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Long before Tom Brady won a combined seven Super Bowl titles for the New England Patriots and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Pro Football Hall of Famer Joe Montana was widely regarded as the greatest quarterback to walk the face of the Earth.
Montana, who led the San Francisco 49ers to four Super Bowl championships in the ‘80s, played 16 years in the NFL. The Western Pennsylvania native was the first player ever to take home three Super Bowl MVPs in addition to his two regular-season MVPs in ‘89 and ‘90.
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Montana was a perfect 4-0 in Super Bowls, he has the Super Bowl record for passer rating [127.8], and he had 11 touchdowns and no interceptions in those four games, which included head-to-head matchups against John Elway and the Denver Broncos, and Dan Marino and the Miami Dolphins.
Like many NFL fans across the country, Montana witnessed Brady win his seventh Super Bowl championship during this first season with the Buccaneers in 2020. Brady, who just finished up his 21st season in the league, has already said that he will return to Tampa Bay next season, even though his wife, Gisele Bündchen, said to him after the big game, ‘What more do you have to prove?’
Even though Bündchen may be right, Montana’s advice to Brady is to continue playing.
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“Play as long as you can,” Montana told Fox News on Wednesday. “Because once it’s over, it’s over. And if you try to get back to it after you retire especially at a later age, it’s hard to get that motivation back again. So, as long as you can keep it going, and if people want you to play, keep playing.”
Brady, a Northern California native grew up idolizing Bay Area superstar Montana. His idol was a third-round NFL draft pick. Brady, who was drafted in the sixth round, was seen in the same vein as Montana. Neither was projected to Hall of Fame greatness coming out of college.
Brady became the starter for the Patriots during his second season. Montana did the same with the 49ers. But Brady has now exceeded the quarterback he cheered in his youth.
To go along with his seven Super Bowl titles, Brady also earned five Super Bowl MVPs. Brady is a three-time NFL MVP, three-time first-team All-Pro, 14-time Pro Bowler, and holds a number of NFL records in the regular season and playoffs combined, including most wins (264), passing yards (91,653), touchdowns (664), game-winning drives (61), and fourth-quarter comebacks (48).
“I think it’s been great. It’s been great for football,” Montana said of Brady’s career.
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The University of Notre Dame alum also noted that Brady is “not the first (player) to move around and go to a Super Bowl.” And Montana knows from experience. Brady was able to accomplish with the Bucs a feat that Montana was unable to achieve after leaving San Francisco.
With another Hall of Fame quarterback, Steve Young, waiting in the wings in San Francisco, in 1993 Montana asked for a trade and was sent to the Kansas City Chiefs. In two seasons he did lead the Chiefs to the playoffs but was unable to carry the team to the Super Bowl.
The quarterback, who became known as “Joe Cool” for his comeback heroics, is simply impressed with Brady. He’s had a “tremendous, tremendous career,” added Montana.
While Montana may see some of himself in Brady, he did see one potential difference. “I don’t know if I would have thrown the [Lombardi] trophy to another boat or not,” said Montana, “Who knows? I guess tequila will make you do something crazy. But he’s been fun to watch.”
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