Joe Montana is still the greatest for me.
After last night, there is only one great argument against Brady being the greatest QB ever, though there are a few other arguments.
If you take stats to be your main barometer, there is no question Brady is better than Montana. Now, they are tied on Super Bowls (and Super Bowl MVPs). Brady also beats Montana in Completion % (barely), Touchdowns/Attempt, Interceptions/Attempt, Yards/Attempt, and, unsurprisingly, QB Rating. Montana’s stats are hurt by his two years in Kansas City, when he had his two lowest completion % other than his rookie season.
Also, what the hell NFL, for only updating records through 2007?
I. DISCARDED: Bart Starr, Otto Graham, or Unitas
Considering I live in Baltimore, you might expect me to pick Unitas out of this bunch. Considering I lived in Wisconsin longer than I will have lived in Balitmore when I move this summer, you might think Starr would be my pick (not to mention that I lived in Tuscaloosa longer than either). I’m probably going to go with Graham if I have to pick of these three. I get that in the modern game rushing quarterbacks are often seen as a guy that can’t get it done in the air. It’s not 100% a black/white thing though I don’t doubt race may come into play. Tim Tebow was a dual threat and look where his career went. That said, unlike Tebow, Graham got it done in the NFL with his feet. Regardless, rule changes, expansion, and athletic developments have made it impossible to compare.
II. DISCARDED: Expansion
The NFL had 28 teams for a large part of Montana’s career. Now it has 32. While I think expansion from Graham’s era may be a legitimate argument, I’ve already discarded a comparison to Graham because of rule changes and athletic developments. Even if you do think expansion is a problem, how does one compare?
III: DISCARDED: Mediocre When It Counted
Brady lost 3 Super Bowls and also lost 3 AFC Championship games. Montana lost zero Super Bowls. Even if you do discount Brady’s inability to will his team to victory every year, surely he gains all of that back (and maybe more?) by getting himself so close so many times. Surely you can’t just say he’s a choker.
IV. DISCARDED: Quarterbacks get more protection now.
This is no doubt true, and maybe it accounts for some of Brady’s numbers, but it doesn’t account for the fact that he keeps on winning. This is one of the reasons why Steve Young’s numbers are so impressive and why winning has surely got to be the greatest measure of a quarterback.
V. Two Cheating Controversies
I don’t think the cheating controversies necessarily tarnish Brady as a human. He was never proved to have done anything wrong (yet). Still, even if it doesn’t tarnish the first three Super Bowls, it certainly tarnishes this one.
The flip side is the Patriots won the AFC Championship 45-7. Deflated balls might account for putting up 45 points, but it doesn’t account for only giving up 7.
What Brady needs to do cement himself as the #1 QB of all time is win a 5th Super Bowl. Only one other person (Charles Haley) has done that. The cheating controversies will always haunt him, but unless he ends up being at fault in deflategate, a fifth Super Bowl will surely over come that. Of course, in his quest for a 5th ring, he needs to not let his numbers dive, like Montana’s did at the end of his career.