Tom Brady is the greatest … if you don’t count Joe Montana

I can prove Joe Montana still is the greatest quarterback of all time.

But before I do, you should know The Press Democrat’s Phil Barber recently wrote a strong, compelling column arguing why Tom Brady is the greatest quarterback of all time. I recommend you read it. He compared the two quarterbacks based on physical ability, stats, supporting cast and competition.

I will use my own criteria to make my case for Montana.

The way I see it, you can’t even begin this debate until you account for the different eras Montana and Brady played in. Because, even though Montana and Brady both are quarterbacks, they may as well have played different sports.

Click here to read the rest of my column.

This article has 299 Comments

    1. Plagiarized. Not completely. But it was lifted. I should know, I ran all the numbers and posted in many places during the week of the Super Bowl. That’s the raw data from my spreadsheet.

      Montana Brady
      81.1 67.8 19.62% 2001 86.5 76.6 12.92%
      1980 87.8 71.3 23.14% 85.7 78.6 9.03%
      88.4 70.5 25.39% 85.9 76.6 12.14%
      88 70.6 24.65% 92.6 80.9 14.46%
      94.6 73.1 29.41% 92.3 78.2 18.03%
      102.9 73.2 40.57% 87.9 78.5 11.97%
      1985 91.3 70.7 29.14% 117.2 80.9 44.87%
      80.7 71.5 12.87% 83.9 81.5 2.94%
      1987 102.1 72.6 40.63% 96.2 81.2 18.47%
      87.9 70.6 24.50% 111 82.2 35.04%
      112.4 73.3 53.34% 105.6 82.5 28.00%
      89 75 18.67% 98.7 83.8 17.78%
      91 0 87.3 84.1 3.80%
      92 118.4 97.4 87.1 11.83%
      87.4 74.5 17.32% 102.2 88.4 15.61%
      83.6 76.7 9.00% 112.2 87.6 28.08%
      102.8 85.1 20.80%

      101140.00% 368.24%
      7224.29% 26.30% 97.6 81.9882352941 1.1904146936

      It’s obviously way messy. But you can see the 26.3% Montana is over his contemporaries vs the 19.0% Brady is…

      1. Also, the greatest PLAYOFF QB is Bart Starr, not Tom Brady, not Joe Montana. Bart Starr. That was much easier.

        But, FWIW, Montana was a better playoff QB than Brady too. And in that case, just in RAW NUMBERS, never mind adjusting for era.

  1. I’m a Packers fan so I have no dog in this fight. But no one in their right mind believes Montana is the greatest quarterback of all time. That goes to Mr. Tom Brady and it’s not even close bro. Because he has more time to prepare? Really? How many Hall of Famer‘s did your Montana play with on both sides of the ball! Let it go San Francisco every analyst, coach, player knows that the Montana /Brady debate ended years ago, it’s not even close guys. The point is to win and nobody has one more than Tom Brady and nobody has one more when it’s matter the most in the postseason, it’s not even close. Touchdowns not even close! Seriously San Francisco you’re better than this Tom Brady is the greatest quarterback we will ever see spanning over two decades. In the cap salary free agent market era where he literally has new pieces to integrate year in and year out!

    1. “The point is to win and nobody has one more than Tom Brady and nobody has one more when it’s matter the most in the postseason, it’s not even close.”

      Is Terry Bradshaw as good as Montana?
      Is Trent Dilfer better than Dan Marino?

      1. Joe Montana played in an era when the rules weren’t heavily skewed in favor the QB. If Brady had played in Montana’s day, he would have:

        A) Wilted like a dead begonia
        B) Folded like a cheap suit
        C) Caved like a house of cards
        D) Sunk like a lead balloon

        Take your pick!

        1. Brady is stylish, so no B.
          He’s got a mansion, so no C.
          The balloon wouldn’t get off the ground to begin with because of underinflation, so no D.

          Begonia it is.

    2. Joe F’ing Montana doesn’t lose SB’s, and he surely doesn’t throw pick 6’s in them let alone a pick. Go back to your cheese curds!

      1. No he lost in the NFC championship game or in the wildcard round the other years.

        I love this argument, as if the years Montana lost earlier in the playoffs or didn’t make them at all was somehow better than going to the Super Bowl and losing.

        I’m a die hard niner fan but truth is Montana had a far superior supporting cast.

        Grant the limitation to your argument is the assumption that passer rating is a true reflection of quarterback play. It may be more “individual” based than wins are, but it is still affected by the performance of players other than the quarterback.

        1. Sounds like you’re a dead head 49ers fan. The facts are the facts, and the facts are that Brady threw 5 int’s, and one returned for a TD. Brady’s SB record, 5-3. Joe’s SB record 4-0, or as we say, un-motherf-ing defeated. Put that on your tombstone….

          1. Sorry for the delay, I was talking to the tombstone store about your suggestion.

            Just to make sure I follow your logic, if say, Joe Montana had managed to win the 1983 NFC championship game instead of losing to the Redskins, and then gone on to lose the Super Bowl, you would consider him a worse quarterback? With that logic I would be careful about calling anyone else a dead head.

    3. “In the cap salary free agent market era where he literally has new pieces to integrate year in and year out!”

      Sure, but be fair. The opposing defenses have had just as much roster turnover. Brady didn’t have to go up against legenday defenses like Joe did. The 80’s Bears and Giants defenses were pretty good.

      Another thing. The NFC won 13 straight Super Bowls during Montana’s career. How many Super Bowl appearances would Joe have had if the 49ers were in the AFC?

        1. And BTW.. TB and Arron Rodgers were big Joe fans, both grew up in norcal Idolizing Montana…Yes Joe Montana…. MONTANA = GOAT

            1. “The NFC had a good run.”

              Yeah, that was my point, and my statement was accurate. Your statement however…

              “The AFC has been dominant in Super Bowls for the last 20 years.”

              I wouldn’t call 60% dominant. I don’t think anyone else would call 60% dominant.

            2. The Niners had a good run. 20 years of pro sports dominance. Without a doubt, Joe Montana is the GOAT. Sure, he made his run during the pre-salary cap era, but the rules of the game were different back then. Quarterbacks weren’t bubble-wrapped by way of the rule book. Receivers weren’t protected by contact rules designed to turn the league into the quarterback driven league it has become. And Joe didn’t have the luxury of competing in a relatively soft conference. Montana was always cool as a cucumber, and at his best on the biggest stage, never losing a SB. 4 W-0 L, throwing 12 TD’s without a single pick. During that time the 49ers were never caught filming opponent walkthroughs (once a cheat, always a cheat) subsequently gaining an unfair advantage. Joe Montana is the GOLD STANDARDi of which all QB should be judged! Tom Brady ….. not so much, due to the outline above.

              1. Back to the draft, here’s the case for Tremaine Edmunds:

                I don’t see any high impact ILB’s slated for FA, and due to recents events regarding the 49ers ultra-talented but troubled Linebacker, the 49ers can ill afford not to address the position in a serious way this offseason. Enter Virginia Tech all-purpose linebacker Tremaine Edmunds:

                Edmunds combines elite size, speed and explosiveness into a productive, versatile linebacker package with All-Pro potential in any alignment, and at any linebacker spot on Robert Saleh’s defense. Edmunds has incredible range with his combination of size/length to go along with cat-like movement skills, making him a dynamic prospect at the WILL or MIKE position in the 49ers scheme. Not only that, he has the strength required to play the SAM, and the athletic qualities (nice burst, high-twitch, long-rangy limbs, with the flexibility required on the edge) suited to lineup at on the other side of the 49ers defensive line at the LEO.

                Edmunds oozes with talent, possessing the requisite instincts to go along with the kind of length you simply don’t see from an ILB. By all accounts he’s a high character guy, and about as sure-of-a-thing as you will find in a college NFL prospect. I’ve seen a number of mock drafts pegging the 49ers as a perfect fit for arguably one of the most talented defensive players in this years draft class. There are a number of physical CB’s who can be had in the first few rounds, and, though OG is certainly a pressing need, Garoppolo’s innate pocket presence, combined with the quickest release in the business, has already done wonders for their current group of offensive linemen. I think a defensive chess piece like edmunds would arguably have more of an impact for the 49ers than an OL, simply because of Jimmy’s ability to make his linemen better. And defense wins championships!

              2. Edmunds is being hyped up, and imho overrated. He doesn’t process information well, and for all this talk of “elite” athletic talent, I’ve seen him get roasted by receivers downfield….

