Stickles, then a Sports Director, retired from broadcasting in 1986 shortly after leaving KGO Radio and KLOK FM. When asked if he ever wanted to get back into the business, he expressed his disdain for industry politics.

Outside of sports, Stickles lived in San Francisco and was involved in real estate ventures in the Bay Area. He was an avid art collector, gourmet cook, Doberman Pinscher breeder, and Jazz lover. He was an idea man, who was noted to have helped launch the careers of many people, including the painting career of long-time teammate and friend Bernie Casey and the broadcasting career of local sportscaster Joe Starkey.

His acting resume includes starring as Captain Charles Francis Hall in a segment for "Ripley's Believe It or Not!" in the early ‘80s, acting as a drunken Texan under arrest in the movie "Freebie and the Bean" in 1974, and appearing as himself in the movie "Number One" in 1969. From then on he could always say he appeared in the same movie as Charlton Heston, who he used to show around New Orleans during the filming of the movie. ("Chuck" mentions this is his book, "In the Arena: An Autobiography.")

In 1996, at the San Francisco 49ers 50th Anniversary Gala, Stickles was voted "Best Tight-End of the Golden Era." He had held four records as a 49er Tight-End: the last one until the 1990s, and he remains third in career-yards-from-scrimmage behind Brent Jones and Vernon Davis.

Later in life, Stickles continued his real estate ventures and became a Sales and Marketing Specialist for Warsteiner Imports and then Labatt USA, a subsidiary of IntraBrew, Belgium. He retired at age 62. He remained a life-long member of the NFL Alumni Association and supported Bay Area sports programs and charities that benefit children and our military Veterans.

Stickles died on September 3, 2006 at Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in San Francisco of heart failure after a brief illness. He was 68. Funeral and memorial services were held in San Francisco later that month at St. Ignatius Church in San Francisco and Kezar Stadium, respectively. In attendance were his 49er ex-teammates and good friends R. C. Owens, Bob St. Clair, Len Rhode, Jerry Mertens, and Jimmy Johnson, a friend who loved Monty's "Stingy-Brimmed" hat that he wore in the '60s. Other notable guests at the memorial were Nate Thurmond, Quentin Cop, Billy Kilmer, Joe Starkey, and many faithful fans representing over five decades. He was a lauded celebrity who was loved by most, hated by some, and emulated by many. He will be missed. *"Monty Stickles Stats". Retrieved November 26, 2012. 

External links[edit]

In early 1961, Stickles wrote a letter that was printed in MAD magazine: "I have been catching up on my MAD reading here at the 49ers training camp after our practice sessions and workouts. Some really great laughs. I have introduced MAD to many of my teammates, and now they're huddling over it, too." To which the magazine replied: "We hope that being on the 'receiving end' of MAD has partially contributed to your great rookie year performances, Monty." (MAD, issue #61, March 1961)