Tom Brady is Better Than Joe Montana

Feb 4, 2008 at 8:08 PM


Blasphemy. Kick him off the website. Who does this guy think he is? Heck, who is he?

But 49er fans, whether you want to admit it or not, or want to kill me for even saying those words, we were 35 seconds away from having to seriously enter that debate.

Thank you, Eli Manning.

After 25 years of being certain of three things: Death, taxes and Joe Montana as the greatest quarterback of all time, even I was entertaining the possibility that the latter may no longer be so certain.

Let's look at the stats. Tom Brady has played eight years in the league. Through eight seasons he has 197 touchdown passes. Joe Montana had 141. Tom Brady has three Super Bowl rings, Joe Montana had two through eight seasons. Brady threw 50 touchdown passes this year, admittedly in large part to Randy Moss. But Montana had Jerry Rice, and never eclipsed 31, which was done the same year Rice caught 23 touchdown passes, the record until Moss broke it this year. Tom Brady earned the NFL MVP award this year, Montana didn't receive his two until his eleventh and twelfth years in the league. Statistically, the argument was fair.

But Brady was a product of the Belichick system you say? How could he not win with all that talent (and videotape) around him? Joe can't separate himself here either, Bill Walsh's genius is to blame for that.

The argument about who is the greatest quarterback of all-time is not a new one, but never had there been such a legitimate threat to Montana's throne since he retired in 1994. Troy Aikman made a couple writers, mainly in the Dallas area, throw his name into the ring in the mid-90's, but Jimmy Johnson and Norv Turner's departure coupled with nagging injuries closed the door on that argument. Brett Favre showed other worldly physical skills, which ultimately led to his demise in the great debate. Peyton Manning has video game type statistics and intelligence that rivals few in the game, but until last year never could win the big one. This Brady kid though, the local boy who grew up idolizing Joe and wanting to be just like him, well, we just couldn't find that definitive argument to say no.

The argument has grown so intense lately, ESPN asked Marv Levy, Art Rooney Jr., Zeke Bratkowski, Ken Meyer, Larry Kennan, James Harris and Dick Haley to debate the topic. See story here. And guess what? Neither Brady nor Montana were number one. That's what you get for bringing in old fogies who yearn for yester year to debate the topic.

Either way, Brady has brought the debate to the table.

There were only three arguments that I could hang my hat on that I felt left Joe at the top. The first, was the level of competition during their eras. During the 80's there were many teams that I consider to have had a chance to win the Super Bowl each year: Bears, Broncos, Browns, Dolphins, Giants, Redskins and if you're feeling lucky, maybe even the Rams on a good year. Maybe not. But during the 00's, only the Patriots and Colts seem to have a legitimate chance each year to win the Super Bowl. Every other team in the 00's to win the Super Bowl (Ravens, Bucs, Steelers) has been a moderate surprise, with the Bucs possibly the lone exception.

The second was the "magic" Joe Montana had in the way he won games. No game was ever lost when there was time on the clock and Joe Montana under center. The Catch, The Drive and the Saints. Joe has all of those legendary moments. But how can you fault Brady for rarely having to come from behind? And if you look back at all of the Super Bowls he has been in, he has led last minute game winning drives. None capped with a touchdown, but a victory nonetheless.

So there I sat on my weight bench on Saturday, admitting to my father what I would have punched someone in the face for saying a year earlier: Maybe Montana isn't alone. Yes, the kid who wore his Montana jersey to 12 consecutive Halloweens, who licked his fingers before going under center of every snap he ever took, who still does not understand why June 11 is not a national holiday, was admitting the unthinkable.

Then, with 35 seconds left, it happened.

Brady may be the greatest spread offense quarterback of all time. He could break every significant quarterback record and rattle off ten Super Bowl wins in the next ten years and blow the argument out of the water. But one fact will always remain.

Joe Montana never lost the Super Bowl.
The opinions within this article are those of the writer and, while just as important, are not necessarily those of the site as a whole.


0 Comments

  • No Comments

Facebook Comments



More San Francisco 49ers News



Better Rivals: DeMeco Ryans and the 49ers defense is doing a phenomenal job

By Marc Adams
Oct 15

If defense still wins championships, fans of the San Francisco 49ers must have been teeming with anxiety over the thought of having to rely on the defense, as they have been able to, in recent years. It has stressed me out. But you can rest easy, San Francisco fans, the tide may be turning. Through the first four games of the season, the 49ers defense looked a little Jekyll and Hyde. There were moments in each of those games where the defense looked like the dominant unit we have grown accustomed to seeing. But there were also moments in which they looked lost (see Rodgers, Aaron). The game against Green Bay was the low point, letting the Packers kick a game-winning field goal, even though they had no timeouts and only 37 seconds left. If the first four



Joe Staley hoped to 'pass the torch' to DeForest Buckner, says 49ers miss his leadership

By David Bonilla
Oct 24

Former San Francisco 49ers tackle Joe Staley, now an analyst with NBC Sports Bay Area, shared the story of how he learned about the DeForest Buckner trade last year. Needless to say, he was shocked. Staley had hoped for Buckner to carry on the leadership role after the offensive lineman decided to retire. "Back in March, I had made the decision with my family that I was going to retire and step away from the football field," Staley said during the 49ers pre-game show. "And DeForest was one of the first players that I wanted to go talk to. I kind of wanted to pass the torch a little bit, [say], 'This is going to be your team now,' because he's looked at and viewed on that team as being the culture set or the leader of that squad. "He flipped it on me when I



What Joe Staley said when asked if the 49ers should start Trey Lance over Jimmy Garoppolo

By Rohan Chakravarthi
Oct 25

The 49ers have had a quarterback controversy since they traded three first-round picks on March 29th to the Miami Dolphins for the pick eventually used to select Trey Lance. Seven weeks into the NFL season, that controversy has only intensified, as San Francisco fell at home to the Indianapolis Colts 30-18 in a disappointing outing that left the team with even more questions than answers, especially at quarterback. For the first time all year, Kyle Shanahan was somewhat hesitant when naming his starting quarterback, expressing uncertainty for Week 8 following the Sunday-night beatdown by the Colts. "Jimmy was able to come back and play, and we'll


Featured

More by Matt Faust

More Articles

Share 49ersWebzone