You don’t need any reminder of this, but in terms of best players the SF 49ers have had in the Super Bowl, Joe Montana stands alone.
Super Bowl LV is about to kick off, and the game between the Kansas City Chiefs and Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Feb. 7 will feature two GOAT-like players, one of the elder variety in Bucs quarterback Tom Brady, and the other being the young phenom, quarterback Patrick Mahomes of KC.
SF 49ers fans have hopefully relinquished the idea Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Montana is the greatest quarterback to ever play the game. Brady, despite actually losing Super Bowls in his career, probably surpassed Montana a while ago. After all, Brady is appearing in his 10th Super Bowl and already has six rings to his credit.
Montana, meanwhile, only saw four such games although winning all four is a bit of a bragging right.
Still, when thinking about the Niners’ own Super Bowl GOAT, there’s no one else quite like Montana.
Sure, Hall of Famers like wide receiver Jerry Rice and quarterback Steve Young could be thrown into the discussion. After all, Rice owns three Super Bowl rings of his own, 512 receiving yards with San Francisco during those contests with seven touchdowns, and he should have been the MVP of both Super Bowls XXIII and XXIV over the Cincinnati Bengals and Denver Broncos, respectively, and not just the former.
Yet Montana seized that accolade in Super Bowl XXIV, one of three such awards he received in his lofty career.
Young deserves praise for his six-touchdown performance — a new record at the time — in Super Bowl XXIX. But when looking at him versus Montana, it’s not even close.
SF 49ers fans may have forgotten just how good Joe Montana was in Super Bowls
With the passing time and thanks to the emergence of players like Brady and Mahomes, it’s understandable why some fans, including those of San Francisco, might have forgotten the laurels of Montana’s greatness. Aside from just knowing who he is and understanding he was the quarterback of the greatest era in SF 49ers football, it might be easy to forget what he actually did on the field during those four Super Bowl wins.
Case in point, Montana still owns the highest-career passer rating in Super Bowl games — 127.8. In contrast, Brady’s Super Bowl passer rating leading up to Sunday is only 95.6.
Part of that reason is due to Brady’s six Super Bowl interceptions thrown. Montana, meanwhile, never tossed a Super Bowl interception. Not one.
True, Brady owns the NFL’s record for most Super Bowl touchdown passes with 18. But it shouldn’t come as too big a surprise Montana is behind him in second place with 11, and the fact Montana did so in five fewer Super Bowls is quite “the accomplishment.”
Yes, let’s remember that AT&T commercial, shall we?
Brady’s biggest Super Bowl challenge awaits him in facing off against Mahomes, easily the top quarterback in any rankings system today.
Before that, however, Brady’s list of quarterbacks beaten in Super Bowls was Kurt Warner, Jake Delhomme, Donovan McNabb, Jared Goff, Matt Ryan and Russell Wilson — all good names, but only one or two of the others, Ryan and Wilson, will ever join Warner in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Montana, meanwhile, had to outduel Hall of Famers Dan Marino and John Elway, widely viewed well within the top 10 of any all-time quarterbacking list, along with the 1988 MVP, Boomer Esiason, along with the impressive-but-overlooked Ken Anderson.
Yup, Montana had to overcome some of the greatest quarterbacks ever, too. That’s still something Brady will face.
True, hardly anyone now will question Brady’s greatness. And it’s something fans could end up saying about Mahomes 10 years from now, too.
But while you’re pondering that, just go back and remember just how special Montana was. Every factor adds up to that statement.