Nostalgia: A Great Thing
March 3rd 2002
By Bryan Hersh of 49ers Paradise
Forgive me everyone if I get a little nostalgic here. I just had to write about this... It all started earlier today when I was talking to my girlfriend about Joe Montana. Now football is not her favorite thing in the world, but she listens and humors me - and that's really all I ask for. But it was the Direct TV special I saw today on the NFL's greatest quartearbacks that really got my writing juices flowing.
I was watching the special, amazed at the quarterbacking skills of such greats as Namath, Theisman, Bradshaw, Elway, Marino, Young, Favre, Aikman and of course Mr. Montana. Now I've always said Joe Montana was the best quarterback who ever lived, and I'm sure I'll receive some email from this contending for others - particularly Steve Young, but now more than ever I'm fully convinced.
When it comes down to it, and you have to pick one player from that upper echelon, and exclusive group of quarterbacks, there is no doubt it should be Joe Montana. Seeing his highlights, brought back the glory as I saw it as a young boy. Joe was special, he had a gift. He threw the ball in a way none of the other quarterbacks I've ever seen - including in the special could. Such precision, accuracy, and with such ease, Montana had the perfect throw.
It's easy to compare records, stats and the rest of that junk but when it's all said and done, all you have to do is watch footage of these players in comparison to Joe. Simply put - Joe is the best. Whether it was getting pounded by the Eagles and then throwing five touchdowns in a half, slaughtering the Broncos in a Super Bowl MVP performance or watching him elevate the play of the Chiefs to beat a much more potent 49ers team - Joe was an unstoppable force. A force I've never seen before and somehow think I'll never see again.
Today's NFL is a different NFL. Quarterbacks like Trent Dilfer can win a Super Bowl based on the players they are surrounded with - and don't get me wrong, Joe had a great bunch of players around him during his tenure in San Francisco - but he made them better players, and he could do it time and time again. Today's NFL has it's share of great quarterbacks, Brett Favre, Payton Manning, Jeff Garcia (among others)- all great quarterbacks. They can all help their team, they can all win games for their team - but not the way Joe could.
With all but TiVo commercials left, we as fans rarely see Joe anymore. He'll make a public appearance here and there, but the quite by nature star has sunken into the backdrop unlike so many others. But no matter how far Montana fades no matter where he goes, he will always in my mind, and so many others be the best there is, was and ever will be. I'm happy I had the opportunity to see Montana play - never in person - but nevertheless, to see him, and I will never forget his picture perfect passing.