Joe Montana is nothing if not cagey about crowning a Biggest Of All Time in NFL, and he just lately added one other dimension to the dialog.
In an interview with Males’s Well being revealed Wednesday, Montana apparently determined to attract a distinction between “the best quarterback of all time” and “the most effective quarterback of all time.” You see, best means profession achievements (Tremendous Bowl rings, Professional Bowls, passing yards), whereas finest is straight expertise.
The previous has been a energetic debate for years, with Montana himself weighing in a couple of occasions. On the latter, nevertheless, Montana picked a enjoyable identify: Miami Dolphins Corridor of Famer Dan Marino.
Montana and Tom Brady, the previous and present hottest solutions for the “best” debate, might need extra Tremendous Bowl rings than Marino (a variety of gamers do, in actual fact), however Montana insisted nobody was nearly as good as Marino at merely taking part in the place of quarterback.
From Males’s Well being:
“He had a fast launch. I needed to step into a variety of issues to get sufficient [force] on the ball,” Montana says of Marino. “He had the right torque of his higher physique and energy to ship the ball shortly at a quick launch with accuracy.”
Marino performed 17 seasons within the NFL, accruing 9 Professional Bowl nods, three first-team All-Professional choices and the 1984 MVP award, however no Tremendous Bowl rings. He performed in a single Tremendous Bowl in his profession, dropping Tremendous Bowl XIX to Montana and the San Francisco 49ers in 1985.
Marino retired because the NFL’s all-time passing yards chief with 61,361, however now sits eighth on the leaderboard. He’s the one particular person within the prime 10 to haven’t performed a recreation after the yr 2000, which isn’t any imply feat contemplating how a lot the NFL has modified for quarterbacks within the final 20 or so years.
The league has made each effort to make quarterbacks safer and extra productive, and that is one thing Montana believes Marino would have drastically benefited from had he performed within the present model of the sport:
“Put Marino into immediately’s recreation the place he will get free launch…and his receivers, holy cow, weren’t very large,” Montana proclaims. “Now these guys are 6’4,” 6’5.” I feel [Marino] might be probably the most unsung heroes of the sport. Folks do not discuss sufficient about him or notice the numbers that he put up in the course of the occasions that he put them up.”
It is exhausting to argue with Montana right here; the NFL actually has modified that a lot. Possibly the New England Patriots would have received much more titles in the event that they named a younger Dan Marino their starter as a substitute of Brady in 2001. Then once more, it’s totally straightforward to say stuff like this, with no probability of being confirmed unsuitable. We’ll by no means know if Marino wins a hoop in a special period, however that does not imply we won’t recognize him.
As for the GOAT debate, Montana’s outlook appears to barely change by the yr. In 2021, when Brady received his seventh ring with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Montana mentioned Brady was “positively” the best participant in NFL historical past. He was rather less keen in 2022, noting it was exhausting to check eras and claiming Otto Graham received 11 pre-Tremendous Bowl championships in 10 seasons with the Cleveland Browns (it was really seven).
As for 2023, it was both Montana or Males’s Well being who made it sound like Montana now believes he is the GOAT once more:
“Earlier than Montana’s alma mater, Notre Dame pummelled the Navy on August 26, he appeared on the present panorama of NFL quarterbacks and determined the one closest to supplanting him because the GOAT is “by far” Patrick Mahomes. “The issues he does and is ready to do are so totally different than what every other quarterback does who’s on the market,” he says.”
Examine again in 2024 for our subsequent episode of the controversy that may by no means finish.