Tom Brady is the greatest quarterback of all time. He’s a seven-time Super Bowl champion. And at 45 years old, he has nothing left to prove. Still, he’s playing at an elite level and has shown no apparent signs of slowing down. Pro Football Hall of Famer Joe Montana chimed in on Brady’s dominance over Father Time.
Montana joked that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers signal-caller could play as long as he wants.
Joe Montana retired from the NFL at 38
Before Tom Brady, a case could be made for Joe Montana as the greatest NFL quarterback ever.
The San Francisco 49ers selected Montana with the No. 82 overall pick in the third round of the 1979 NFL Draft. He turned out to be a steal based on where the Niners drafted him.
The Notre Dame product played 13 seasons in San Francisco and played an integral role in building the legendary 49ers dynasty. He also played two seasons with the Kansas City Chiefs to close out his career.
Montana amassed 40,551 yards and 273 touchdowns for his career. The New Eagle, Pennsylvania native was an eight-time Pro Bowl selection and former two-time MVP.
The 49ers great led the team to four Super Bowl championships. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2000.
Joe Montana jokes that Tom Brady could play until he’s 60
While Joe Montana retired from the NFL at age 38, Tom Brady is still going strong at 45 years old.
The New England Patriots got more than they bargained for when they selected Brady in the sixth round of the 2000 NFL Draft. There were 198 players drafted ahead of him, which is absurd. The Patriots easily secured the biggest steal in the history of the draft.
Brady is in season No. 23 and continues to prove he can play at a high level. After leading Tampa Bay to a Super Bowl victory, it was unclear what the GOAT’s plans were moving forward. However, he assured the Bucs he was coming back to do it again.
After 15 Pro Bowls, seven Super Bowl titles, and three MVP trophies, Brady is a clear first-ballot Hall of Famer when the time comes. He has nothing left to prove, but he still wants to play.
Montana thinks the former Michigan quarterback can play as long as he wants. “They don’t even touch him,” Montana said in an interview with USA Today. “He’s rarely ever getting hit. So he can play till he’s like 60.”
Today’s NFL is much friendlier to the quarterback position
During his long tenure in New England and his time in Tampa Bay, Tom Brady has enjoyed the pleasure of playing behind elite offensive lines. The lack of big hits has helped prolong his career.
Joe Montana also suggested that the way the NFL set its rulebook up today, quarterbacks can play much longer than signal-callers did back when he played.
“The way it is with the rules today, he just doesn’t take those big hits anymore,” he said of Brady. “He’s not a runner. He’s in the pocket. As long as you can protect him, he’s not going to get hit.”
The NFL has strongly emphasized player safety over the past several years, especially for the quarterbacks. There’s been an uptick in roughing the passer penalties. Defensive players can no longer drive QBs into the ground and put their body weight on the passer through the tackle.
Beyond player safety, the league understands the importance of the quarterback position to not only the team, but also to the NFL’s bottom line.
Tom Brady is a beneficiary of the league’s rule changes. Joe Montana probably wishes those rules existed when he played.
All stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference.