Tom Brady and Peyton Manning have been nipping at the heels of one another for the past 15 years to claim the crown as the best quarterback of the 21st century. If Manning's shaky Super Bowl XLVIII performance did not give Brady the edge, then his performance in the 2014-2015 season sure did. Manning may be dubbed as the greatest quarterback in the regular season, but there is no denying that Tom Brady now has a significant edge over Peyton Manning. A quarterback can throw 50 touchdown passes and 5,000 yards in a season, but at the end of the day, the only thing that matters is championships. 4 beats 1 every day of the week, especially on NFL Sundays.
Now that Brady is the best quarterback of his generation, it is time to look at other generations and see how he matches up. However, I find it extremely difficult to compare quarterbacks of different generations. The game has changed so much since Joe Montana strapped on his helmet. In Montana's NFL, the quarterback was allowed to get pummeled. Now, you get a 15 yard penalty if you look at the quarterback the wrong way. However, there is no doubt that Tom Brady and Joe Montana are the two best quarterbacks of all time.
To put this clash of legends in perspective, lets look at the career statistics for both quarterbacks:
To put this large list of stats in perspective, Brady leads in every single statistical category except for TDs per game, TD to INT ratio, All Pro selections and Passer Rating. Montana also leads in Male Athlete of the Year awards, but I am not sure that matters much in this debate. Moreover, Montana played with the best receiver of all time in Jerry Rice. Granted, Brady had Randy Moss for a couple of years but in those years, Brady put up historic numbers with a legitimate #1 receiver. Brady is well known for having a group of mediocre receivers and turning them into superstars. If Brady was able to play with someone of the caliber of Jerry Rice for the better part of his career, there is a very good chance he would have more than 4 Super Bowls.
This is a debate that will never be settled. People will say that Montana played in a tougher generation, Brady is a cheater and that he lost two Super Bowls. While Montana's Super Bowl performances are pristine, we never talk about the number of times he never even went to the Super Bowl. Are we really going to knock it against Brady that he went to the Super Bowl 6 times? A 4-2 record in the Super Bowl is nothing to be ashamed of. If Brady lost Super Bowl XLIX, and his record was 3-3, then there would be an extremely strong case to put Montana at #1. However, the fact that Brady went to 6 Super Bowls compared to 4 and leads in almost every statistical category has me choosing Brady over Montana. Moreover, Brady has a legitimate shot to win 1 more Super Bowl with the legendary Bill Belichik over the next ~3 years.
Sorry 49ers, but if I have one game to win for all the marbles, I'm going with Tommy Terrific.
By Pete Packowski @Pete_BBS