What does Tom Brady have left to prove in the NFL?
Apparently nothing, because even the man who preceded Brady as the league's consummate winner is admitting that Touchdown Tom stands alone in the annals of quarterbacking.
Niners legend Joe Montana, appearing on ESPN's "First Take" with regular panelists Stephen A. Smith and Max Kellerman on Wednesday morning, acknowledged that he views Brady as the preeminent signal-caller in NFL history.
"Insofar as there was ever a consensus that there was a GOAT among quarterbacks, it was you," Kellerman said. "Joe Montana is the guy, it seems, that Tom Brady has replaced as the consensus GOAT.
"How do you feel about that? Is there a GOAT in the NFL? Was it you, and has Brady replaced you?" Kellerman asked.
Montana, who was less clear in his response when asked essentially the same question roughly two years ago, was much firmer this time around.
"Oh, I think Tom has taken his place on the top up there a long time ago," Montana replied. "He's had a tremendous career, he's fun to watch. You know, everybody contests over that, but when you look at what Tom's been able to accomplish in the time that he's played, it puts him definitely up there at the top of the list."
Of course, the difference between now and two years ago is that Brady has since departed New England for Tampa, where he won his seventh career Super Bowl title in his first season.
The seventh ring in 10 tries gave Brady three more than Montana, not to mention a whopping six more Super Bowl appearances.
Even taking into account factors such as the eras and teams they played for, Brady gets the benefit of the argument, Montana said.
"There's a lot of great guys, before me, even if you go back to Otto Graham, who won 10 or 11 championships, so it's hard to compare them, but if you're looking at it, it's definitely Tom at that point."
While Joe Cool's four wins in as many appearances may have given him an "efficiency" argument over Brady, it's getting increasingly difficult to argue against Tom Terrific's top billing in the pantheon of champions.