As Tom Brady enters his 12th full season and 13th overall in the NFL, it is not too early to begin to think about where Brady ranks in terms of the all-time best quarterbacks in NFL history.
Patriots owner Robert Kraft was asked recently how he thinks Brady compares to arguably the best quarterback in NFL history in Joe Montana.
"I think that Tommy, with all due respect, is better than Joe Montana," Kraft told NFL.com. "I know that's a leap, but I really think he might already be the best of all-time. I watch how involved he is, how driven he is."
Montana is best known for success in Super Bowls where he went 4-0 and is a three-time Super Bowl MVP. He threw 11 touchdown passes and zero interceptions in his four appearances.
On the other hand, Brady has not performed as well in the big game. Brady is 3-2 with two MVP awards to go along with nine touchdowns and two interceptions. He does have a better overall playoff record, but not by much. Brady is 14-5 overall while Montana is 16-7.
There is no question when it comes to the big game Montana has the edge, but when it comes to the regular season Brady seems to come out on top.
Montana played in the league for 15 seasons and finished by throwing for 40,551 yards, 273 touchdowns and 139 interceptions. Montana's teams went 117-47 in his starts. In his first 12 seasons Brady has thrown for 39,979 yards, 300 touchdowns and 115 interceptions. Brady's teams have gone 124-35 in his starts.
Although Brady has the better numbers, and still has a few seasons left in him, the league has evolved over time and has turned into a passing league centered around the quarterbacks. When Montana played the league was not a passing league, thus his statistics probably weren't what they would have been if he played today.
How much more does winning the big game have over regular season stats? How does the difference in eras factor in?
As it stands now solid claims can be made for both players, but Brady still has a few more years left. If he can lead the Patriots back to the Super Bowl and snap his two game losing streak in the big game, there would leave no doubt.