Super Bowl LII Loss Reignites Favorite Criticism From Patriots QB's Detractors

By Ryan Chatelain
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Even though the Super Bowl LII quarterbacks were Nick Foles and Tom Brady, in some corners of social media and probably at more than a handful of viewing parties, Joe Montana was a big winner Sunday night.

Why? There still seems to be a faction of football fans who refuse to give Brady credit for being the GOAT — the greatest of all time at quarterback. Many of them cling to this argument that because Montana was undefeated in four Super Bowls and Brady has lost three times in eight tries, the 49ers legend is somehow superior.

Here are some examples from Twitter:

It’s an argument that is thin, silly and borderline delusional. It’s a view that only makes an iota of sense if the only football you ever watch is on Super Bowl Sundays. And even then, it conveniently glosses over the fact that not only has Brady won more Super Bowls than any QB in history, he’s led his team there twice as much as the next best guys.

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Sorry, Sunday didn’t change anything. In fact, Brady could lose the Super Bowl every year for the rest of his career, and it wouldn’t matter. He is the greatest. If there even was a legitimate debate that was still gasping for air, the Patriots quarterback closed his case last year, when he led his team back from a 28-3 deficit to beat the Atlanta Falcons, winning ring No. 5.

Philadelphia Eagles vs. New England Patriots

Patriots QB Tom Brady passes against the Philadelphia Eagles during the third quarter of Super Bowl LII on Feb. 4, 2018, at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Those who argue that Brady’s Super Bowl losses make him inferior to Montana are essentially penalizing the Pats QB for the years he came up one win short of a title and rewarding the former 49er and Chief for the years he came up more than one win short.

There is simply no metric other the Super Bowl-winning percentage in which Montana — no doubt, an unbelievable quarterback who deserves to be celebrated for decades — beats Brady, who ironically grew up idolizing Montana.

Let’s break it down, and I’ll spare you yardage stats, which would be unfair to Montana because we all know today’s NFL is much different than the one he played in during the 1980s and 1990s.

Pro Bowls: Brady has been selected to 13, Montana to eight.

MVPs: Brady won his third this weekend; Montana has two.

Regular season records: Brady is 196-55 for a .781 winning percentage; Montana was 117-47 (.713).

Playoff records: Brady is 27-10 (.729); Montana was 16-7 (.696).

Conference championship games: Brady has been to 12; Montana went to seven.

Super Bowls: Brady has been to eight; Montana to four.

Super Bowl victories: Brady five; Montana four.

At the heart of its argument, the pro-Montana crowd seems to be pointing to the fact that Montana was more clutch than Brady has been — and admittedly, if that alone was the argument here, we’d have a much more plausible debate on our hands. But even Montana wasn’t always money in big games.

49ers quarterback Joe Montana looks to pass against the Cincinnati Bengals during the Super Bowl XXIII on Jan. 22, 1989, at Joe Robbie Stadium in Miami, Florida. (credit: Mike Powell /Allsport)

In a 1985 Divisional playoff loss to the Giants, he led the 49ers to just three points. A year later, also against the Giants, he had already thrown two interceptions and had a 34.2 QB rating when he left in the second quarter with a concussion. As a member of the Kansas City Chiefs in 1993, he left the AFC championship game early, again with a concussion — but he was just 9-of-23 at that point. (On another note, Brady’s durability and longevity only add to his case.)

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Using the same logic that Montana is better than Brady simply because he never lost on Super Bowl Sunday, you’d also have to argue that three-time NBA champion LeBron James’ legacy would somehow be stronger if the Heat and Cavaliers teams he played for had bowed out earlier than those five NBA Finals they lost.

Consider this: Brady, who passed for three touchdowns and a Super Bowl-record 505 yards against the Eagles on Sunday, has started eight or more games in 16 seasons, leading his team to the Super Bowl 50 percent of the time and to the conference championship game 75 percent of the time. Montana was a starter for 12 seasons, reached the Super Bowl 33.3 percent of the time and conference title games 58.3 percent of the time.

Both easily pass the threshold of greatness. But Brady has been better — and he’s not even done yet.

In Brady’s career full of eye-popping stats and records, perhaps the most remarkable one is this: He has won more playoff games than all but five franchises have won in their existences.