              3. You’re up early Razor. Have you had enough coffee? Lol

                I know, I know, he’s no Q. Nelson, and its Nelson or bust for you. Edmunds is an instance where BPA meets NEED for the 49ers front 7. Sure, Nelson may be BPA meets NEED as well, but we’ve seen how much better Jimmy makes his OL, so I say Edmunds is the pick, and I think he will be. Defense wins Championships. Stay tuned.

              4. Has nothing to do with Major Nelson. Edmunds won’t be the pick because he lacks instincts. He’s being hyped up. Check out his tape against the Mountaineers and Clemson(Renfrow exposes his “elite” talent on a simple out and in route).

              5. I get it when players get hyped up undeservingly after they blow up the combine. This kid is being hyped up by scouts due to his game film. He’s such a uniquely versatile defender, and can do so many things in Saleh’s scheme, I don’t see how the 49ers pass on him.

              6. Edmunds is definitely not top 10 talent. You can post all the “experts” you want. I’m not buying it. I’d take Smith over him every week and twice on Sundays….

              7. Nope, not in Saleh’s defense! Edmunds will be the pick if Barkley is off the board. Book it, and take it to the bank!

              8. How much would you like to wager that you’ll change your mind on the pick, just as you did in the last draft? Probably 10 times between now and then…lol.

              9. We’re pre-free agency and pre-combine. All mocks are subject to change at this stage Razor.

                Brew yourself another cup of J, and go for a morning walk. lol

              10. Gonna make that limb of mine a little heavier. I guarantee neither Barkley, nor Edmunds will be the pick at 9 or 10….

              11. I think you need a brisk morning’s breath of fresh air Razor. And maybe a fresh look at your big board. Get your crosstrainers on and get out for a walk. I think those morning cobwebs are inhibiting your brain function. Oxygen does wonders for the synapsis. lol.

              12. We will see come draft day. Also, the combine is mostly for entertainment. There’s only a handful of drills that actually have any bearing on a players draft status. Interviews are very important, which we are not privy to. Also drug testing and medical evaluations carry a lot of weight. There aren’t many LB’s in F/A that the 49ers can sign that will affect whether or not they decide to draft a LB at 9 or 10. If they do, which I don’t think they will due to position value/depth, it will be Smith, not Edwards….

              13. NinerNoise: Edmunds is the whole package, and I’m not sure why he isn’t getting more recognition. But as a team picking at the tail end of the top 10, that’s a good thing for the 49ers. If he’s still on the board, this would be a NO-BRAINER pick for general manager John Lynch. Will the Edmunds fall to the 49ers? We’ll have to wait until April to find out, but pairing him with Foster would anchor their defense for years to come. Looking at the current draft order, the threat of someone stealing Edmunds (ahead of the Niners) would be the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Chicago Bears.

                Take it to the bank Razor!

              14. I DON’T CARE what Ninernoise says. I trust my own eyes, and I do not believe he’s this “Superman” that people are gushing over….

              15. I get it Razor. You’ve made up your mind on Tremaine Edmunds and Saquon Barkley, experts be damned. What can I say to that, other than mark my words, and watch and learn.

              16. As for the combine …. I fully understand that NFL talent evaluators & scouts evaluate game film first, and foremost, when setting their boards. Whatever happens at the combine simply adds some additional context to what the game film shows. It’s all about what they’ve seen in person, and/or on tape. However, after both Edmunds and Barkley set themselves apart at the combine both physically, and socially, their draft stock will only rise in the eyes of the men in charge of making the decisions come late April. Because you can mark my words, those two football players will stand out like men among boys, at the scouting combine!

              17. Its easy to fall in love with great athletes. When they make big plays they tend to be standout plays. Barkley and Edmunds are both great athletes.

                I see what razor sees. Both guys are being overhyped based on their physical abilities and highlight reel plays. But both guys need to get better in the mental processing department.

                It was the same with Jabrill Peppers last year, but his hype train went off the rails due to people not knowing what position he would play. I still think Peppers can be a good player, but he needs to be kept near the LOS and have things kept fairly simple for him (of course the Browns being the Browns tried to make him a FS). I suspect Edmunds will be the same to start his career.

              18. Not the same as Peppers Scooter, the majority of scouts I do follow, felt that Peppers was a man without a defined position in the NFL. Great athlete, but not a great football player first, and certainly a tweener, regardless of his hybrid status. When a player’s NFL role is questionable at an NFL level pre draft, it’s an entirely different story in terms of projecting a players success at the next level.

                When the innate talent is everything you look for in terms of the elite qualities that currently define great NFL players at their respective positions, and only then matched by the elite pure athletic ability that few players at their positions possess, combined with charecter, drive and determination (see saquon Barkley pre draft mindset: Saquon Barkley’s approach to the combine sign of franchise changing passion), do you end up with an elite NFL prospect, and a sure fire All-Pro, capable of defining a franchise.

                And to have an elite, potentially elite generation-defining talent at QB in Jimmy, and a potentially elite generation-defining RB like Barkley, who can simply lineup anywhere on the field, you would have the most potent QB/RB/Slot Reciever/wherever-you-want-him offensive weapon combination in the league, and simply unstoppable under Kyle Shanahan!

              19. Yeah, look, I do understand the love for Barkley (and Edmunds). I do. I just think both guys are getting a little overhyped.

                Barkley’s upside is Barry Sanders. So yeah, obviously if he pans out he will be great. But I just have some reservations about RBs that always look for the big play rather than take what is there. Even for the great ones like Barry Sanders this can lead to putting your team in bad down and distances too often for my liking. Because as great as Sanders was, he was also part of the problem the Lions had as he could be a drive killer. He was feast or famine. I don’t want that type of RB. I would go for Emmitt Smith over Barry Sanders every time. And with Barkley, you can see time and again he is looking to make the big play rather than take the yards that are there.

                With Edmunds, I like him. I think there is a lot of talent there. But he is also quite raw still. He doesn’t display great instincts all the time. But he certainly shows flashes. He is a high upside, low floor prospect. And for mine he is not the type of risk the 49ers can afford to take just now. Not at #9 anyway. He would be a luxury pick, and the 49ers don’t have that luxury.


                Saquon Barkley’s special talent as a ball carrier has been on display since his days at Whitehall High School, PA, where he developed a legendary reputation for going over, around, and through would-be tacklers. He rushed for 3,646 yards with 63 touchdowns in his sophomore through senior year, including a dominating senior season in which he amassed 1,856 yards and 31 touchdowns for the Zephyrs. His rushing talent has always been undeniable, however the 2016 Heisman Trophy candidate has always had another skill set in his back pocket, one that had become abundantly evident in 2017. During Penn State’s 56-0 throttling of Georgia State, Barkley quietly became Penn State’s all-time leader in receiving yards by a running back, his 804 yards passing Tony Hunt’s previous mark of 799. This in just 28 career games (compared to 39).

                Penn State’s Saquon Barkley is a natural pass catcher, we all know this. He’s not unique in that regard. It’s something else entirely though, when an NFL RB prospect looks the part of a polished NFL slot receiver. Barkley’s ability to gain separation at the top of his routes, gaining leverage on his defenders with every inch, is made possible by way of his elite short-area quickness, combined with proper footwork, square shoulders, and the ability to sink his hips deep, changing direction as he cuts on a dime, while he accelerates through his breaks. His head on a swivel, wasting no time locating the football, before extending his arms and using his hands, like a lizard uses his tongue to snatch a fly, catching the football away from his body. No false steps, and never leaving his feet when he doesn’t have to.

                Saquon Barkley is the ultimate OW. He’s one part Barry Sanders, one part Marshal Faulk, one part Bo Jackson, and one part Superman. And he’s absolutely driven to be the best football player, best teammate, and best person he can possibly be. Barkley is entering the NFL with all of the promise in the world. A prospect so good, that he seems like he might not even be real, so good that the NFL’s 2016 leading rusher- Ezekiel Elliot himself, described his talent as “unreal”. A prospect so good, that the NFL seems destine to be his world. And soon, the rest of will simply be spectators to his world.

              21. This last post was for you Scooter. I was hoping to get your approval as I do respect your opinion. I hope you don’t think I am over embellishing Barkley’s resume. It doesn’t seem over-the-top does it? lol

              22. Yes, there is just a bit of “fan boy” speak coming out ;-)

                I completely agree with all the reports that say Barkley is an incredible athlete and an excellent receiver out of the backfield. 100%. I just don’t like that he is such a feast or famine runner due to his desire to always look for the big play. He has a bad habit of not following his blocks as a result. I think he would really struggle in an offense that uses a FB like Shanahan’s, as the FB will just get in his way. Like Sanders, he should play in a lone back system.

