By: Jason “Bg J” Allen

Follow me @UnsportsmenBigJ

As sports fans we sit around and argue about who is the greatest and who is the best in their prime.  At the end of the day we will never know but it is fun to speculate, so I decided to take an argument that the UnSportsMenMic team have argued a lot about.  Cool Joe vs Tom Terrific: Ultimate Grudge Match.

Now I know initial reaction from everyone that is not a Patriots fan is screaming JOE MONTANA! Period, point blank, end of discussion.  Yet I feel differently, I tend to lean toward Tom Brady so let the controversy begin.  I will look at who made their offensive talent better, who had the better overall team (defense), better coaching, durability, career achievements, and the covenant “Clutch” to make my argument.

            Let’s start with the fact that I’m a Niner fan so we can’t accuse me of bias because the bias would say Cool Joe all day.  Yes I root against Tom getting his 4th ring so he won’t tie Joe.  Yet that’s a perfect place to start Super Bowls and rings.  Joe has been to 4 and won 4, while Brady has been to 5 and won 3.  Now, everyone is saying easy win for Joe, but hold on for one second.  Montana won his first ring with a good supporting cast (Remember Rice was not with the team for the first 2 rings).  Montana made offensive stars out of Dwight Clark, and Fred Solomon at WR.  I bet no one can even name the RB on that 1981 team…  Exactly so again Montana was the star.

This is no different then Brady during his first run, Troy Brown, David Patten at WR, Kevin Faulk, and Antowain Smith at RB.  Again neithter had great talent, but both pushed their teams higher.  We all know the history of the Niners, eventually Montana got weapons like Rice, John Taylor, Roger Craig, and even Brent Jones.  Tom Brady did get help in the way of Randy Moss, and Corey Dillon.  Now he won a ring with Dillon, but was 0-1 with Moss.  I know the masses are clamoring for Wes Welker, but I’m sorry Brady made him; he was a nobody in Miami.  So for overall talent I call it Montana. Tom Brady has won with a bunch of no names and continued to be successful.  So Tom Brady wins making his teammates better.

Another knock people will throw Brady’s way is that he won his Super Bowls with great defenses and Montana led the team to Super Bowls with great offense.  Not so fast, in Montana’s 14 seasons with the Niners the defense averaged 10th in total defense.  Now with this ranking of 10th they have only ranked lower than 15th in 3 seasons (20th in ’79, 27th in ’80, and 21st in ’82).  So the defense has been extremely solid in Montana’s tenure.  In Brady’s 13 years with the Patriots the defense has an average rank of 17th; they have only been over 15th in 6 out of his 13 years.  So Brady has never had the Defenses Montana had, especially lately.  So my edge goes to Brady again for winning with a Defense not as dominate as Montana.

Now we go to coaching.  I think in general you give the edge to Bill Walsh, but in this argument you REALLY give the edge to Bill Walsh.  Walsh was an offensive coach compared to Belichick’s defensive minded coaching, which helps a QB like Montana.  Secondly Walsh changed the NFL offensively, with the West Coast offense.  Now I know the Football minds are yelling, “Belichick with the 2 set TE’s with athleticism is changing the game.” Before you jump off a cliff the 2 TE set is a function of Formation 2 in the West Coast Offense that used a H-Back (TE/FB remember Tom Rathman and William Flyod) and a TE in the formation so again a creation of the West Coast and Walsh.  Let’s not forget the great scouter of talent Walsh was (we have talked about Bill Belichick’s lack of draft impact).  Walsh had a great eye for talent, Montana goes down and he had a Hall of Famer, Steve Young (who he traded for from the Buccaneers), ready as a back up.  Brady goes down, and yes they go 11-5 with Matt Cassel, but we know Cassel was a scrub and the Pats missed the playoffs.  This also lends to the thought of Montana having a better overall team then Brady.  Better coaching edge is Montana, which means a win for Brady, because again he carries more of the burden for his team’s success.

My next argument is durability, and I know “QB’s wear dresses in this era” is what all the meat heads are saying.  Yes it was a tougher league in the Montana day so I take that in account, but Montana was a small build and you could knock him out of games.  Ask how the Bears and Giants attacked him.  Montana in his career has missed 25 games, missed one entire season in ’91 and played one game in ’92.  Brady has missed 17 games and 16 were in ’08.  Before the injury Brady was considered Eli Manning like in taking a punishment and still throwing strikes.  Montana was the same way in his prime.  Yet by pure numbers Brady is a bit more durable.  Let’s call this a tie.

Next, let’s look at awards over a career:

Awards

Joe Montana

Tom Brady

MVP

2

2

Super Bowl MVP

3

2

All-First Team

6

2

Off. Player of Year

1

2

Comeback Player of YR

1

1

Edge

MONTANA

So yes the edge is Montana, because of the All-Pro NFL First Team.  Brady lost a lot of these because of Peyton Manning’s statistical regular season dominance.

Now our last thing to take in account is “The Clutch” performances.  Brady has 27 4th Quarter comebacks to Montana’s 31.  So you would say case closed right?  Wrong Brady in Game Winning Drives has 38 and Montana has 33.  So if you need one drive to win it all, Brady is your man.  Joe Cool over the course of a comeback is more dominate. So I have to say here is another wash/tie.

So to recap, these are both Great QB’s and when it is said and done we may be looking at 1 and 2 or 1A, and 1B.  Yet if you break it down, Montana had better supporting cast (especially in a no salary cap era), better coaching offensively, better Defense, and Montana has more career achievements.  I think the durability and “Clutch” argument is a wash.  So for me Brady is the better QB, he has made less talent better, had worse offensive coaching, and a worse defense.  Being honest the difference between Brady having 4 or 5 rings has been the lack of Defensive talent and dynamic offensive playmakers.  Agree or Disagree?  Tell me what you think.

Jason "Big J" Allen  @UnsportsmenBigJ

Jason “Big J” Allen
@UnsportsmenBigJ

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