How lucky can 1 team be? Really, how lucky can 1 franchise be, when you think in terms of NFL QB's. The 49ers are quite possibly the luckiest franchise to draft and hold onto 2 pro bowl and HOF QB's for exactly 13 years each. Other teams have had 2 star QB's (Colts - Manning and Unitas, Packers - Favre and Starr, Cowboys - Aikman and Staubach), but none of those teams have 2 of the top 5 QB's in the great history of the NFL.
That being said, when you think of the 49ers you instinctively put Montana > Young just because that is what you were brought up knowing. Every person and myself included didn't put much stock in Young, yet always knew that he was something special on the field. However, when you thought about it, it was easily figured out that Montana was supposed to be the better QB of the 2 and how he was also the greatest QB to ever play the game of football.
Now I ask you, only counting the stats that have to do with the 49ers including the post-season (since I am only trying to figure out which QB is better for the 49ers), which one was better? I will be breaking down each part of their career with the 49ers starting with the Regular season, then to rushing stats (both regular season and post season), then to the playoff stats
Joe Montana: 2,929 Cmp, 4,600 Att, 63.9 Cmp%, 35,124 yards, 244 TD's, 5.3 TD%, 123 INT's, 2.7 INT%, 7.6 YPA, 12.0 Y/C, 7.5 AY/A, 210.3 YPG, 93.5 QB Rating, 6.7 ANY/A
Steve Young: 2,400 Cmp, 3,648 Att, 65.8 Cmp %, 29,907 yards, 221 TD's, 6.1 TD%, 86 INT's, 2.4 INT%, 8.2 YPA, 12.5 Y/C, 8.3 AY/A, 199.4 YPG, 101.4 QB Rating, 7.3 ANY/A
It’s quite easy to tell here that Montana threw the ball a lot more during his 13 years with the 49ers. That being said, he did everything else worse than Young. Montana threw the ball more times (almost 1000) more times, which in turn bumped up his yards over that of Young. Also that is where the more TD's came into play along with possibly the more INT's. There isn't one place where Montana is ahead of Young that even comes remotely close to arguing that Young is better than Montana. During the regular season, any person would have taken Young over Montana during his 13 years with the 49ers.
However Montana does lead Young in SK%, which Montana had at 5.8% and Young had a 7.4%. That basically means that Montana didn't get sacked as many times, which is more attributed to the offensive line, not the mobility of the QB.
Joe Montana: 414 Att, 1,595 yards, 20 TD's, 3.9 YPC, 9.6 YPG, 2.5 APG, 53 total fumbles
Steve Young: 608 Att, 3,581 yards, 37 TD's, 5.9 YPC, 23.9 YPG, 4.1 APG, 53 total fumbles
This really shouldn't be much of a surprise to anybody here. If you have ever paid any attention to the NFL, you should know that Steve Young was one of the best running QB's of all time, if not the best. His numbers are staggering when you compare them to Montana's. If you then turn it around and add on the other 585 yards that Young racked up in playoff games (while playing in 20), and Montana in 19 games only had 292, the gap becomes even bigger when you compare these numbers. I really do hate to say this one, but it’s not even close when you compare these players rushing numbers. Young blows away Montana and almost anybody else you compare him too. Still though, we can’t put very much stock into this. Sure Young had another dimension to his game, but it’s truly not a quarterback’s job to rush the football. I consider that a bonus. And Young takes the bonus over Montana.
Post Season stats:
Before I get into the stats about the post-season, as most of you know Super Bowl rings are a team accomplishment. Yes Montana did lead the 49ers to more rings than Young, however its a team accomplishment. Without the rest of the team, there is no way either of these players would have been able to get this done, so please don't bring it up.
Joe Montana: 378 Comp, 591 Att, 63.9 Comp%, 39 TD's, 18 INT's,
14-5, with 4 SB rings
Steve Young: 292 Comp, 471 Att, 62.0 Comp%, 20 TD's, 13 INT's.
12 - 8, with 1 SB ring
This is the one place where Montana completely dominates Young and pretty much any other QB that has played in the NFL. Montana blows him out of the water in all of these basic stats and even if the conversion was done to more advanced stats, it would even farther push Montana ahead of Young when it comes to the playoffs. Even though Young got it done, Montana completely left anybody without a doubt when it comes down to it in the playoffs. For Montana, you asked him to win you a playoff game and he was going to win it for you no matter what happened. Those numbers are staggering, but do keep in mind it’s only 19 games. The 19 most important games of Montana’s career? Absolutely. So I’m not taking anything away from Montana here, and it’s completely up to you, but I’m not sure I can put Montana ahead of Young.
As far as I see it, even though Montana put up the extremely impressive post seasons numbers, all the things that Young did during the regular season can't be over looked. Young put up better numbers across the board when it came down to all regular season stats, and even the post season rushing numbers. Being a 49er fan for as long as I can remember, whenever you thought of who was better, it was always Montana > Young. After looking at countless stats over and over again, I just can't seem to make that conclusion anymore. Young has really taken the cake with this one and moves Montana to the 2nd best QB's of all time, in my humble opinion.
Extremely hard to say, yes, it is, but Young's numbers are far to impressive to pass up during the regular season. Especially when he put up better numbers than somebody who most would call the greatest QB to ever play the game of football. In my eyes, its now Young > Montana.
All references to stats courtsey of www.pro-football.reference.com