                My current desire for the #9/ #10 pick is either Nelson or Connor Williams. I want the OL fixed. But if they go a different direction I would look at DE or CB, depending on what they do in FA.

                My smokey pick if he falls would be Minkah Fitzpatrick, but not to play CB. He could be the single high FS the D needs. Move Ward back to CB.

    4. Everything you just said is by far the worst I’ve ever heard in this debate. Being a GB fan you’d think you would know great qb play. I highly doubt you ever watched Joe play. And what are you doin on a 49er page anyways?

    5. Alex~
      Brady IS the best QB in the salary cap era. But he never had to deal with some of juggernauts that Montana had to go against. The league allowed teams to get as good as they possibly could be-and it showed.
      Every “great” team nowadays has some kind of flaw, an area where they clearly could use an upgrade. Not so in Montana’s day.
      Just one example of many: If the statue that is Brady (who moves like 3rd class mail) had to go against the ’84, ’85 or ’86 Bears, he would have been taken out of the game on a stretcher.

  2. Grant– wow…I’d have thought you’d wait a few more weeks to play the Joe vs. Tom card…
    you know, when we get to the 1 article per week period…
    oh well, you’ve gotta save up these chum churner’s for the long wait to the combine…
    we should be hearing from Jack & Rocket soon with the pro Brady statistical rebuttal to your narrative…

      1. Bill Walsh orchestrated the charge on how the game was played today. With out Bill Walsh and the WCO Joe probably doesn’t even get an opportunity to play. Most of you are too young to have been old enough to have evaluated his play objectively any way. That includes you Grant.

        1. Joe did do one, perhaps two noteworthy things at Notre Dame ……………………………Joe’s incredible accuracy, timing, and “3rd Eye” have been noted by a few people who know the sport-not including he was a pretty fair athlete. He received an all expense paid scholarship to play Basketball at N. Carolina before he chose N.D. and Football.

  3. Montana is my #1 favorite of all time.

    But to play devil’s advocate…
    – When Montana was playing many said the game was less physical than when Johnny Unitas played. That “Johnny U” was still the all time best.

    – Montana played mostly in pre-salary cap days. The team was stacked. Throwing to a guy recently lauded as the best football player in history… at any position. Not just receiver.

    – Montana’s coach was light-years ahead of his nearest rival during his era.

    Additional argument for Montana
    – Montana had to beat other pre-salary cap super teams just to get to the Super Bowl. These were some of the best defenses in history Montana was facing. For a long stretch the NFCCG was the Super Bowl.

    1. My point exactly, Brodie…

      Montana routinely faced stacked defenses, stacked teams-because the league allowed it. Now its all about parity.

  4. If Joe Montana were playing, he’d consume the Patriots with fireballs from his eyes, and bolts of lightning from his arse.

  5. A thoroughly researched and thoughtful piece. Well done Grant. The common denominator approach worked at least for the sake of your arguement.
    An interesting spin-off of the different era point is also to look back further with respect to guys like Otto Graham and Unitas times, although Montana and Stabler faced more intricate zone defenses than their predecessors.
    I’ve come to a peaceful personal resolution on this one: Joe is best of his era, and on the all-time podium with Brady, and IMO Unitas. (I didn’t watch Graham. Was probably watching Howdy Doodey around then.)
    These MegaBlueChipper QBs shared something else, and it’s hard to quantify: the best or one of best Head Coach/Innovators. Didn’t hurt.
    Who’s the GOAT in the NBA? There are guys that cannot be left off, so you’ve got to go by era imo.

  6. During Super Bowl week, I remember reading that the Eagles were the only team the Pats have faced in the SB that was a top 5 team in both offense and defense. We all know how that ended. Brady had two chances to win at the end and he blew it.

    Patriot fans will ignore Brady’s fumble (or blame the OL even though they kept Brady clean for the rest of the game while Tom’s inaccuracy led to the team settling for FGs).

    Long story short. When the Pats win, it’s all Brady. When the Pats lose, it’s not his fault.

    1. Tom’s hubris created that 2 minute drill fumble– he thought he could force the throw, but his windup’s not THAT compact…
      he should have taken the sack, or as we used to say: “eat the ball”

      1. You’re Banned In Boston, dude!
        Told ya 😉
        You’ll be needing an Irish Nom de Plume for that audience. : -)
        (But you’re right about the supporting cast)

    1. Jimmy complains about homerism.
      Links a column from a guy in Boston that wrote a book about the Pats dynasty.

      “Who has Brady thrown too?”

      He had Moss for a while. Remember the 18-1 season? The Giants win is one of the greatest upsets of all time. So that means the Patriots (with Brady) had one of the greatest choke jobs of all time.

          1. No, not the same. But close. And Montana’s rating of 42.0 was far worse than Brady’s rating of 82.5.

            Which brings up another stat. In 37 playoff starts Brady has posted a rating lower than 50 only once (2.5%) compared to 3 by Montana in 23 starts (13%).

              1. Consistency over the ups and downs. More ups with #12. 😉

                Most NFL conference championship appearances by a starting quarterback: 12
                Most NFL conference championship wins by a starting quarterback: 8
                Most career 300+ passing yard games, post-season: 13
                Most game-winning drives in the playoffs: 11
                Most multi-TD passes in the playoffs: 22

              2. Back to the 18-1 season.


                “The New York Giants pulled off what is widely considered the greatest upset in Super Bowl history when they ruined the New England Patriots’ attempt at a perfect season in Super Bowl XLII on Feb. 3, 2008.”

                “The Patriots had enjoyed a perfect season before the Super Bowl behind Tom Brady’s historic season. His 50 touchdown passes in the regular season were the most ever at the time and many thought the Giants had no chance.”

                That record setting offense scored 14 points.

              3. Lol. Who said it doesn’t count? I simply pointed out the consistency of #12, followed by his records.

              4. So if you’re using passer rating in losses to put more blame on Montana, you have to use passer rating in wins to give more credit to Montana. And Brady’s play had less of an impact in the Patriots’ wins.

    2. Who was Montana throwing to? Who has Brady thrown too?

      Half of Joe’s SBs he was throwing to Dwight Clark, Mike Wilson and Freddie Solomon. Giants in Niners lore for sure, but you aren’t going to find any of the above in the hall of fame.

    1. G-Men have to ask themselves, when will they have that high a pick again to address future QB? I’m not sure they will pick a qb, but I would in their place.
      For Bills, sure. Iffy to get a franchise guy at #21. Go for it. I guess they don’t think they’ll be able to sign Brees or Cousins. 🤔

      1. The thing is, Brotha, it makes perfect sense that the Bills would want Rosen because he’s the most Pro Ready and they have a defensive Head Coach. Nobody really there to do the development work necessary for the others….

        1. Oregon, rumour is the Bills want to move up in the top 5 to get a QB. I don’t think the 49ers are a trade partner for the Bills.

  7. Grant
    Well thought out article.
    I am tired of the “look who Montana had to throw to” argument. He won 2 Super Bowls without Rice and Taylor. He had a real weak running game in 1981. He was the difference maker with minimal help on offense from 81-83.
    The best team he was on was in 1989 and they destroyed every team in the playoffs. In the Super Bowl the game was over by half time with the Offense ripping Denver to pieces. Brady’s best team lost in the Sipet Bowl.
    When Joe was traded to KC he made them an excellent team.
    Joe was the greatest QB of his era, and I think the best QB of all time in the NFL.

    1. During those years ( before his first major injury) he was also very mobile. After his injury he became very reliant on his O-line for protection and the system for getting the ball away quickly.

  8. Great article Grant, keep it up bro!!…Montana was the greatest. Marino was damn good, very accurate with speed behind the ball but he didn’t win like Montana. It was great watching those two, good ole days. Brady’s great with his SB wins but he and Montana are in two complete different era’s. Montana gets the nod. It’s Jimmy’s turn.

  9. Watching Edmunds having difficulties getting off blocks, which is more indicative of his lack of processing rather than strength I think. Another example I saw was where the gap opened, he hesitates, feet stop and he gets blown up by the fullback. We’ll see how strong he is at the combine. For being heralded as a freak athlete, he sure had a tough time covering a WR on a vertical route. He got burned. Not sold on this dude as a top ten pick….

