Press Democrat – I can prove Joe Montana still is the greatest quarterback of all time. …
The way I see it, you can’t even begin this debate until you account for the different eras Montana and Brady played in. Because, even though Montana and Brady both are quarterbacks, they may as well have played different sports.
In Montana’s first season as a starter, 1981, the NFL’s average quarterback rating was just 70.5. Passing was difficult. In 2017, the average NFL quarterback rating was a whopping 85.1. Passing was relatively easy.
So much changed since Montana played. …
Montana had nine seasons during his 15-year career when he posted a passer rating that was at least 20 percent better than the league average that year.
Brady has had only five seasons during his 18-year career when he has posted a passer rating that was at least 20 percent better than the league average that year.
Montana’s 92.3 career passer rating was 27.7 percent better than the average NFL quarterback rating during the years he played — 1979 to 1994.
Brady’s 97.6 career passer rating is 19.5 percent better than the average NFL quarterback rating during the years he has played — 2000 to 2017.
What I’m about to say might surprise those few clueless, misinformed, soulless little troglodytes who think I like Tom Brady more than I should. Sure, I have an appreciation for TB 12 that is passionate, borderline self-destructive and criminal in at least 10 states, but I can listen to reason on the topic of him. And therefore I’ll admit I don’t hate this argument.
At least someone is trying something different. To be clear, I was always a Joe Montana is the GOAT guy. Until about five Brady Super Bowl appearances and 500 or so passing records ago. Now the fact anyone is even having the discussion just feels so 2010 to me. But I also admire someone who climbs into the Brady vs. Montana octagon with some data. And this – grading on the curve by comparing their QB ratings to their contemporaries – is some of the best I’ve heard in a long time.
Of course it omits a few facts that are not only relevant, but crucial to the debate. There’s this sort of mythology about those teams of the 49ers dynasty years that somehow they were all about Bill Walsh’s genius and the West Coast Offense carrying the franchise to titles with Joe Cool’s steady hand on the controls. But that’s revisionist history. The fact that gets ignored is that throughout the entire Skinny Necktie Era from 1981 to 1990, Montana played with elite defenses. Often the best in the league. In that 10 year period the Niners ranked the top four in scoring defense eight times. Three times they allowed the second fewest points and twice allowed the fewest.
Tom Brady had rarely ever had the luxury of his offense not having to carry his team. In the 16 years he’s been the starter (excluding 2008) the Pats have finished in the top four in scoring D a total of four times: 2003, ’04, ’06 and only once in the past decade, 2016. And as we just witnessed, being saddled with an appallingly bad defense made it so 500 yards and three touchdowns wasn’t good enough.
In spite of it, Brady has won in ways that Montana couldn’t have imagined in his wildest Peyote-induced fever dream. Montana’s career W-L, playoffs included, is an astonishingly remarkable 143-72. Brady’s is 223-65. Meaning he’s lost seven fewer career games than the previous Best There Ever Was in This Game and won 80 more. And that Brady is more games over .500 (+158) than Montana won in his entire magnificent career. Joe would have to unretire and go 17-2 for four full seasons to even approach what the actual GOAT has done and would still be a half season short.
But sure, talk about their passer ratings vs. their league-wide passer ratings and make the numbers dance any way you want. It’s delusional, but at least it’s original and I admire the effort. Call Montana a better passer if it makes 49ers Journos feel better. But if you call Brady anything other than the greatest winner in the history of North American sports, you’re delusional. And I’ll settle for that anytime.