NFL Quarterbacks Mount Rushmore of the Super Bowl Era

GREEN BAY, WI - NOVEMBER 30: Quarterback Tom Brady
GREEN BAY, WI - NOVEMBER 30: Quarterback Tom Brady /
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Joe Montana (San Francisco 49ers)

Bill Walsh is credited for being a genius for many reasons, but his ability to recognize how great Joe Montana could be ranked near the top. Here’s a man who won a national championship at Notre Dame and was utterly clutch throughout that time. Shouldn’t that have been proof that he could play at the pro level? Apparently not or he wouldn’t have fallen to the 3rd round of the draft.

Montana was not an instant success like many quarterbacks. It took him a couple years to master the groundbreaking West Coast offense in San Francisco, but once he did all bets were off. People had not seen a level of offensive precision like what he delivered during his prime in the 1980s. He was so surgical and so calm under pressure that it defied description.

This was a man who completed over 60% of his passes in an era where it was often in the 50s range. His 70.2% in 1989 would not be touched again for 30 years. He reached eight Pro Bowls, won two MVPs and retired undefeated in four Super Bowl appearances. Could he have added to that legacy if Steve Young hadn’t arrived when he did? Who knows, but that doesn’t diminish his greatness.