Joe Montana never did it, not once, ever.
Yes he lost in the playoffs. As a matter of fact, he even got blown out badly by the New York Giants in the 1987 divisional playoffs 49-3, a game in which Montana was knocked out with a concussion in the first half.
It was the second consecutive season that Montana and the 49ers lost to the New York Giants and it would only get worse the following season.
After finishing 13-2 in the strike-shortened 1987 season, the 49ers were blown out at home to the 8-7 Minnesota Vikings, 36-24. The 49ers, who entered the game with the No. 1 ranked offense and defense in the league, were heavy favorites to win the NFC and ultimately, the Super Bowl.
The following season, the 49ers came back with a vengeance and got revenge in the 1988 divisional playoff game, a 34-9 route of the Vikings in San Francisco.
Joe Montana never lost two straight playoff games at home.
Sunday night, Tom Brady did.
Ever since his memorable Super Bowl XXXVI winning drive against the St. Louis Rams back in 2002, many fans and football writers began to compare Tom Brady to the likes of Joe Montana.
Many quarterbacks have been compared to Montana in some way or another, from Rick Mirer to Jake Plummer, but Tom Brady came the closest.
Over and over, comeback win after comeback win, Super Bowl titles, multiple Super Bowl MVP awards and with the same coolness and calmness, Tom Brady brought back memories of Joe Montana.
For the generation who wasn't fortunate enough to see Joe Montana play, they were getting a second chance with Tom Brady.
In the 2006 AFC Championship game against the Indianapolis Colts, the Patriots blew a 21-3 lead and fell behind 38-34 with only a minute left to play. Tom Brady then, with Montana coolness, drove the Patriots down to the Colts 45-yard line with 24 seconds left to play.
This was his moment and everybody knew it. The Colts knew it, the Patriots knew itand the football world knew that the Patriots and Tom Brady were going to drive down field and score the game winning touchdown.
They had to, this was Tom Brady. This was Joe Montana in the flesh for the generation not fortunate enough to have witnessed his greatness.
Then Colts defensive back Marlin Jackson intercepted Brady's pass and ended the comeback.
Brady responded the following season by guiding the Patriots to a historical perfect regular season record (16-0) and were one game away from being the second team in the NFL history to finish undefeated in the season.
A win in the Super Bowl would also break the NFL record for most wins in a season with 19 (Montana was 18-1 in the 1984 season that ended with a Super Bowl win over the Miami Dolphins).
Then the New York Giants defense stepped up and ended the dream, and probably more importantly, ended once and for all, the Montana-Brady comparisons, defeating the Patriots 17-14.
You see: Montana never lost a Super Bowl.
He was a perfect 4-0. Montana never lost back-to-back home playoff games. Never, not once.
For the second consecutive season, Tom Brady and the Patriots lost at home. Last year, it was the Baltimore Ravens who defeated the Patriots 33-14 at Gillette Stadium, and on Sunday Night, it was the much hated New York Jets who sent the Patriots home with a 28-21 win.
Tom Brady is not Joe Montana, not even close.
Montana never threw an interception in the Super Bowl. Montana never lost a Super Bowl. Montana led a game winning touchdown scoring drive that won a Super Bowl. Tom Brady has lead two game winning field goal Super Bowl drives.
No, Tom Brady is not Joe Montana, not even close.
There is however, a quarterback playing in next week's AFC Championship Game who:
- like Montana, won his first Super Bowl in Detroit;
- like Montana scored a rushing touchdown in his 1st Super Bowl;
- like Montana, lead a Super Bowl game winning drive with a touchdown pass in the final seconds (Montana's came with 34 seconds left, his came with 35 seconds left); and
- like Montana, thew the game winning Super Bowl touchdown at Joe Robbie Stadium in Miami.
And just for kicks, it happened to be in the same end zone as Montana's touchdown.
That quarterback is: Ben Roethlisberger.
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