  10. Great article Grant well researched and welll written. Thank you! These are articles I love! Just curious, but did you consults your dad and get his opinion and pick his brain on research he did in the past, seems you did multiple levels of reach and curious who and if you consulted with anyone. Thanks again.

    1. rebelscum, Grant didn’t consult with me on this article. He has a deeper knowledge of football than i ever had. We’d be at games and he’d say, ‘Did you see what the free safety did on that play?’ And I’d say, “I was only capable of following the ball.’ He sees all 22. I had a feeling Montana was better than Brady but never could have written this article. Best to you, Lowell

      1. Thank you Lowell! I miss your articles and thoughts. Like Grants pieces at times, I would not agree or make me angry, but always very thought provoken and cause some emotional response. Through the years, I knew you were close or at least spent time with Ira Miller along with Grant. How Grant reached his conclusion in this article spoke to the flavor or way some of yours and Iras past pieces spoke to me as corny as that sounds! I love football but I can not see all 22 at once, what a gift and explains how detailed and passionate he is when he feels a coach or some one gives him a line of bull. Still can’t agree with his logic of suggesting the team trading Jimmy G,but he ends up being right often.

        Glad your trips to New York influenced Grant. As much as he does infuriate me at times about the niners, he is genuine, motivated and his own man. Glad we have him here but will not surprise me once he moves on to bigger and better things! Wish you and the family all the best!

  11. Grant,
    Wow you better get used to being right, thats 2 in a row. Foster….right, Montana…..right Damn you keep being right so much your’e going to take all the fun in going after you about your knowledge.

  12. Who are the great QB’s of this era?
    Brady, Rodgers, Brees, Russell, Carr, Flacco, Newton and Rivers.

    In Montana’ era. Marino, Elway, Fouts, Sims, Essiasen, Kelly, Aikman just to name a handful.
    If we measure era’s, let’s use Montana’ era that probably had the best QB’ of any era.

  13. I will say this , this is the only thing I look at .

    Did Joe Montana ever lose a super bowl ?

    Period .

    That’s the greatest ,
    Thank you Joe

    1. OK but why is he better…its the Superbowl and Brady Vs Montana…so your going to put your money on Brady? Me?..My money is on Montana without hesitation. I like Brady- if i was a Pats fan i would be a very happy camper. He reminds me of Joe. In fact, i’m pretty sure he idolized Joe.

      1. Montana was 1 and done in approximately 36% of his trips to the playoffs compared to approximately 13% for Brady.

        The disparity of the numbers between Montana and his contemporaries is simple to explain, he was running an offense that was far ahead of what just about all others were running. The concepts created by Walsh are now used by just about everyone.

    1. Haha. So anyone on here is goofy? But you’re where? Here to see and comment on…
      Oh….wait…..what? So you’ve got nothing better to do than question the commenters here? Fascinating. And you feel superior because……?

  14. Well thought out and written article Grant, although your clearly pandering to the faithful…..that in itself is proof your father had nothing to do with this article.

  15. Grant, this is by far the best column of yours that I’ve read after coming here over the last few years. Very well written and argued.

  16. These questions are impossible to answer because you can’t compare eras, and QB rating is definitely not the way to do it, but anyone who suggests Brady wouldn’t have been great playing in Joe’s time is fooling themselves. He’s bigger, stronger and just as accurate. He’s had a longer career playing at an elite level and has led his team on the most dominant run in the history of the game. I idolized Montana but Brady has earned the mantle of best of all time and I think Montana himself would agree with that.

    Read Barber’s article. It makes a much better argument. That is not a knock on you Grant. You had the harder case to make and made it pretty well.

    1. ” I idolized Montana but Brady has earned the mantle of best of all time and I think Montana himself would agree with that.”

      He would strongly agree with the first part of your first sentence. From February 10, 2017.

      “I think that it’s really hard to put anyone in that bucket,” he said. “Even before he got five—you look back to some of the guys some people don’t even know, Sammy Baugh or Otto Graham, I can’t remember which one but one of them won like seven or nine championships and so far ahead of their time. It’s so hard to compare guys from then to now, how they would compare here and how we would compare back then.”

    2. Rocket….
      Brady is bigger and stronger, but he’s slower and not as athletic as Joe was.
      His type of qb play in that era would have landed him on the sidelines way more than he’s faced in his flag football era.
      The defenses back then had the license to run wild and destroy players on the offense.
      Late hits? What were those. Brady would have been knocked on his *** time and time again after a throw. That takes a toll over a career. Has he ever been picked up and dipped on his head or back? Doubt it.

      I’m not saying he couldn’t survive in that era, but he damn sure wouldn’t have had the streak of injury free games and padded stats due to his receivers being touched.

      Now flip that question and ask how would Montana faired in this league today.
      How much longer would he have played?
      Well if he did that well in a tougher era where it was actually football, chances are Brady wouldn’t have those rings because he would have definitely faced Joe in the big game. And Joe doesn’t lose those those games.

      1. MD,

        Trying to compare how QB’s of today would have played back then and vice versa is impossible. All we know is how they did in their era under the conditions they faced. I have little doubt that Brady could have held up as well or better than Montana because he is a bigger man and gets rid of the ball quickly. Montana would have been great in today’s game too, but it’s hard to do much better than Brady has.


    Brady on being better than Montana.

    “I don’t agree with that,” he said, “and I’ll tell you why. I know myself as a player. I’m really a product of what I’ve been around, who I was coached by, what I played against, in the era I played in. I really believe if a lot of people were in my shoes they could accomplish the same kinds of things. So I’ve been very fortunate. …I don’t ever want to be the weak link.”

  18. It’s funny on sport pages the “new era” folks love bringing up titles for TB argument.
    You compare that to the NBA and the GOAT in hat league who I feel a majority of people will say was Jordan.

    So the championships should be in play and the first person you would think of is Bill Russell. If championships are the end all be all, then Russell would be the greatest nba player in history. They lose their minds.

    I think TB is he second greatest and seriously not to ahead of Elway. But like the Jordan era it’s crammed down our throats on how great TB is. Announcers are calling him the GOAT while he’s losing a Super Bowl for gods sake.
    Makes my blood boil.

    Point is Jordan is considered the greatest because he was flawless in championship series, he killed other teams with that fire he had and the want to not lose. He didn’t have the best stats of all time. But he did when it was the biggest moments. Like Mr Montana.
    The greatest of all time don’t lose those games. Especially multiple games. And for gods sake they don’t lose to Nick f’ing Foles!
    Period the end! Montana was and still is

    AAAND…..He ran the greatest single season team of all time. That same team that destroyed another All time great QB’s team. THE 1989 San Francisco 49ers! The end!

      1. Elway won two Super Bowls, and would have won more if he had a running game earlier in his career. Imagine if he played for the Raiders with Marcus Allen and Bo Jackson.

        1. Good point about the running game, Grant. However, Elway bears some responsibility for the worst shallacking in NFL Super Bowl history, courtesy of Joe Montana….

            1. Shanahan was a different offensive mind after he’d been “WCO’d” @ SF…

              along with the system + coaching staff + a few key players he brought with him from the ’95 SB….Kubiak, Mc Caffrey, etc….

              Elway had the advantage of system, coaching, and run game dominance in his last 2 SB’s, but it wasn’t just due to the zone run scheme…Shanahan made decent rcvr’s perform at a special level in his WCO iteration, Rod Smith, Mc Caffrey, etc….nice try ‘tho…

              1. Terrell Davis made the difference. Elway would have won more than two Super Bowls had he played with Marcus and Bo.

              2. “Terrell Davis made the difference.”

                Absolutely. But he thrived in Big Shanny’s system. He was taught by the best in Turner. We saw several other HBs have success after Davis. They weren’t as good as Davis, but it shows that Shanny/Turner had a huge role in Davis’ success and therefore a huge role in those SB wins. Big Shanny’s work with Elway can’t be discounted either.

              3. I would argue the combo of Alex Gibbs system and an athletic OL to block OZ/stretch runs correctly was as big a factor as Davis’ success in the scheme…

        1. I’d put Elway in the 3rd tier, along with the likes of Staubach, both Mannings. 3b would be Fouts, Marino, Young. 2nd tier is reserved for Starr, Bradshaw, Graham. Yes, I weight heavily towards championship success

    1. I think Brady’s latest SB loss has kept the contrarians from weighing in…
      getting harder to argue GOAT when you’ve now got a 62 win pct in SB’s…
      does 4 for 4 seem inferior to 5 for 8????

