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There was no more favourable analogy for a generation of quarterbacks than Joe Montana of the San Francisco 49ers. Phil Simms recently compared Cincinnati Bengals second-year quarterback Joe Burrow to “modern-day Joe Montana.” Colin Cowherd, the anchor of FOX Sports, agrees, but claims that the analogy isn’t as flattering as it once was.
Joe Montana is one of the all-time great quarterbacks.
Joe Burrow and Joe Montana (L-R) | Andy Lyons/Getty Images; Focus on Sport/Getty Images.
Joe Montana is a native of Pennsylvania who attended the University of Notre Dame and played collegiate football there. Montana wasn’t highly desired coming out of high school or college, with a 6-foot-2, 200-pound frame, a solid (but not outstanding) arm, and above-average accuracy.
Montana was selected in the third round of the 1979 NFL Draft by Bill Walsh, the first-year head coach of the San Francisco 49ers, to back up incumbent starter Steve DeBerg. Montana took over as the 49ers starting in 1980 after waiting behind DeBerg for a season and a half.
This decision paid out handsomely.
In Walsh’s short-passing-based West Coast style, Montana topped the league in completion percentage (64.5%) in his first season. He topped the NFL in completion percentage (63.7%) the next year and was named to his first Pro Bowl. In addition, he guided the Niners to a Super Bowl victory against the Bengals.
This would mark the beginning of San Francisco’s reign as “Team of the ’90s” and Montana’s reign as “QB of the Decade.”
Montana threw for 40,551 yards and 15 touchdowns during his 15-year NFL career with the San Francisco 49ers and Kansas City Chiefs. He also had a 63.2 percent career completion percentage and 273 touchdowns. He was selected to the Pro Bowl eight times, three times as first-team All-Pro, and twice as NFL MVP (1989, 1990).
In 1981, 1984, 1988, and 1989, he led the 49ers to four Super Bowl victories.
Montana was widely regarded as the finest quarterback in NFL history prior to the arrival of Tom Brady (and maybe Peyton Manning).
NFL clubs shouldn’t be seeking for the next Montana, according to Colin Cowherd.
According to CBS Sports, veteran quarterback-turned-commentator Phil Simms stated on last week’s episode of NFL Today, “When you’re seeing Joe Burrow, you’re witnessing a modern-day Joe Montana.”
This used to be the greatest praise a quarterback could get in the NFL. However, times have changed in the NFL, and so have the sorts of quarterbacks who are most successful.
In reaction to Simms, Colin Cowherd went on one of his characteristic rants on The Herd with Colin Cowherd about why NFL organizations should stop seeking for the next Montana. In classic Cowherd fashion, the host used an NBA analogy and even a car business analogy to emphasize his point:
That’s not at all what I’m searching for, yet I really like Joe Montana. [Patrick] Mahomes and Josh Allen are the players I’m searching for: 6-4, 6-4, 6-4, 6-4, 6-4, 6-4, 6-4, 6-4, 6-4, 6-4, 6-4, 6-4, 6-4, 6-4, 6-4, 6-4, 6-4, 6-4, 6-4, 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 To say you’re on the lookout for the next Joe Montana is like to saying you’re searching for the next Tim Duncan in basketball. It’s a complement in both cases. I’m not searching for Tim Duncan’s replacement. I’d want someone as tall as Duncan who can also shoot threes. I’m on the hunt for the next Kevin Durant…. The stakes have shifted. I’m not on the lookout for the next Chrysler; instead, I’m on the lookout for the next Tesla. If Joe Burrow’s model is Joe Montana, I believe you will win a lot of games in 2021 football. You are unlikely to win the Super Bowl.
Joe Burrow on Colin Cowherd
Cowherd makes an excellent argument that is well-explained. The NFL’s offensive innovation has progressed to the point where athletic, big-armed quarterbacks are now the most successful. The days of the calm, precise pocket-passer, on the other hand, may not be gone.
Colin Cowherd’s argument is brilliant in that it requires Burrow to win a Super Bowl to prove it.
In 2021, Joe Burrow is impressing (and winning).
Joe Burrow, the “modern-day Joe Montana,” may not be as physically imposing as Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen, Justin Herbert, or Trevor Lawrence. He is, though, finding ways to win just as well as, if not better than, any of those athletic quarterbacks.
Burrow has guided his Bengals to a 4-2 record through six weeks of the 2021 NFL season. In Week 7, the team will face the Baltimore Ravens for a share of first place in the AFC North.
Burrow is heading one of the most intriguing young offenses in the NFL this season, with all-purpose runner Joe Mixon fully healthy and college classmate and rookie star Ja’Marr Chase out wide.
Burrow has a stunning 70.7 percent completion rate so far in 2021. He has 1,540 passing yards, 14 touchdowns, and seven interceptions. All of this came on the heels of a terrible knee injury that forced him to miss the final months of his promising rookie season.
It’s possible that the former LSU Tiger will not be as good as Allen, Mahomes, or even Montana. In his first two seasons, though, the quarterback has made it clear that he is the one and only Joe Burrow. And, thus far, that’s been quite spectacular in and of itself.
Pro Football Reference provided all stats.
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