Which legend had the better career?
By: Adam Hulse (@AdamHulseSports)
Joe Montana and Troy Aikman are two of the greatest quarterbacks in the history of the NFL. They are both in the Hall of Fame and are widely considered to be in the top ten QBs of all time. Their list of accomplishment are both extremely impressive and they will always be remembered in NFL history. The question here is about which of these two legends should be ranked higher on the all-time list. Let’s compare their careers to make a determination.
The Case for Joe Montana
As the quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers mostly in the 1980s and early 1990s, Montana put together one of the most impressive careers ever. He won four Super Bowls, which is the second-most for any quarterback in history, and won the Super Bowl MVP in three of those four victories. He won the regular season MVP twice and was selected to the All-Pro team five times, including three on the first team and two on the second team. He was selected to the Pro Bowl eight times and was clearly the best quarterback of his time.
In addition to all of the winning, he also filled up the stat sheet. He was the NFL leader in passing touchdowns twice and completion percentage five times. He finished his career with 40,551 passing yards and 273 touchdown passes. At the time of his retirement, he was considered by many to be the greatest quarterback to ever play the game because of the way he dominated the league. He was ahead of his time and revolutionized the passing game in the NFL.
The Case for Troy Aikman
Similar to Montana, the career of Aikman was also one that was defined by winning. He was the quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys for the entire decade of the 1990s, and two additional years after, where he found a ton of success. He won three Super Bowls and was awarded the MVP of the game in one of them. He was selected to the Pro Bowl six times and was among the best quarterbacks in the NFL for every season that he played.
It was a relatively short career for Aikman and one that can be considered quality over quantity. He did not compile a ton of stats but still does rank in the top 50 in just about every passing category. His leadership, which is something that can’t be measured, was one of the best of all time. The Cowboys really dominated the NFL in the 90s and Aikman was a huge reason why.
The Aikman Cowboys and Montana 49ers are considered two of the best teams in the history of the NFL and for good reason. They both dominated their competition in the era they played in, and the quarterback play was a major contributor. Both QBs have a long list of accomplishments, but when comparing the careers as a whole side by side, it’s safe to say that Montana deserves to be ranked higher on the all-time list. He was statistically better for his career, won more individual awards, and an extra Super Bowl.
Aikman is probably in the top ten of all time, but Montana is easily in the top five and can be ranked as high as number two. The fact that Aikman never won a regular-season MVP hurts his case, while Montana was clearly the best quarterback of his era. Though he retired a long time ago, there have still been very few quarterbacks that are even in the same conversation as Montana. This is even more impressive considering the way the game has evolved more and more towards featuring the quarterback, and it’s reasonable to believe that he would be even better in the style of game played today. Aikman is definitely a legend, but he’s just not quite on the same level as Montana.