      1. tjf,

        Read Barber’s article I linked in another post. 5-8 is better than 4-4 because it means you made it to twice as many SB’s. Joe didn’t make it more than he did because he lost earlier in the playoffs. That is not a positive in his favor.

          1. So that’s it then, end of discussion? It doesn’t matter that today’s rules have kept QBs like Brady on the field more (Brady 37 playoff starts, Montana 23). It doesn’t matter that Brady is virtually given a 1st round bye every year.

            It doesn’t matter that Starr has as many titles as Brady, he’s not even in the discussion. Oh, and forget about Otto Graham who won 7 titles.

            No, screw all the other guys. It has to be the QB that is still fresh in our memories.

            1. We are all making arguments on a topic that can never be decided #80. The discussion will never end because there is no answer. I just responded to the argument made by Grant and others on here with points from Phil Barber and a couple of my own. It’s my opinion.

              1. “We are all making arguments on a topic that can never be decided #80.”

                Sure, but I find it strange that the Brady guys are using his 5 championships as a trump card for him being the GOAT, but he doesn’t even have the most titles.

                I used to play a lot of cards. If we’re playing by your rules, you played your trump card #1 (Brady). But I played the rook (Graham).

              2. I’m using more than titles; just look at the post at the bottom of the thread. Otto Graham played at a time where the running game made up most of the offense as did Starr. I also never saw them play. I had the pleasure of watching Montana’s entire career as I have Brady’s so I can actually talk about them from experience.

              3. I apologize rocket. Unlike Jack, you have made other arguments as usual. I just don’t buy the 5-3 thing. Today’s league features parity. The best teams aren’t that much better than the average teams. Brady is a great QB in a great position to succeed. All credit to him, but he’s had an easier path than Joe IMO.

              4. Nothing to apologize for #80. It’s a topic that elicits a lot of opinions but there really is no right answer. I give Brady the edge because I think he’s performed at an elite level more consistently and for a longer period of time than Montana did. Just my opinion.

        1. Jack,

          Then who is better between Montana and Bradshaw? Are they tied?
          Is this your top 3 all time QB list?

          1. Brady
          T2. Montana
          T2. Bradshaw

              1. Of course! No Graham and Starr! More title game wins and appearances matter when comparing Joe and Tom, but not Otto and Tom. And Bradshaw’s 4 titles aren’t as good as Elway’s 2.


              2. The great thing about Graham is that in his day there was one postseason game each year, the Championship game. Kudos to him.

              3. 1) Montana
                2) Montana
                3a) Montana
                3b) Brady
                3c) Bradshaw

                just kidding…
                my bottom line is you can’t compare accurately due to different era’s, player physical capabilities, defense speed and tactics,
                and so I invoke the cop out clause….

              4. “LOL. So what’s your top 3?”

                1. Montana
                2. Brady
                T3. Unitas
                T3. Starr
                Honorable mention.

              5. “The great thing about Graham is that in his day there was one postseason game each year, the Championship game. Kudos to him.”

                Yup. It puts a lot of emphasis on the regular season, right? How many regular season games would be considered must wins for Graham under that format?

                Also, the two best teams would meet for the championship every year, not always the case now. If the two best teams were in the same division, Graham usually had the better record. In the event of a tie, there was an extra playoff game to decide who goes to the title game. Graham played in two play in games and won both.

                Finally, they were less teams then. So the talent wasn’t spread thin like today.

              6. The level of difficulty wasn’t as high. The reason the #1 seed isn’t always in the Super Bowl is they are playing the top teams for at least 2 weeks after having already playing a full season.

            1. at the end of the day it boils down to whether you value total # of SB appearances over SB W-L record…
              obviously, some here do…value # of appearances, that is…

              1. You keep missing the fact that Montana lost early in the playoffs a number of times not even making it to the SB. That has to be accounted for regarding the W/L record in the SB because not getting there is worse than getting there and losing.

              2. ah, so “not getting there is worse than getting there and losing”…
                I see…and no, I’m not “missing” the “fact” of early playoff losses…
                just not subscribing to your (and Jack’s) value system for judging all time QBs…

              3. tjf,

                To each his own but I’d take Brady’s 3 losses in the SB over Joe’s losses in the divisional round any day. Brady’s performances in those 3 SB’s was also very good to stellar. He was never the reason for losing. Overall he threw for over 1000 yards, 7 TD’s and 1 Int in the SB losses. Great performer in victory or defeat.

  19. “Oh look over here, Montana vs Brady, the most cliched Bay Area story ever. Thanks Dadda”

    “Please, pretty pretty please forget I advocated trading Jimmy G”

    “That was such a cunning plan, trading a Franchise QB, and I was the ONLY blogger in the WHOLE country to suggest it”

    “P.S. Hoyer was an ‘A’ performer, should never have cut him. Much better than Jimmy”

  20. Great article. Grant finds an interesting and novel way to compare two qbs from different eras and Montana prevails. I am reminded of the Jim Burt hit on Montana in the playoffs. It was a clean hit, but pretty viscous.

    Go Niners.

  21. Word on the street is Peters stole a chicken leg from Andy’s plate, and now might be on the trade block. Should we, could we? I would….

    1. Let’s trade Armstead for Peters, since if they had listened to me they would have taken Peters instead of Armstead. :)

      But seriously, according to PFT, the reason the Chiefs are considering trading Peters is because of “discipline” problems (not quite the right word). Given the current issues with Foster…..

      What would you give up for him? I’d give them Armstead and a 2019 2nd rounder max (start with a 2019 third round pick).

      1. I’d cite his discipline issues, coupled with his drop in production, and offer to take him off their hands for our 2nd round pick this year, straight up….

  22. I can’t believe Mayock has Leighton Vander Esch ranked ahead of Evans. Figures though, because he changes his rankings at least 3 or 4 times before draft day. I don’t understand why Boise continued to blitz LVE, because he’s horrible at it….

  23. In a topic relevant to Grant’s earlier article when he advocated “tagging” Jimmy and trading him, Florio has an interesting piece on PFT today. Apparently there is a clause in the CBA that says that when the Tag is applied the team must be in good faith negotiations for a deal, the first year of which is equal to the Tag amount. That would make a tag and trade scenario a violation of the cba.
    Florio uses that info in relation to Cousin’s current situation. If Washington tries to tag and trade him to recoup trade capital, Cousins could file a grievance. With the Smith trade agreement looming as an unkept secret it would be pretty hard for Washington to make the case for good faith negotiations ongoing and willingness to pay Kirk $34M as well as Alex’s reported deal.
    My resistance to Grant’s suggestion, since made moot by the JG signing, was that Jimmy was a better bird in the hand for this SF team than the potential of the draft capital. That’s just my subjective take, but this other case shows it’s hard to ever get to that Pot of Gold at the end of the third rainbow.

    1. he should have lost you earlier with his suggested OG upgrades, no mention of C situation, and ignoring the issue of run game being M.I.A….
      but then again he did say the ’17 rcvr corps would work out ok….

    2. He makes no mention of Johnson getting benched in consecutive games. Johnson is toast! This guy writes like he’s writing for the high school newspaper.

    1. The test should be, knowing what we know now would we draft him again at pick 15? The answer is no. Would any other team take him in the first. Most likely no. I think 3rd round at best is where he would wind up.

    2. Undercenter

      Thanks my friend…You know that I read every word…My greatest hope is that some of the ‘brain trust’ will be reading it also….Arik Armstead will be a ‘MONSTER’ this season….

      1. I hope so. I notice what was said about Thomas and how their ideal rolls are the same.
        The author also noted how Armstead was moved to a roll that he is not ideally suited for. I agree… And that has always been my issue with the selection of Thomas.

    3. UC,
      Thanks for the link.
      Armstead is an interesting case because he is a player lost in defense cyber space.
      Shanahan has his man in Solomon Thomas which makes Armstead’ climb even steeper.

      Armstead needs to go to a team where his size and ability will be clearly defined.
      I agree with the writer that uses Tank Carradine as a comparison regarding Armstead. The last regime kept Tank in limbo and this regime is guilty of now doing the same.

      The other piece is that Armstead was drafted with the notion of playing in the 3-4 alignment. The new 4-3 scheme has created another hurdle for AA as well.
      Time for the Org to make a concrete decision on Armstead this off season.

