Montana and legendary receiver Jerry Rice dominated the NFL during Montana’s tenure as the starter. The pair connected for 386 receptions, 6,710 yards and 67 touchdowns in 77 games.
Montana was widely regarded as the best quarterback in NFL history until Tom Brady came along and won six Super Bowls over the past 20 years. The 43-year-old Brady — who is playing his first season with the Buccaneers — helped Tampa get to this weekend’s NFC Championship game against the Green Bay Packers. This will be the 14th time Brady is the quarterback on one of the final four teams.
Rice joined 95.7 The Game’s The Morning Roast and was asked about who he would want as his quarterback with the game on the line between Montana and Brady (h/t 49ers Web Zone):
“I’m going to go with Joe Montana because, like I said, it was a different era. Not taking anything away from what’s happening today, but you look at the game today, the way it’s played, you look at how receivers are protected — I never thought I would see an era where the running back doesn’t have to be on the ground for them to stop the play because this, to me, is supposed to be tackle football.
So, it’s a whole different era, and I would go with Montana any day because he was Joe Cool, and he was in an era where he was not as protected.”
It’s no surprise to see that Rice chooses Montana. He’s always been loyal to the 49ers. Rice is also correct when bringing up the differences in how the game is played. It’s a long video, but check out some of the hits players took in the 1980s (some of the footage looks like it was shot with a 1980s Fisher Price kids camera):
In today’s NFL, you might get a 15-yard penalty for sneezing near the quarterback. Brady has only suffered one significant injury in his career when he tore his ACL and MCL in Week 1 of the 2008 season. Bernard Pollard’s hit on Brady resulted in the NFL changing its rules to protect quarterbacks.
Montana played during an era where a player could get steamrolled by a defender without any consequences, so no one was letting up when they were attacking the QB.
Montana only started all 16 games twice during his 16-year career, while Brady suited up for every game 17 times in 21 seasons. He missed four starts because of suspension in 2016.
Both quarterbacks have a ton of playoff success on their resumes.
Here is how Montana and Brady’s postseason stats look (per Pro Football Reference):
Montana: 16-7 record (.695 win%), 62.7 completion percentage, 251 yards per game, 7.0 adjusted net yards per attempt, 45 touchdowns, 21 interceptions, 4-0 record in the Super Bowl, three Super Bowl MVPs.
Brady: 32-11 record (.744 win%), 62.7 completion percentage, 278.3 yards per game, 6.5 adjusted net yards per attempt, 77 touchdowns, 35 interceptions, 6-3 record in the Super Bowl, four Super Bowl MVPs.
Montana and Brady’s Super Bowl numbers:
Montana: 285.5 yards per game, 11 touchdowns and zero interceptions.
Brady: 315.3 yards per game, 18 touchdowns and six interceptions.
The debate on who is the better of the two QBs hinges on what stats each individual values. Brady has more rings but also lost the Big Game three times. Montana’s Super Bowl numbers are sparkling, but he has two fewer championships than Brady.
Who would you rather have as your QB
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