Unless you happen to be an old-school football fan who treasures the days when Joe Montana ruled the league in San Francisco, it would be utter lunacy to put him ahead of Tom Brady as the greatest quarterback of all time. Perhaps one could get away with making that argument at this point in time, but if Brady can win his fifth Super Bowl a week from today, he’ll cement his legacy as the greatest quarterback in NFL history.
The 39-year-old ageless wonder has turned a season expected by many to be a complete dud for him into a renaissance of sorts. After missing the first four games due to suspension, Brady threw a career-best ratio of 28 touchdowns to just two interceptions. He was second to Matt Ryan in QBR this season at 83, besting the likes of Dak Prescott, Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees and so on. His 67 percent completion percentage is the second-highest of his career and the highest it has been since 2007, when he had Randy Moss to throw the ball to every week. He’s arguably gotten better with age, and his statistics are clearly better than Montana’s. During his final two seasons in 1993 and 1994, Montana threw a combined 29 touchdowns to 16 interceptions, while completing just 60 percent of his passes during that stretch. Throughout his career, Montana never threw for over 4,000 yards in a season, while Brady has done it eight times. Brady has been better in most categories than Montana, and arguably with less talent around him. Montana had Jerry Rice, the best receiver in NFL history and arguably the best player, for eight seasons, while Brady had Moss for just one season and has made it work with names such as Julian Edelman, Chris Hogan, Danny Amendola and Brandon LaFell. Now, one could make a case for Montana that the NFL was less of a passing league back when he played than today, which is an accurate statement, but 49ers head coach Bill Walsh was a pioneer of the west coast offense, where a greater emphasis was put on the passing game than the running game.
The only logical argument that would keep Montana ahead of Brady for at least another week would be his unbelievable Super Bowl statistics; 4-0 with a 127.8 passer rating and a streak of 122 passes without an interception. Despite Brady’s 4 Super Bowl championships, he isn’t undefeated and his statistics aren’t as great as Montana’s. However, history measures the amount of championships you win, not what your statistics were in each game, so it only makes sense that Brady will officially become the best quarterback in NFL history with a fifth title.