  24. I’m guessing most of you haven’t read Barber’s article from what I’m reading on here. Read it:

    A couple of key points from it:

    Using Montana’s record in SB’s doesn’t make sense considering he only made it to that point 4 times as opposed to Brady’s 8. It’s completely ignoring the fact that Montana lost earlier in the playoffs which is worse than losing the SB because you never made it there to begin with.

    Brady’s all time winning percentage is better than Montana’s including the playoffs.

    Something that isn’t mentioned by Barber is also the fact that Montana had some struggles in his time with the 49ers. At one point he was benched for Steve Young and part of a platoon for a time after that. He struggled against the Giants defense for most of his career. He played poorly against the Vikings in a playoff game the 9ers were favored to win big.

    In contrast Brady has never faced a challenge to his starting job, no team has given him troubles over an extended period of his career and most of the time if the Pats lose a game it’s in spite of the fact that Brady played well.

    I hate making an argument against Montana because he is absolutely an all time great and my personal favorite, but if looking at this objectively and not through homer glasses, Brady has eclipsed him as the all time best. It’s hard to pin point one player due to the eras being different, but in all areas of measurement that actually reflect on the caliber of play for a consistently long period of time, Brady wins.

    1. He struggled against the Giants defense for most of his career.

      There’s something about that Giants team, whether the 80s or the 00s, that makes these goat contenders less than goat-like.

    2. “Using Montana’s record in SB’s doesn’t make sense”

      TB had an easier path. Joe faced better teams. NFL rules favor passing in today’s game.

      “Brady’s all time winning percentage is better than Montana’s including the playoffs.”

      TB has had a good D most of his career. TB inherited a playoff roster, didn’t have to endure 2 and 6 win seasons.

      “benched for Steve Young”

      Joe was basically a corpse by then. QBs were often the subject of bounties back in the day. TB and his QB peers are protected.

      “He struggled against the Giants”

      So did TB. The difference is that when TB lost to NY, it counted as a SB appearance because of different conferences.

      “He played poorly against the Vikings”

      TB had the biggest choke job ever with 18-1. TB had one of the best O’s of all time and only scored 14 in the SB. Against NY, who he had already faced that year.

      “never faced a challenge to his starting job,”

      TB lost his starting job 4 times due to suspension.

  25. Would love Brady to lose another Superbowl or two, IJS It would even be more tip in JM direction, not really worth arguing about. There will never be a right answer.Asking who was a better baseball player Ruth or Mays?

    1. Yeah Neal. There used to be one of these Infinity Loop arguements about Mays vs Mantle. The principles ignored it until Mantle finally got tired of it and said the best CF ever was Mays and the second best was DiMaggio and don’t bring it up again!

  26. I’m not sure if I disagree because you make some valid points.

    I offer for your consideration a counter argument just to play devil’s advocate.

    Montana played at a time when defenses were designed to to stuff runners and defend the long ball. That made the WCO far more effective in getting those specific player mismatches and easier to scheme guys open with timing routes. Getting WR to get open against run stuffing linebackers and run stuffing strong safeties is far easier than passing against the highly athletic hybrid run/pass defenders that have developed over the years.

    1. and those “highly athletic hybrid run/pass defenders” have evolved thru the 90’s and beyond as the NFL defenses viral immune response to what Walsh started…

    2. “Montana played at a time when defenses were designed to to stuff runners and defend the long ball.”

      Yep. Pretty much what I said a little earlier.

  27. Argue all you want percentages ,playoff game , whatever,

    You don’t lose the biggest game off the year .

    Losing a playoff game ,or the Superbowl,,,, duh .which is worse ,slam dunk .

    The greatest never lose the biggest game of the year .

    You make it to the super bowl .
    You win .
    There is no second place !
    There is no fixing a loss , like losing the biggest game of the year .

    Debate what , more playoff games, well if that’s the case, can’t use the stats that he lost games on , lol .bet that changes things . You know like the year the perfect season left in the blink of an eye ,what was it 19 and 0 , don’t count them .

    And why did it take a rule change before Brady , turned in to Brady .

    His first couple years look pretty average to me .

    No the greatest don’t lose the big game !
    The greatest show up , at the super bowl , and win .
    Not most of the time ,not sometimes . All the time .

    If you ask me which one , and show me the guys who never lost the Superbowl .

    That’s we’re the debate begins .

  28. Anyone for signing Brian Cushing to a contract, if deal is primarily based on roster bonuses and low on upfront salary guarantees or roster bonuses?

    1. I mean primarily a contract based on roster bonuses, without much in terms of upfront salary guarantees or signing bonuses.

    2. No. Brian Cushing is done. It’s been painful to watch him play the last couple of seasons. He can’t run. An absolute total liability on any play that isn’t run directly at him.

      1. * Should the 9ers sign Brian Cushings:
        * SERIOUSLY?
        * Do the 9ers want an aging OLB slowed by injuries and was suspended 10 games last season for
        his second PED offense, with a history of leg / knee injuries? (2010 his first offense for PED’s,
        suspended 1st 4 games).
        * Tore his ACL in 2012 and broken leg that ended his season in 2013.

  29. Everybody remembers the 55-10 beatdown of the Broncos in Super Bowl XXIV. Montana beat Elway (ha ha), but that wasn’t the matchup. The matchup was with Denver’s defense. The Broncos defense that year was ranked 1st in points allowed and 3rd in yards allowed.

    How bout these numbers?

    22/29, 297 YDs, 5 TDs, 0 INTs, 147.6 rating.

  30. Interesting way to compare the 2 QBs. BUT, I never have much use for these comparisons because, as you said, the game has changed so much that the stats don’t really tell the full story of the greatness. Both men are obviously great QB’s. What is more interesting to me about Montana and Brady is that they are both not the most athletic guys at their position. Montana was a better overall athlete than Brady and, at least early in his career, was a good scrambler who could get first downs with his legs. How did guys with average to below average athleticism and arm strength become 2 of the greatest QB’s of all time? I would say it boils down to 3 aspects for a QB to be great 1) Ability to digest information quickly, 2) Natural thrower with exceptional accuracy, 3) Supreme confidence. For Montana & Brady they also landed in situations where the organization was able to maximize their talents through great coaching and talent acquisition. That certainly helped.

    1. But Joe WAS a great athlete. You can’t possibly win a full scholarship to play basketball at N. Carolina and be a fair to middling athlete. He was pretty damn good in his own right. But Walsh taught him to be a QB, not just run with it.

      1. Was Larry Bird a great athlete? I would say he was not a great athlete but he was a great basketball player. I think the same thing about Joe Montana. His strengths centered around his ability to make plays because he was able to process information quickly and play with great anticipation. Montana was not the biggest or fastest nor did he have great arm strength. He was an absolutely great playmaker and he was best when the lights were the brightest.

        1. Your point is taken, but in two posts you’ve incorrectly stated that Joe wasn’t fast. Truth is he was very fast before injuries. Faster than Steve Young according to Walsh, which puts him somewhere in the 4.4s. His escapability served him well time after time, whether scrambling or just extending plays. Yes he was a fast processor, which we found during the Kaep era to be vastly more important than running skills.

          1. Nothing new here, Brotha. Ever since he was at Notre Dame, Joe has been underestimated as an athlete, and with respect to his arm strength….

  31. What’s next week?

    Jerry Rice greater than Jim Brown? Walsh outcoaches Belichek?, de Bartelo spent more than Jones?

    The suspense mounts. The nation waits. Liddle cohn sleeps.

  32. My fantasy football news feed had the following interesting post : “Atlanta Falcons RB Tevin Coleman would have trade value, according to a high-ranking AFC evaluator. ‘Great complement to a starter and he could fill the role as a starting running back,’ the evaluator said. ‘Great speed and athleticism.’ ”

    Coleman put up pretty good stats when Shanahan was OC . 520 Rush /4.4 AVG , 421 Receive , 11 total TD are pretty good numbers considering he was sharing duties with Freeman.

    If Hyde hits the road, TC is an option.

  33. Here’s a fun way to look at it: give Montana his best team and give Brady his best team and then pit them against each other in the Super Bowl. Who wins?

    1. Gabriel, I don’t think that’s much of a fight. There might be an argument over which Niners team of the Joe era was better – ’84 or ’89? Both teams destroyed opponents in the Super Bowl. The best Pats teams was obviously the undefeated one going into the Super Bowl. What happened there?

