Joe Montana

Coping with the Brady-Montana narrative

Tom Brady

This post is probably a gigantic waste of time and energy, like going out into the ocean and trying to stop a wave with the palm of your hand or chaining yourself to an oil tanker in an attempt to curb global warming.

The New England Patriots defeated the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl 49, a game in which 49ers fans had to make the not-so-difficult decision between rooting for an obnoxious division rival whose incessant bragging if they won back-to-back championships would have driven us to Shutter Island, and a dynasty that would never, ever cease to be compared to the 49ers of the ’80s if they won their fourth Lombardi Trophy.

So the Seahawks’ ridiculous relationship with the football gods finally went sour at just the perfect moment, we got a shot of Richard Sherman watching the world crumble before his eyes, and as if this gorgeous schadenfreude cake needed a cherry on top, we got that in the form of a nice little goal line brawl to end the game. It was all beautiful, and it’s all discussion for another post entirely.

What I’m here to contend with now is the Montana v. Brady debate that will surely unfurl for all of our pleasure Monday morning from 9-noon on KNBR Theee Sports Leader. It’s really an unbearable discussion that we’ll all be forced to sit through at many points during the course of our enthusiasm for football, because it’s an easy talking point that never dies and rarely fails to be relevant when all others do:

So now Brady has as many championships as Montana! GOAT

But he has two losses! Montana doesn’t. Suck it!

Whatever dude, Brady has thrown more touchdowns in the big game.  BOOM.

And Brady has thrown more picks like a real deal chump. Montana? NONE.

But Brady had no weapons – Wes Welkah? Deion Branch? Old man Randy Moss? Montana had RICE. RIIIICE bro.

Montana had Rice for two of them. And Moss wasn’t exactly washed up at that point in his career. CHUCH.

Whatevah, Chief. Tawm is bettah.


It’s sort of like that. Both points of view are equally terrible and tired. The trouble with comparing quarterbacks’ legacies is that you usually have to cross eras to do so, and the trouble with crossing eras is the constantly changing landscape of the National Football League. Sure, the rules now overwhelmingly favor the offense. Receivers got molested in Montana’s time. And yes, Montana did have Rice, who is most definitely the greatest wide receiver of all time — something you could never call any wide receiver the Patriots have ever had unless you’re @PFTCommenter talking about Julian Edelman.

The hard truth for 49ers fans here is that Brady very well may be Montana’s equal, and perhaps his superior, but we’ll never know, and to argue over it and cling to the notion that no one will ever surpass Joe Cool will eventually drive you to insanity. He won’t hold that crown forever. No one does. Hell, the next Tom Brady is probably throwing perfect spirals at spray painted circles on his fence as I write this, getting ready to transfer to Serra High and, eventually, take the NFL by storm.

And what’s worse: this Patriots victory will ensure yet another narrative, this one involving the two franchises as a whole.


Both teams are eerily similar in their success, and the talking points on this bad boy are just as bad as the former. The conspiracies surrounding the Patriots are all just poorly constructed straw men that 49ers fans will set up to try and devalue the Patriots’ truly special achievements, when the truth is that both can be enjoyed separately because they took place in LITERALLY TWO DIFFERENT CENTURIES.

Yes, the Patriots cheated, and they probably would have won Super Bowls without filming practices and deflating footballs because they’ve got one of the greatest coaches in NFL history, one of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history and a track record of excellent personnel maintenance.

So go for it: call 808-KNBR tomorrow and try to talk over Uncle Gary in defense of Montana if you wish, but ultimately you’ll never be right and you’ll never be wrong either. People always say debates like these are what make sports fun, but to me they’re just another reason that Advil stays in business.

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