Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Great Debate: Joe Montana vs. Tom Brady

No matter what happens come February 5, 2012, I think it's safe to say that just by suiting up for the Super Bowl future Hall of Famer Tom Brady is further cement his legacy in the National Football League.

Anyone and everyone outside of the New England area seems to be a Tom Brady hater. I hear fans say it's because the league treats him very well, but I think it's simply because they wish they were him. That's usually why people hate another person: jealousy.

Brady has what every man in the United States is dying to have: good looks, hot wife, perfect life as the league's best quarterback, money. What more could you want? Now he is one win away from surpassing Joe Montana as the most decorated postseason quarterback in NFL history.

This will be his fifth appearance in the Super Bowl, which ties Denver's John Elway with most by a quarterback in the history of the league. With his 23-20 win over Baltimore on Sunday, despite his two almost-costly interceptions, Brady tied the legendary Montana with most-ever postseason victories at 16. Only difference between Brady and Elway, and Brady and Montana? Brady has more rings than Elway and Brady has a better winning percentage (regular season and postseason) than Montana.
I'm not a Patriots fan or a Brady lover, but you have to respect what he's done over the last 12 seasons. Elway played 16 years and captured two rings in his final two years in the league, and Montana played 15 years, won four Super Bowls and three SB MVPs spread throughout his career. In just 12 seasons in the league, Brady has won three Super Bowls and earned two Super Bowl MVP awards.

And you have to take in to consideration that he has only played nine complete seasons (didn't start in his rookie season, 14 starts in first SB season in 2001 and suffered season-ending injury in Week 1 game of 2008 season). His list of accomplishments seems endless:

  • Two-time AP NFL MVP ('07, '10)
  • Seven-time Pro Bowler
  • Two-time First team All Pro, one-time Second team All Pro
  • Three-time Super Bowl champion
  • Two-time Super Bowl MVP
  • Five-time AFC Champion
  • SI Sportsman of the Year (2005)
  • NFL Comeback Player of the Year (2009)
Some of his records include most passing touchdowns in a single-season (50), most consecutive passing attempts without an interception (358), most consecutive postseason wins (10), most TDs in one half in a postseason game (5) and fewest starts to achieve 100 career wins (131 starts).

He also became the only quarterback in history to win three Super Bowls before the age of 28. Of course he received help from his supporting cast, because there's no way one guy has the ability to make that much of an impact in a team sport such as football. But the idea that Brady managed to help keep the Pats as contenders each and every year since his second season is quite a feat in itself.
Now, it's time for the Brady/Montana comparisons (career in regular season):

Montana (164 starts in 15 seasons): 117-47 record, 63.2%, 40,551 yards, 273 TDs, 139 INT, 92.3 QBR, 26 fourth quarter comebacks, 28 game-winning drives

Brady (159 starts in 12 seasons): 124-35 record, 63.8%, 39,979 yards, 300 TDs, 115 INT, 96.4 QBR, 24 fourth quarter comebacks, 34 game-winning drives

If Brady's superior record, TD total and overall rating weren't enough to prove that Brady has accomplished more with less, then perhaps his postseason numbers will suffice:

Montana (23 starts): 16-7 record, 62.7%, 5,772 yards, 45 TDs, 21 INT, 95.6 QBR

Brady (21 starts): 16-5 record, 62.8%, 5,009 yards, 36 TDs, 19 INT, 87.6 QBR

The only number that truly matters, I believe, when comparing the two is number of rings. Montana currently sits atop with Pittsburgh's Terry Bradshaw with four Super Bowls.

However, if Brady is able to knock off Eli Manning and the Giants I think it's safe to say we have a new King of the Postseason. And he doesn't go by the name of Joe Montana.

Photo credit
Montana: found on
Brady: found on

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