Tom Brady’s childhood idol is one of the few people who isn’t ready to proclaim Brady the best ever.
Hall of Fame 49ers quarterback Joe Montana, whom Brady has called his favorite player of all time, said he can’t declare Brady the best ever because he doesn’t think players from different eras can be properly compared.
“I think that it’s really hard to put anyone in that bucket,” Montana told the Hallmark Channel. “Even before he got five — you look back to some of the guys some people don’t even know, Sammy Baugh or Otto Graham, I can’t remember which one but one of them won like seven or nine championships and so far ahead of their time. It’s so hard to compare guys from then to now, how they would compare here and how we would compare back then.”
For the record, Graham is the quarterback who won seven championships, four with the Browns in the All-America Football Conference and then three more after the AAFC folded and the Browns moved to the NFL. Baugh was a two-time NFL champion and perhaps the greatest example of a player who simply can’t be compared to today’s quarterbacks: Baugh was not only a quarterback who led the NFL in passing yards four times, but also a punter who led the NFL in punting average five times and a defensive back who led the NFL in interceptions once.
Asked if he could call himself the best ever, Montana demurred.
“I still can’t say that of myself because of just what I said,” Montana said.
At that point in the interview, Montana’s wife interjected that Montana does call himself the greatest when they’re alone at home. Perhaps Montana is just putting on a modest face by declining to answer the question.