Joe Montana vs. Peyton Manning: Who Is The Greatest NFL QB Of All Time?

Getty Images

The Super Bowl is a week away, and the buzz around Peyton Manning is reaching a fever pitch. The hottest topic is whether Manning should be considered the best quarterback of all time or not. This has led to talking heads in the media along with every other football fan I know making their own “top five QBs of all time” lists.

It seems to be a 50-50 split based on the lists I have seen. Who am I to buck a trend? I will weigh in on the two best QBs ever, but keep in mind that this is a very close call. With so many things to consider, it took research and some real soul-searching, but I was able to make my decision.

I know a lot of people won’t agree with me, but I do not consider Manning as the greatest quarterback of all time, even if he does win his second Super Bowl ring this coming Sunday. I know he has all the regular season records, that he is a genius at the line of scrimmage and is poised for his fifth NFL MVP award, but I just cannot get past his checkered history in the playoffs.

The good news is that Manning always seems to always get his teams to the playoffs; the bad news is that an 11-11 record in the postseason is nothing better than average.

The guy who I have at no. 1 is Joe Montana. Montana has gone 4-0 in Super Bowls and won the MVP in three of those. He has been known for being the coolest customer in pressure situations, hence the moniker “Cool Joe”. He is an eight-time Pro Bowl selection and finished his career with a 92.3 passer rating and 3,409 completions on 5,391 attempts, along with 273 touchdowns, 139 interceptions and 40,551 yards passing.

He also rushed for 1,676 yards and 20 touchdowns. Montana also holds postseason records for the most career touchdown passes (45), games with a passer rating over 100.0 (12), and is second in passing yards (5,772) and games with 300-plus passing yards (six, tied with Warner). The combination of his steely nerves and accomplishments in the postseason makes Montana the best QB of all time.


Around the Web

  • 9ersFan

    If Manning wins the Super Bowl on Sunday and his 5th MVP, I would say he’s got to move into the GOAT. He would have the greatest combination of stats, personal awards, and multiple SB wins… if he wins on Sunday

  • Scott

    Yeah, but Montana played in a different era. They didn’t throw the ball nearly as much. Montana’s perfection on the biggest stage makes him the easy number one IMO. Had he thrown a pick 6 so the Bengals could have sealed that SB rather than a TD pass to Taylor, maybe it’s a different story.

  • sean

    Bart Starr is better postseason then Montana. 9-1 in the playoffs, better qbr in
    the playoffs, 5 titles…. if this is ur argument for Montana then Bart Starr is the greatest.

    • 9ersFan

      When discussing the GOAT I believe you have to take into consideration everything about a player’s career. I agree that a high number of playoff and SB wins will help a case but it is not the only thing. The GOAT is an individual accomplishment, that’s why I would say number of MVPs, Pro Bowl selections, and conference and league player of the year awards are just as important and Manning completely blows away everyone in those categories.