Skip to main content

Joe Montana added a little twist when it comes to setting a GOAT debate. The San Francisco 49ers legendary quarterback made a distinction when it comes to the “greatest” and the “best” players. During a recent interview with Men’s Health, Montana said when talking about the “greatest” quarterback ever, career achievements are taken into consideration. The “best” is strictly based on talent. Montana then went on to say that neither he nor Tom Brady is the best quarterback in NFL history.

Joe Montana has always been in the middle of the NFL quarterback GOAT debate

Joe Montana was arguably the best quarterback of his era. The eight-time Pro Bowler led the 49ers to four Super Bowl titles, creating a football dynasty in San Francisco.

Montana led the NFL in completion percentage five times. During the 1989 season, he completed 70.2% of his passes and won the first of his two straight MVPs. While his stats won’t compare to many of the top quarterbacks today, Montana played during a time when QBs weren’t slinging the ball like they do now. To put Montana’s numbers in perspective, he had two seasons when he threw more than 500 passes in a season. Drew Brees threw more than 600 passes in a season nine times.

Montana went 117-47 during the regular season in his NFL career. In the postseason, he went 16-7.

While Montana proved he could pick apart defenses, he also showed he was sneakily elusive. He rushed for 1,676 yards in his career and had a career-high 61 rushes during the 1983 season.

Montana always finds himself in the GOAT conversations, but lately has been overshadowed by Tom Brady, who won seven Super Bowls. Brady, who threw 700-plus passes in his last two NFL seasons, led the league in passing yardage four times and was a 15-time Pro Bowler.

Montana doesn’t consider himself or Brady the best NFL quarterback ever


Why Does Russell Wilson Always Have a Picture of Joe Montana With Him?

While Montana and Brady are most often mentioned among the best quarterbacks ever, Montana believes neither is the top dog. When speaking about the best, Montana puts former Miami Dolphins quarterback Dan Marino at the top of the list.

During the interview with Men’s Health, Montana said Marino could do things many top-notch quarterbacks couldn’t do.

“He had a quick release,” Montana said of Marino. “I had to step into a lot of things to get enough 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.”

Montana also believes if Marino played today and had the weapons at wide receiver that many of the quarterbacks have now, he’d be on another level.

“Put Marino into today’s game where he gets free release… and his receivers, holy cow, weren’t very big,” Montana said. “Now these guys are 6-4, 6-5. I think he is probably one of the most unsung heroes of the game. People don’t talk enough about him or realize the numbers that he put up during the times that he put them up.”

Marino is usually left out of the GOAT talk because he never won a Super Bowl, but if you put him in the BOAT talk, Montana has him at No. 1.