      I’m guessing that was the point of your post? :)

    2. NE probably would. Belichick owned the Niner offense while he was in NY and he’d probably devise a scheme to hold them in check in the mythical best vs. best game too. Having said that the Niners had more talented teams than the Pats overall because they didn’t have to deal with losing players to FA. If we are strictly looking at the teams themselves, the Niners would win.

      1. as long as we’re doing the “let’s pretend/fantasy/alternate history” narrative…
        the ’17 Pats team might just beat the ’89 or ’84 9ers squads (sure– I know– heresy, but a modern BB defense would be a good foil to the 9er SB offenses in the 80’s)…
        but I’d also argue that the ’95 SB SF squad would pose problems that no current or prior version of a BB coached team would overcome…

      2. Belichick owned the Niner offense with players like LT, Leonard Marshall, Jim Burt, Carl Banks, Harry Carson….

        Fixed that for you, rocket. Pats have never had anything close to the overall defensive firepower of those mid-80s Giants teams.

    3. Good question Gabriel. I put the 89 team a bit ahead of the 84 team. Brady’s best team was 07. One team had the biggest blowout win in SB history, the other didn’t even win. I’ll take the 89 Niners.


      “Belichick owned the Niner offense while he was in NY.”

      Those NY defenses were light years better than anything the Pats have had.

  34. Report: 49ers are reportedly high on OkSt WR Marcell Ateman.

    Hard to say how serious the 49ers are about Ateman, a projected early-to-mid round WR prospect. We’re going to see a lot of smokescreens between now, and late April. But Ateman does have tremendous size for a WR, at 6’4″ 220 lbs, and near the top of my list of needs for this team, is an outside WR with Atemen’s size and skillset. “The 6-foot-4, 220-pounder is a menace on the perimeter, rarely losing a jump-ball situation.” Obviously a guy with red zone potential.

    1. I haven’t seen a whole lot of Marcell Ateman, and he seemed to be just another guy at the Senior Bowl, albeit a raw WR with a ton of upside potential. The Seminole’s Auden Tate is my guy. And ascending talent, Auden Tate finished his career at Florida St. with a dominating bowl game performance. He hauled in 3 TD passes in the Seminole’s blowout win over Southern Miss. Tate was a red-zone nightmare for Southern Miss. Listed at 6′-5″, 225-230 lbs, Tate has a rare combination of size and athleticism, which is exactly the kind of WR the 49ers ought to pursue.

  35. No and no. One was suspended for most of 2017 and has seen his play on the field decline since 2012, while the other embarrassed himself this season and needed a suspension to break out of a bad slump.

      1. Tbh, I would be fine with signing either or them. Cushing as a stop gap would be fine, and Peters may be a headache but its more antics than anything really wrong. Like OBJ. Its annoying, but you can put up with it when they play at the level they do.

        1. Though with Peters it would obviously depend on what KC wanted in return for him. For a mid rounder I think it would be a great trade. For a high pick (e.g. say, a 2nd rounder + change) I would still be ok with it given the quality of the player, but would also be happy to leave it.

        2. The thing that must be asked is why would the Chiefs trade Peters. Is there a league suspension coming down for him that only the Chiefs are currently aware of, or is there an impending legal matter which the Chiefs wish to distance their franchise from?

      2. Gotcha. I tend to agree. Peters is a loose cannon, I might consider bringing Cushing in on a prove it contract, no signing bonus or upfront guarantees. He can make money with roster bonuses, on a game by game basis, bringing a veteran presence, mentor, play his way into money by kicking a_# kind of contract.

        1. Anyone for Cushing on a flier, no upfront guarantees, rather high on actually making the final 53, via roster and per-game bonuses?

          1. I would rather sign Derrick Johnson to a 1 year deal. He is 35 but played well with KC last year. A very good mentor for Foster as well. Cushing is younger but not as good. Plus he is a hot head.

    1. While waiting, we could explore the occurrence rate of toe nail fungus in kickers and punters, and then correlate with performance.

      1. Hmm. If the performance is affected by fungus, Belichick would make the opponent’s locker room excessively warm and moist. We can’t let BB get this information. There’s no rule against it but…

  36. Don’t forget that Brady inherited a playoff roster with a playoff caliber defense, Joe didn’t. Also, Brady played less than 2 games for his first ring. Talk about being born with a silver spoon in your mouth, geez.

  37. Baby Megatron? Sure, he’s built like a Greek God, but can he play football? He’s certainly a big boy, as in 6’5″ 225 lbs, and this kid just turned 21 and still filling out his frame. Auden Tate reminds me of Alshon Jeffery in the way he uses his body to shield the defender while he attacks the football, always plucking the ball away from his big frame. Tate shows incredible focus, and is what I would call a natural hands catcher, with very big, strong hands, making him a reliable target for the man with the golden arm (Jimmy G). Assuming Peirre Garcon is healthy and fresh heading into this season, the Niners WR corps is, IMO, deeper on talent than it has been in years. The Olympic speedster and NCAA long jump champion, Marquise Goodwin had a breakout campaign in 2017, and has gone from “track star”, to bonafide WR, and dynamic NFL play maker. Fifth round pick Trent Taylor has shown the ability to create instant daylight in the slot, with his ability to separate and make the tough, gritty plays in the middle of the field. They have talent, but for all of the talent the 49ers have at WR heading into next season, they are sorely lacking in size. Louis Murphy is there tallest wideout at 6″2″, and he’s a 30 year old journeyman who isn’t a difference maker, and may not make the squad. Kendrick Bourne is the next tallest wideout at 6’1″, 202 lbs, and while the young, underdeveloped WR has shown flashes that he belongs in the NFL, he’s never going to simply dominate physically, on the outside or the red-zone. What the 49ers sorely need to complete their receiving corps, is a physically dominate receiving threat with size to make contested catches on the outside and in the red-zone, and Auden Tate shows a proficiency for making those tough, acrobatic catches anywhere on the filed. He consistently out muscles even the most physical CB’s, and shows very reliable hands (and huge mitts), making the most acrobatic catches look as easy, as if he’s plucking grapes from a grapevine.

    I think he’s the perfect draft target for the Scarlet & Gold. Like Alshon Jeffery, Tate may not have elite long speed, but he has tremendous size, to go with his elite ability to box out and high-point the football, as well as the natural hands catching ability to pluck the football away from his body, constantly winning those contested catches at the point of attack. He would be an instant red-zone match-up nightmare for opposing defenses, and a perfect compliment to the rest of the 49ers offensive attack, and he’s likely going to fall to the 49ers in the third round, making him one of my strongest picks in my upcoming pre-draft mock.

    Talk about a Red-zone Nightmare; Florida State WR Auden Tate –

    Yours Truly; Auden Tate –

    Baby Megatron; Auden Tate –

    1. For me, Edmunds gets the nod, unless the Niners are ready to cut bait with Foster. As things stand, a 6 game suspension isn’t enough to draft another pure ILB in round 1. If they hold onto Foster, and it seems they will, Edmunds makes more sense to me because he pairs up perfectly next to Foster at the WILL, and can also dominate at the at MIKE,
      SAM and even the LEO, with a little refinement in his edge rushing technique. However, Roquan also makes sense, especially paired with the other Smith, but at this point I’m not ready to throw in the towel on Foster, he’s just too talented.

      Let’s put it this way, it’s hard to argue against Roquan Smith at the MIKE, but I’ve softened my stance on Foster, and Foster is still my guy as the 49ers MIKE linebacker of the future (until he isn’t).

      1. Be that as it may my brother Edmunds is good but Smith is a tackling machine , we don’t need him to rush the passer. Watch the film he is a better tackler than Foster and he is way faster than him or Edmunds.

        1. I get you killersharks, so when Foster is healthy, and has served his suspension, you’d like to see Roquon Smith at the WILL, sidelining Malcom Smith (whom is getting paid a lot of money), and Ferrari Foster at the MIKE?

          I don’t hate the plan. I do love Roquon Smith, I just think Edmunds can do so many more things in Saleh’s D, adding value to the pick considering Reuben is still on the team. Unless of course, you would you like the team to release Foster?

        2. Killersharks
          * I don’t want to rain on your parade….. BUT….the chances of Smith still being on the board when the 9ers
          pick, is about the same as Nelson still being there. Slim and none…..and slim passed away last week .
          * I have to agree with 49reason….”Edmunds gets the nod”

      2. 49reasons
        * The question is, what will the NFL do with Reuben Foster?
        * Unfortunately, the answer to the question of what will the NFL do, is the same answer that
        applies to every other incident involving off-field misconduct by players: Whatever it wants to
        * In the aftermath of the Ezekiel Elliott and Tom Brady lawsuits it’s obvious the league’s internal
        procedures may be delayed but will never be defeated, no matter how illogical, inconsistent, or
        patently unfair to the player they may be.

