I fully respect New England Patriots owner Tom Kraft for lionizing his starting quarterback Tom Brady, but unfortunately his opinions are 100% inaccurate. On August 31st, 2015 Kraft told NFL.com:
I think that Tommy, with all due respect, is better than Joe Montana. I know that’s a leap, but I really think he might already be the best of all time. I watch how involved he is, how driven he is. He’s like Belichick, he’s into the details. And he’s got a skill that makes him so special; he can process all of it so quickly. And then, he’s just got that quality. Certain people have that sincerity. He’s a very genuine guy. People can relate to him. People can trust him.
I can imagine being around Brady for over a decade is amazing. He’s obviously very physically gifted, he’s a tremendous leader, he’s certainly an extremely hard worker, he’s done things no other quarterback has ever done before, and most especially he’s made Kraft a hell of a lot of money. It’s easy to see how Kraft could be biased towards his employee, but by no measure is Brady the best ever. Sorry Mr. Kraft, sorry deluded Patriots fan, and sorry love struck bimbos who think Brady is oh so dreamy. Just to be fair, here is a completely objective comparison of Brady to Montana.
Who can argue against perfection?
4-0 vs. 3-2*
This essentially ends the argument. Montana has never lost a Super Bowl, has 3 MVPs in those games, and has never thrown an interception in his four appearances. Essentially he rises to the occasion when the stakes are highest. Brady is in rare company with his 3 championships, but 2 blemishes means he will never equal Joe. This is no different than Kobe Bryant’s quest to equal MJ. Michael Jordan never lost in the finals, yet Kobe has already lost twice. No matter how many rings he wins, they will never be on the same plane. What’s most glaring about Brady’s losses is that they are to the same person, Eli Manning. Manning has played four less years than Brady, assuming he wins another Super Bowl and Brady does not, his record in the big game would be 3-0. Would this not usurp Brady’s playoff accomplishments? Think about that for a second.
It’s actually still possible Eli could surpass Brady
By standard measures Brady’s stats are far superior to Montana’s. Career yards, TDs, completion percentage, QB rating, yards/game, and interceptions all favor Brady. The same is true if one looks at single season yards, TDs, completions, and rating. The problem with stats is that they don’t tell the whole story. NFL rules make it exponentially easier to be successful in the passing game now versus in Montana’s time, so things are not comparable. Furthermore teams pass on a much higher percentage of their downs than ever in NFL history. From 1979-1990 Montana led the NFL in yards, TDs, completions, and completion percentage. In Brady’s career he is only 4th in yards, 2nd in TDs, 4th in completions, and 9th in completion percentage. So using raw numbers Brady has an advantage, but if one compares each to their contemporaries, Montana is superior, or at least not inferior.
Since his career began, Tom Brady has faced the following Hall of Fame defenders: Darrell Green (who was a bit player and non-starter by Brady’s 2001 beginning), Bruce Smith, Rod Woodson, John Randle, and Deion Sanders. All of these guys were shells of their former selves by the time they faced Brady. Potential HOFs that are Brady’s contemporaries are Michael Strahan, Troy Palamalu, Ed Reed, Ray Lewis, and Demarcus Ware. Montana has faced: Jack Ham, Alan Page, Mel Blount, Ted Hendricks, Jack Lambert, Randy White, Lee Roy, Selmon, Mike Haynes, Mike Singletary, Lawrence Taylor, Howie Long, Jack Youngblood, Dan Hampton, Elvin Bethea, Reggie White, Darrell Green (when he was actually good), Andre Tippett, Bruce Smith, Rod Woodson, Rickey Jackson, John Randle, Richard Dent, Deion Sanders, Chris Doleman, and Cortez Kennedy. Granted Montana didn’t face all of these guys every year, it just shows that his path to offensive success was much more encumbered than Brady’s was.
Brady couldn’t defeat a 27th ranked NY Giants defense … not very strong competition
In a very rudimentary argument, if Brady is less successful than Montana in the clutch, isn’t the most statistically superior quarterback of all-time, and has faced clearly inferior defensive competition it’s pretty hard to call him the best ever. There’s no denying he’s an all-time great, but Mr. Kraft’s superlatives are quite a bit unfounded.
*Editor’s note: Brady now has one more Super Bowl win bringing his record to 4-2.