In a Surprising Twist, Legend Joe Montana Alters His Life Time Compliment to 7x Super Bowl Winner Tom Brady

Published 09/01/2023, 8:13 AM EDT

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Who holds the title of the greatest NFL player of all time? Many contend it’s Tom Brady, while others argue for Joe Montana. But Montana offers a unique twist on the matter. Undoubtedly, Tom Brady stands as the NFL’s most accomplished star. Yet, before Brady’s rise, another legend bore that distinction. Joe Montana, with four Super Bowl victories over sixteen seasons, reigned as one of the sport’s finest.

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His impressive resume boasts four Super Bowl rings, three Super Bowl MVPs, a historic clutch touchdown pass in a conference title game, and a substantial number of passing yards. Then, Tom Brady entered the scene, rewriting statistical records and securing seven Super Bowl wins. But, notably, 67-year-old Pro Football Hall of Famer Montana once bestowed a prestigious title on Brady, a stance he has now reconsidered, naming a different Hall of Famer as the best.

Which QB is the best in the eyes of Montana?

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The distinction between the “greatest” and the “best” introduces a spectrum of criteria. Joe Montana takes this conversation as an opportunity to elevate another player from his era as the best: Pro Football Hall of Famer and Miami Dolphins icon Dan Marino. Montana supports his argument for Marino, saying, “He had a quick release, I had to step into a lot of things to get enough [force] on the ball. He had the perfect torque of his upper body and strength to deliver the ball quickly at a fast release with accuracy.

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Marino’s remarkable 1984 NFL MVP season stands as a standout in comparison to any before the 21st Century, adding weight to Montana’s view. In 1984, Marino threw for 5,084 yards and 48 touchdowns, a remarkable feat when linebackers could target wide receivers and quarterbacks post-throw. He was the first player ever to achieve either 5,000 passing yards in a season or 45 or more passing touchdowns in a single season. His 48 touchdowns remain prominent in the all-time single-season record book, tied for the fifth-most with Aaron Rodgers‘ 2020 season.

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But before making this revelation, Montana, a few months ago, affirmed that Tom Brady ranks atop the list of quarterbacks.

Montana previously believed that Brady was the greatest?

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During Super Bowl LV, Brady shocked the NFL world by securing his historic seventh Super Bowl title, a record that surpasses any team’s achievements. He also clinched his fifth Super Bowl MVP award, marking a first for multiple franchises and both conferences, all while playing for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

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Approximately a month later, on March 3, Montana, who was once rumored to be jealous of Brady, expressed his view on First Take, stating, “I think Tom has taken his place on the top up there a long time ago….There’s a lot of great guys, as I said, before me….It’s hard to compare them — but if you’re looking at it, yeah, definitely Tom at that point.” However, Montana’s recent conversation with Men’s Health during a visit to Dublin’s Guinness Storehouse revealed a different perspective.

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Montana’s endorsement of Dan Marino as the greatest quarterback to grace the gridiron surely suggests a shift in his perception of Tom Brady.

Watch this story: Putting Tom Brady’s Painful Exit Behind, Gisele Bundchen Befriends a Global Icon Worth $300 Million

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Written by:

Bhwya Sriya

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Bhwya Sriya is an NFL Writer at EssentiallySports. With a Master's degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from an esteemed university, Bhwya tries to amalgamate her love for sports with her creativity. Her interest in sports arose when Bhwya represented her district on a race track in school.
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Edited by:

Mallika Singh

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