        1. So true GEEP.

          Foster may be able to delay the suspension, but why do that when getting past this is the sooner the better. Elliot shot the Cowboys in the foot last season IMO, he should have simply got it done and over with so that the Cowboys could build momentum heading down the stretch. Like you say, the NFL and Roger Goodell are ultimately going to prevail no matter what.

          While I think the odds of Foster screwing up again are pretty high, I think the 49ers ought to hold onto him for now, which I expect they plan to do. And I don’t think the front office needs to apologize to anyone, because I doubt there is a team in the NFL who would dump a first round pick with his talent, without doing everything they can to get him straight.

          But they definately need to address the position during the offseason. Not nearly enough depth now with Foster missing a big chunk of the season. And probably via the draft, IMO, though the question is, do they spend a first round pick on an ILB, or try and hit on a third-fifth round prospect? If it’s going to be a first rounder, and they are sticking with Foster for now, I’d want a guy with Edmunds versatility.

          1. nah! I agree with the killersharks if you are going to take a ILB in the first go with the best not the most versatile and if you watch both guys film there is no way you choose Edmunds over Smith. The guy is lightening quick from sideline to sideline and doesn’t miss a tackle!

            1. Agreed, but I don’t think the 49ers want to spend that high pick on a LB. If Nelson is off the board, along with Chubb and Fitzpatrick, I’d like to think their preference would be to trade down….

    1. Not a fan, but if the Price Is Right…I don’t think he’s a starter anymore but not opposed to letting him try and make the 53 man roster….

    1. “Call Montana a better passer if it makes 49ers Journos feel better. But if you call Brady anything other than the greatest winner in the history of North American sports, you’re delusional.’

      Two things.

      1. Did Mr. Thornton just admit that Joe was the better passer? Or that it isn’t “delusional” to think that way, meaning it’s debatable?

      2. I’m stunned that a Boston guy would call Brady the greatest winner in North American sports, Really, has he never heard of Bill Russell? And what about Otto Graham? Who’s delusional now Jerry? This lack of knowledge of the game’s history makes me think that he might not be the best guy to be judging players from the past.

  38. A quick look at Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller’s final pre-combine big board-top 50, and my players of note:

    1) Saquon Barkley continues to lead the charge atop Miller’s big board. He’s a generational talent as far as I’m concerned, and I can’t wait to see him play on Sunday’s.
    2) The big boy, Quenton Nelson comes in at #2. An incredibly high ranking for an Offensive Guard, but he’s a rare talent.
    4) The highest ranked edge rushing specialist on the board is Bradley Chubb, to no ones surprise.
    8) After 3 QB’s hit Matt’s board at 5-7, the Buckeye’s Denzel Ward shows up at #8, a little high for my taste. He’s #17 on my board.
    10) Leading the list of ILB’s is the 19 year old phenom with cat-like movement skills to go along with rare length at the position, and textbook technique. Tremaine Edmunds edges out Roquon Smith on Millers board by one spot.
    12) Boom or bust candidate and Hiesman winner Baker Mayfield is listed at #12, thanks to the perceived extra value at the QB position.
    15) The first WR on Miller’s list is the ultra smooth Bama wideout Calvin Ridley. He’s lacks the size the Niners need to look for out of this years crop, but he’s probably the best route runner in this class.
    20) My man Billy Price shows up at #20, making him potential target for the 49ers if they trade down in the first round.
    22) Sony Michel lands at #22, and he’s a very well rounded RB without a lot of miles on his chassis.
    23) The raw, but athletically gifted edge rushing specialist Marcus Davenport, was under heavy scrutiny, and listed as must-see TV at this years Senior Bowl. He was who we thought he was, brimming with potential, but in need of some serious development.
    25) My fall back option if Price goes earlier than I expect, OG/OC James Daniels rates high on Miller’s board. He’s a heck of an interior lineman and another fantastic fit for Kyle’s scheme.
    28) DL Maurice Hurst, hits the board ahead of #30, and he’s a bit underrated IMO. A prototypical 3-Tech in a 4-3, with incredible get-off, I have him rated a little bit higher than this.
    37) Small school TE prospect ranked #1 at his position, Dallas Goedert ranks 37th on Miller’s board. He looks the part, but it’s hard to get excited for a guy named Dallas, if you’re a 49ers fan.
    42) Dynamic slot reciever DJ Jones reminds me of Brandin Cooks, or a stronger version of Stefon Diggs. I love this guy’s game, but I don’t see the 49ers drafting him with the ascension of Marquise Goodwin.
    48) Oklahoma States WR James Washington is nicknamed “Batman”, and he’s a talented wideout, but I prefer his counterpart, the kid who’s nicknamed “Robin”, Auden Tate aka Baby Megatron, who I’ve mocked to the 49ers in round 3.

    1. 1. Yup, because there’s no once in a generation type QB or edge rusher.
      2. Yup, Nelson is a beast.
      4. Yup.
      8. Ward has a higher ceiling, but Jackson is a better fit for us.
      10. Edmunds has more upside if he can get to the QB. Smith will have a smoother transition. Not overly excited about either one.
      12. Don’t care. Thank god we have Jimmy.
      15. I don’t think any of the WRs are worth taking in the top 20.
      20. Price is awesome.
      22. Not sure if he can be a bell cow. May be best suited as part of a tandem.
      23. I don’t like Davenport.

      1. #80:

        8) I agree on Jackson. I like this big kid physical DB, Kameron Kelly out of Boise State for a 3rd rounder.
        10) Good point on the ILB’s.
        12) Yep, Jimmy G is the key to the universe. Just curious, what do you think about Mayfield, boom or bust?
        15) Is WR Auden Tate a “Baby Megatron”? Could be unstoppable in the red-zone.
        23) Agreed, Devenport is overrated at this point.

        1. 12. Depends on where he goes. I don’t see him being a total bust like Leaf, but he’s a risky pick. I think he’ll be decent unless he goes to Cleveland.
          15. I like him, but I can’t call him Baby Megatron yet. Much is said about Shanny’s work with QB’s, but KS is a former WR. If anybody can turn Tate into a Baby Megatron, it’s Shanny.

        1. “You don’t seem to like nobody maybe you should watch some Roquan Smith film before you get to opinionated.”

          I guess you missed where I said I liked Nelson, Price, and Tate. And you confused not overly excited with not liking. I was overly excited about Foster last year. After watching my share of tape, I LIKE Smith, but he’s not as impressive as Foster was last year. So forgive me if I’m not orgasmic about your draft crush.

    1. lol. Ouch, I’d love to see that. He’d solidify the left side of the OL, opening holes big enough to drive a truck through, for the next decade.

      The new and improved Joshua Garnett at RG?

      1. I wonder about OldCoach and Undercenter’s idea of training Garnett to take over for Kilgore at Center. He certainly has the intelligence for it coming from Stanford, and then buying Norwell. That would give us Staley/Nelson/Kilgore/Norwell/Brown. Then draft a late OT prospect like Parker to develop….

        1. Interesting idea, definitely. Garnett is a little tall for Center though at 6’5″, the sweet spot is 6’2″-6’3″, maybe 6’3.5″, occasionally 6’4″, rarely 6’5″, and Jimmy’s not the tallest QB. But maybe.

          49ers perennial All-Pro LG Bruce Bosley – 6’2″, all the top ranked guys currently, Rodney Hudson – 6’2″, the great Cowboys Center Travis Fredrick – 6’3″, David Andrews – 6’3″, Jason Kelce – 6’3″, Matt Paradis – 6’3″, However Billy Price is 6’3.5″, and boy if the 49ers can find the next Alex Mack, the ultimate second level blocker, he’s 6’4″, Ali Marpet – 6’4″, Ryan Jensen – 6’4″, or 49ers great Jesse Sapolu – 6’4″.

          But 6’5″? Maybe.

          1. Not only does a center benefit the QB in terms of eye level at 6’3″ (Garoppolo is what, 6’2″?), but the Center also has to rely on leverage, ideally low center of gravity, keep off the skates, and we’ll see about the “new and improved” Joshua Garnett, slimmed down, more muscle, better cardio, but I’ve seen him on skates in the past, plenty. Not saying it’s impossible at 6’5″, but I think he’s better suited for Guard.

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