The early Joe Montana statistics seem to be almost identical to Alex Smith's statistics last year under Jim Harbaugh. Like Alex Smith, Joe Montana never broke 4000 yards per season. And yet, decades after the fact, he is regarded perhaps the best passer of all time.
Was it Montana's stats or was it his efficiency? Was it how many yards he threw for or was it his fourth quarter comeback magic?
I may be overreaching, but I think we may be looking at the second coming of Joe Montana in Alex Smith. I've believed that ever since I first saw him play in 2006, the year I started watching football again. I also argued vehemently, no matter how people laughed at me, that Alex Smith could succeed if the 49ers reverted to the West Coast Offense. I believe now that he'll rise to a Joe Montana like status. Like Montana himself, he'll never have to break 4000 yards. Making your passes count and controlling the ball -- that is where it counts.