The Buccaneers’ quarterback gets the nod of approval to keep playing football from Joe Montana.
Long before Tom Brady was considered the greatest quarterback of all time, there was another player that held that title – Joe Montana, who just so happens to have been Brady’s childhood idol. A well-known factoid is that Brady attended “The Catch” game when Montana found Dwight Clark in the back of the end-zone to beat the Dallas Cowboys in the 1981 NFC Championship game. Brady was four years old.
Brady grew up in San Mateo, a city that sits just south of the city that Montana made famous – San Francisco. Throughout his career, Brady has spoken many times about Montana’s influence in his childhood, and into his career. The Comeback Kid learned his comeback ways by watching the man who was known as “Joe Cool” for always staying level-headed when behind in a game.
The two greatest quarterbacks to ever don the NFL shield had pretty similar careers. The similarities started with their respective drafts as Montana was drafted in the third round of the 1979 NFL Draft, and Brady was drafted late in the sixth round of the 2000 NFL Draft. Upon entering the NFL, neither one of them was expected to do great things in the league. They were considered more of a “systems” quarterback. The comparisons don’t stop there.
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In Montana’s rookie season, he played in all 16 games but only started in one, sitting behind Steve DeBerg. In 1980 Montana assumed the starting role, and as they say, the rest is history. Once he had the starting position, he never looked back. In his first two seasons as a starter, Montana led the league in completion percentage, and his third year starting, he led the entire NFL in touchdown passes.
As for Brady, he sat behind Drew Bledsoe during his rookie season, but when Bledsoe went down due to injury, Brady took over the controls, and much like Montana, he never looked back. In his third year, Brady also led the league in touchdown passes.
Both of these quarterbacks also left the team that formed them. For Montana, he left the sunny state of California to play for the Kansas City Chiefs. As for Brady, he left Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots to take his talents to the Bay area of Florida, and play for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
It’s kind of ironic that Montana left the bay area of California to play in the frigid cold of Kansas City, while Brady left the frigid cold of New England to play in the bay area of Florida.
Another similarity is that both of them achieved great things at their new teams. Tom Brady took the Buccaneers to the Super Bowl and won the organization’s second championship, and while Montana never won a Super Bowl with the Chiefs, he did take them to the AFC Championship game in 1993.
Let’s not forget their college ties. Joe Montana played for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, while Brady played for the Michigan Wolverines. Anyone who knows anything about football knows the hated rivalry between those two schools.
Both of these all-time greats have multiple Super Bowls, with multiple game-winning drives. While Brady has three more Super Bowls than Montana, there was a time when it didn’t look like Brady would ever have the same amount of Super Bowls as Montana. Within the first six years of his career, Brady had already won three Super Bowls, but it wasn’t until a decade later, when the Patriots beat the Seahawks, that he would have as many rings as Montana.
As we all know, Brady now has three more rings than Montana, and that should have been enough for Brady to hang his cleats up. Besides, his wife asked him, “What more do you have to prove?” Apparently, there’s still a lot left for him to prove and Montana is giving him the nod to keep playing.
On Wednesday night, Montana told Fox News that his advice to Tom Brady is to, “Play as long as you can. Because once it’s over, it’s over.” If Brady ever needed more motivation to keep playing, this is it! Throughout his career, Montana dealt with several injuries, but as for Brady, he has remained relatively healthy. It seems as though Montana has some regrets.
That’s it, folks, the GOAT conversation is over
Before Brady was widely regarded as the GOAT, Montana held that status for decades. He went 4-0 in Super Bowls and he transformed the 49ers into a dynasty. Montana didn’t talk about his status as the GOAT very often, but this week he officially gave his blessing to Tom Brady to assume the title.
On ESPN’s First Take, Montana said, “I think Tom has taken his place on the top up there a long time ago…” He continued on about Brady’s career and what it means, “I think it puts him definitely up there at the top of the list.”
It’s not that Brady needed it, he has three more Super Bowls, he has nearly 40,000 more passing yards, and hundreds of more passing touchdowns. It’s not necessarily that Brady needed it, but there’s no doubt that he wanted it, desperately. Now more than ever, it’s time to crown Brady as the greatest quarterback to ever play the game, and if you have a problem with it, take it up with Joe Cool Montana.