Now maybe a stat like that wouldn’t matter so much if Brady hadn’t been winning many championships, too. But he has been — more than any other QB.

So what if he lost Sunday and twice to the Giants. No one’s saying Brady is perfect. Neither was Montana. But when you put their résumés side by side, it should be clear to any objective person that Brady is the greatest.

Stop trying to say otherwise.

Follow Ryan on Twitter at @WFANWebGuy.

Comments (12)
  1. Rick Kalyn says:

    If it wasn’t for the 2 biggest chokes in football history, Brady would have lost 5 Super Bowls in a row. He’s not even 2nd best.

  2. Shh…….. Montana is 4-0 in SB games. 3x MVP (Should have been 4 but they gave 88′ SB to Rice). 11 Td’s 0 Int. 1,100+ yards with 68% cmp pct & a 127.8 Rating in an era that was more balanced & he beat Ken Anderson, Elway, Marino (in his prime) and Boomer (1988 MVP) He won 4 SB in 9 years and was 1 game away from a THREE-PEAT! I challenge anyone to find me better SB stats. In the BIG GAME (Which is why the game is played) Montana is undisputed.

  3. Don Grove says:

    The stats are not the whole picture. As stated above, the rules have changed to protect the quarterback much more than in Montana’s time. Another consideration is the Pats had a very good offensive line when Brady took the position. Montana had one of the most porous offensive lines during his early career. This added to his injuries and losses. Still, he has been considered the GOAT for decades. And his team was never accused of deflating footballs, or spying on the competition’s practices.

    1. lbpmwia says:

      Montana played in a different era. Brady never gets hit anything like what QBs used to have to deal with. This is why he still plays at 40.

  4. Rich Champ says:

    In last years Superbowl-when Tom Brady put the team on his back and willed them back into a 28-3 game that was lost to all but Brady and by extension his teammates-the world saw the greatness that all Patriots fans have known for almost 2 decades. On the field where it matters it was felt. The Falcons Taylor Gabriel is telling Sanu on the sidelines “That’s Tom Brady though”. Remember- it’s halfway through the third quarter-and Brady has been getting smashed by the Falcons- huge fast and young beasts (far more athletic and dangerous than any of those cigarette smoking/McDonald’s eating “Dad bods” from Montana’s era).. It was 28-9 well into the 4th quarter!!!! When the game went to OT and the Pats won the coin toss-everyone in the stadium knew it was over-why? Because TB12 was on the field. THIS WAS NO JOHN CANDY-ONE DRIVE MOMENT FOLKS!!
    In each of the 3 SB losses Brady brought his team ahead from a 4th quarter deficit-and was ONE missed penalty call from winning or tying.Yesterday the Patriots defense was the worst defense that ever appeared in a post season game- with 505 yards-Brady still got them within a missed PI call of tying that one (that hit on Hogan-who was trailing Gronk on a designed tip-hail mary). All stats aside (Brady wins them all anyway) -people who can’t see that Brady is the GOAT are blinded by a childhood man-crush on Montana (“Brady cheated” LoL)- or else so filled with hate that they can’t enjoy life! Deal with that! #micdrop

    1. Mike Beer says:

      Brady was getting “smashed”? Sorry KID but Brady doesn’t have a clue what being SMASHED is. He knows what being sacked is as he is SLOW as molasses in January and he knows what being hard tackled is but smashed LOL. This is how in the dark millennials are.

  5. Mike Beer says:

    If not for 2 pointers Brady loses SB 51 and that is FACT! Before 1994 there was no 2 pointers to get you back in a game. Montana didn’t have the luxury of 2 pointers not that he needed them on the biggest stage because he NEVER would have allowed his team to be down by 25 points in the first place.

  6. Jon Son says:

    Another article to jerk people’s chain. Ok, I am taking the bait.
    There is a Giants highlight video where they planned on knocking Montana out of the game. And they did. Today, if they had plans like that, they may have been fined (like Saints). Teams don’t talk about getting players knocked out anymore. It’s a lot harder. It’s also all too common now for people to throw 3000 yards. In 80s, if you had 3000 yards passing, you had a monster year.

