While most fans and media believe that Michael Jordan was the greatest NBA player of all time, there is far less consensus about who is the best quarterback of all time. Some say Johnny Unitas, others point to Joe Montana, both John Elway and Peyton Manning are in the discussion, and many believe Tom Brady is up there.
Montana gets the nod in many debates because he went 4-0 in Super Bowls. Patriots owner Robert Kraft, who is obviously biased, believes Brady is the best ever.
“I think that Tommy, with all due respect, is better than Joe Montana,” Kraft said in an NFL.com article about Brady. “I know that’s a leap, but I really think he might already be the best of all-time. I watch how involved he is, how driven he is. He’s like Belichick, he’s into the details. And he’s got a skill that makes him so special, he can process all of it so quickly. … And then, he’s just got that quality. Certain people have that sincerity. He’s a very genuine guy. People can relate to him. People can trust him.”
Kraft also said Brady is like a son to him, so it’s not exactly shocking that he would make the remark.
Brady was told about his boss’ remark and switched the focus away from whether he’s better than his idol.
Brady might not want to participate in the debate, but that won’t stop us from analyzing it.
The Patriots quarterback has made seven Pro Bowls, two All-Pro teams, won two MVP awards, and two Super Bowl MVPs. He’s won three titles, holds the record for most touchdown passes in a season (50), and he has two of the top six passer ratings for a season all time. Earlier in his career, I think Brady played well but was helped largely by an excellent defense. More recently the Patriots’ defense has not been very good and Brady’s offensive output has exploded. He hasn’t been flawless in the playoffs — the Pats laid an egg against the Ravens in ’09 and he couldn’t do much against an excellent Jets defense in ’10. He also was harassed by a very good Giants defense in two Super Bowls, getting outplayed by Eli Manning both times (though to be fair, Manning was going against an easier defense). His postseason performance has been less impressive lately, but Brady’s regular-season stats have been excellent.
Montana was an 8-time Pro Bowler, 3-time All-Pro, two-time league MVP, and two-time Super Bowl MVP, just like Brady. He led the league in touchdown passes twice and completion percentage five times. He most notably went 4-0 in Super Bowls, unlike Brady, who’s now 3-2. Montana accomplished everything in a different era of football where the game wasn’t as pass-happy and favorable to quarterbacks as it is now. That’s what makes it difficult to compare the two.
If you favor Montana in the debate, it’s probably because you’re overwhelmed by his postseason success. If you favor Brady, it’s probably because of his consistent greatness such as winning three Super Bowls, going 21-0 at one point, and leading a 16-0 season while putting together arguably the most impressive season ever by a quarterback. You really can’t go wrong in the debate, and I think we can all see why Kraft picks Brady.
You can also keep in mind that Montana is impressed by what some of today’s quarterbacks are doing.
H/T Around the League
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