Joe Montana admits the obvious: Tom Brady is the NFL's GOAT

Jack Baer
·2-min read

There was plenty to take away from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' Super Bowl championship last month, but by far the loudest story to emerge from Tampa was the further solidification of Tom Brady's legacy.

By winning a title under a coach not named Bill Belichick, Brady removed what would have been one of the biggest counterarguments against his status as the NFL's consensus greatest of all time had he retired with the New England Patriots.

Brady now has seven rings with two different teams, five Super Bowl MVP awards in 10 appearances, three MVP awards, a record 14 Pro Bowl selections and the NFL's all-time record in passing touchdowns. GOAT debates are tiresome and reductive no matter the sport, but in Brady's case, it seems to be a pretty short debate at this point.

That was the case when Joe Montana, previously the answer for many in the GOAT debate, appeared on ESPN's "First Take" on Wednesday. Asked by Max Kellerman if he believes Brady has surpassed him and all others, Montana said that had happened a long time ago:

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Montana's answer:

I think Tom has taken his place on the top up there a long time ago. He's had a tremendous career, he's fun to watch. Everybody always contests over that, but I think if you look at what Tom has been able to accomplish in his time that he's played, I think it puts him definitely up there at the top of the list.

There's a lot of great guys, as I said, before me, you go back to Otto Graham, who won 10 or 11 championships. It's hard to compare them, but if you're looking at it, yeah, definitely Tom at that point.

Hearing that from Montana likely means a lot for Brady, who grew up idolizing the San Francisco 49ers legend.

It should be noted that Graham only won seven championships (four AAFC championships, three NFL championships), but did reach a title game in all 10 years of his career with the Cleveland Browns.

Montana is correct, though, in that it is very hard to compare quarterbacks in a sport that is constantly changing with so many different coaches and systems. There are still some people out there who wish they could see what would have happened had Peyton Manning or Aaron Rodgers got to play under Bill Belichick for most of their careers.

GOAT status is an amorphous enough status that it is borderline impossible to nail down a correct answer for nearly any sport, but Brady has at least put himself in the status where the entire debate revolves around him.

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