The San Francisco 49ers were fortunate to have two of the best quarterbacks in NFL history on their roster for nearly two decades.
The 49ers took Joe Montana in the third round of the 1979 NFL Draft. He led the team to four Super Bowl wins before being traded to the Kansas City Chiefs before the 1993 season. The main reason why Montana was dealt was the emergence of Steve Young.
The legendary Bill Walsh had acquired Young from the Tampa Bay Buccanneers in 1987. Young had spent his first two professional seasons in the USFL before being selected first in the supplemental draft by the Buccaneers.
Things didn’t work out in Tampa for Young, who went 3-16 as a starter before being traded to the 49ers. His arrival gave the Niners two Hall of Fame QBs on their roster and helped the franchise become one of the most dominant NFL teams for almost 20 years.
Steven Ruiz from USA TODAY’s For the Win released his list of the best 100 quarterbacks of all time, and it’s no surprise to see both Montana and Young on the list.
Ruiz slotted Montana No. 2 in rankings, behind only seven-time Super Bowl winner Tom Brady.
Montana never put up crazy stats but he may have been the most efficient quarterback to ever play. He was the perfect quarterback to run Bill Walsh’s West Coast offense thanks to his unmatched sense of timing and impeccable accuracy. Montana was never rattled and saved his best performances for the postseason. Until the next guy came along, Montana was the best to ever play the position…
Montana went 100-39 over his 13 years in San Francisco, completing 63.7 percent of his passes for 35,124 yards, 244 touchdowns and 123 interceptions. He went 4-0 in the Super Bowl and is remembered for his clutch performances when the stakes were at their highest.
Young comes in at No. 11 in Ruiz’s list.
Young’s prime was short but, man, was it good. He set the league’s passer rating record in 1994 during one of the greatest seasons a quarterback has ever produced. Young ranks fifth in career rating, which is remarkable considering the era he played in. He’s also one of the best scramblers in league history.
Young went 91-33 during his 13 seasons with the 49ers. He completed 65.8 percent of his passes and threw for 29,907 yards, 221 touchdowns and 86 interceptions. Young was also dynamic running the football as well. He rushed for 3,581 yards and 43 TDs while averaging an impressive 5.9 yards per attempt.
The fans were spoiled with top-notch quarterback play during the ‘80s and ‘90s. Montana and Young are two of the best to ever do it, and the fact they spent six seasons (although Montana was injured in 1991 and 1992) on the same roster seems almost unfair.
Montana and Young combined to lead the 49ers to five Super Bowl wins, 13 NFC West titles and 16 playoff appearances.
Here are the top 10 QBs in Ruiz’s rankings:
1) Tom Brady
2) Joe Montana
3) Peyton Manning
4) Brett Favre
5) Drew Brees
6) John Elway
7) Johnny Unitas
8) Dan Marino
9) Bart Starr
10) Roger Staubach
There a four other former Niners that made Ruiz’s top 100. John Brodie (No. 37), Alex Smith (No. 45), Steve DeBerg (No. 62) and Jeff Garcia (No. 66) are all on the list.
What do you think of Ruiz’s rankings? Where do you have Montana and Young on your list?