Joe Montana, Steve Young Had Something in Common: The Legendary Jerry Rice

Glenn Franco SimmonsAnalyst IApril 14, 2009

SAN FRANCISCO - AUGUST 10:  (L-R) Former San Francisco 49er players Steve Young, Jerry Rice and Joe Montana stand with a Super Bowl trophy during a public memorial service for former 49ers coach Bill Walsh August 10, 2007 at Monster Park in San Francisco, California. NFL Hall of Famer Bill Walsh, who was known by many as 'The Genius' for leading the San Francisco 49ers to three Super Bowl championships, died last week at the age of 75 after a long battle with leukemia.  (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

I've read two articles today about Steve Young and Joe Montana. Ryan Michael had an excellent comparative article in which he correctly determined that Montana was the best quarterback, while Tony from NB wrote an article that was not as extensive, but still good. He picked Young.

For young Bleacher Report writers out there, I'm an old dude, ready for the rest home, so my perspectives come from being a lifelong 49ers fan who watched every 49er game without missing one for many years. In fact, I rarely missed a game from the late 1970s to 2006.

I lived in such a remote area in The Redwood Empire in the 1970s that I had to listen to the games on radio and only occasionally saw them on TV. That changed when I moved out when I was 18 and got cable in town.

I'm such a faithful fanatic that I want my tombstone to be in the classic 49ers red and gold. Thus, I think I have the credentials to speak to the two excellent articles that I cited.

In Young, I saw what is probably the best NFL passer who has ever lived, even better than Dan Marino.

Although some will say Tom Brady and/or Peyton Manning are better, I disagree because I don't believe NFL competition is as good as it once was. (I realize many will disagree with that view, which is fine.)

My Dolphin friends still think Marino is the greatest ever, despite appearing on weight-loss TV ads. However, they hate Montana because he stuffed them at Stanford in 1985, capping the 1984 Super Bowl run.

In him, I saw the greatest NFL quarterback who has ever played. Hands down, if your team were in a jam, you wanted Montana.

Joe "Cool" does not convey the ice in his veins under pressure. He has the "unknowns," the attributes that you cannot quantify, that do not appear on stat sheets, on comparisons, in books, etc.

For those who came after the era in which he played, it is natural and fun to turn to stats, which do tell us a lot, as Ryan proved.

I understand that and I love reading the comparisons because they are filled with such valuable information and insights. They also help me remember the best time of my life, in terms of being a 49ers fan.

As for Montana and Young, I'll turn to what Ryan noted, and that is that Montana's postseason winning record is better. It is what makes Montana better overall than Young:

Montana's 16 of 23 postseason wins is a 69.56 winning percentage and Young's eight of 14 postseason wins is a 57.14 winning percentage.

These stats don't lie: Montana won four Super Bowls; Young, one.

There is one other thing these two share, and it's unusual because the "greatest" often play in different eras and for different teams. Yet their careers overlapped, and they shared in common the greatest wide receiver in NFL history, the legendary Jerry Rice.

For the 49ers, 1981-2002 was the gilded age, and one that I will never forget.