    If Montana were healthy, he wouldn’t have lost his job to Steve Young, who was an equivalent to Garappolo (an injured 39 yo Brady getting kicked out for Garappolo? Not in this age but yes in 80s.) And, Montana would have played in two more super bowls and won. Possibly he wouldn’t have choked like Steve Young against Cowboys and won yet another.

    Montana went to Kansas City that had some mediocre receivers and got to the championship game.

    Meanwhile, Brady benefitted from a different era where opposing teams can’t touch you, Tuck rule, spygate, and just bone-headed play-calling from both Seahawks and Falcons. Brady yells at his linemans if they are in trouble. Montana asks his teammates if they spotted John Candy in the stands to break the tenseness with less than 2 minutes to go down a score in the super bowl.

  7. Mike Beer says:

    I find it comical that all these Brady vs Montana debates whether it be a video or an article by sports writers, analysts, sports talk shows or what ever they always bring up Brady’s stats which are OVER INFLATED due to the way the game is now but fail to mention the FACT that Montana played in a much tougher era. The game today is all about SAFETY and why QB’s and receivers are protected to the teeth by the NFL. QB’s today can’t be tomb stoned as you will be fined and penalized for it and the same for receivers. A DB makes a nice shoulder hit and they still get an $18,000 fine and penalty. This comparison is an apples and oranges comparison. How many injuries did Montana have in his career and playing time missed due to those injuries??? Montana endured through concussions, back surgery, broken ribs, broken hand, bruised sternum, shoulder surgery, elbow surgery, etc. Brady other than the fluke injury he had in 2008 he has had a healthy career with minimal time missed.

    So Brady has the rules all in his favor resulting in much better stats and having a longer career. The ONLY thing Brady has on Montana is longevity and I have just stated why. Just look at this article here who wants to bring up that Brady threw for 505 yards in SB 52. Yeah well so what? Throwing for 500+ yards today is NOT unusual just like a QB today passing for 5000 yards in a season is not unusual. In 1984 Dan Marino threw for 5, 084 yards and 48 TD’s a record that stood for 20 YEARS until in 2004 P. Manning breaks it with 49 TD’s and in 2007 T. Brady gets to break it for a 2nd time with 50 TD’s and in 2013 P. Manning gets to break it for a 3rd time with 55 TD’s. In 1960 Johnny Unitas throws a TD pass in 37 consecutive games a record that stood for 52 YEARS until in 2012 D. Brees shatters it with a TD pass in 54 consecutive games. What Johnny Unitas did was MUCH more IMPRESSIVE than what Brees did just like what Montana did was MUCH more IMPRESSIVE than what Brady did.

    What Montana did and HOW he did it far out weighs anything Brady did.
    Joe Montana is the TRUE/REAL GOAT and don’t you EVER forget it!

  8. Joe Montana won Super Bowls under 2 different head coaches. Tom Brady won all of his under 1 head coach. Joe Montana never lost a Super Bowl regardless of coaching. Tom Brady lost 3 under the same coach he won all his Super Bowls.

    When you take away the era, that’s when you begin to win your argument. When you add it in, you redirect to yardage. If you compare the players with respect to their era’s, you’ll understand a simple fact. Montana had 2 years of 70% completion or higher, Brady 1. Montana had more restricted rules, and less protection for the quarterback position than Brady. Montana’s receivers had loosely defined pass interference rules, Brady’s had the max. Montana was undefeated in Super Bowls. Tom Brady was beaten by Eli Manning and Nick Foles.

    When it comes down to it, arguing that Tom Brady is the GOAT is the most absurd article you can write. Put the era into perspective. ADD IN the coaches. ADD IN the difficulty of the schedules to get to the Super Bowl. You’ll quickly realize that saying Tom Brady is the GOAT is always on the losing side of this argument.

  9. Cant argue hypotheticals. Facts are facts. Brady GOAT

  10. You also tend to forget that Brady plays in a league where all the rules are geared to the offense and the QB has complete protection by the rules. Brady would have also played 8 years had he played in the brutal old style NFL. You might need to change the article that Bill Belichick is the GOAT, as he deserves the recognition more so than Tom. I’m pretty sure if you line up a number of QB’s from Tom day they could put up similar numbers. There is a reason they say DEF wins championships, in all sports, not just in American Football

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