Tom Brady grew up in the Bay Area as a San Francisco 49ers fan and dreamed of playing for the Niners at the same position Joe Montana played so masterfully during Brady's childhood.
Now, after Sunday night's Super Bowl, Brady can officially lay claim as the greatest quarterback in NFL history, passing up his boyhood sports crush.
Brady set a Super Bowl record for completions and threw four touchdown passes against the best defense and the best secondary in the league, including the game-winner (even if it shouldn't have been) with two minutes remaining.
He threw for 328 yards, and while he did throw two interceptions — matching his previous total from five previous Super Bowls — he won his fourth title and his third Super Bowl MVP, which matched Montana's marks in both categories.
Montana's numbers in four Super Bowls (all wins) are remarkable — 11 touchdowns and zero interceptions. But Brady did it in a different time, and for that reason, he's now the greatest of all time, even if by the slimmest of margins.
The fact Brady has been to six Super Bowls (an NFL record) and won four in a span of 13 years and done all of that in the free agency era with no roster retention Montana and even guys like Troy Aikman enjoyed makes him the greatest.
Add in the fact that Montana had the greatest wide receiver to ever play the game along with a stellar No. 2 wideout and a Hall of Fame running back, and Brady has done this with far less impressive people surrounding him. Aside from that one near-perfect season in 2007 with Randy Moss, Brady has never had a true No. 1 receiver. Instead, he's had guys like Julian Edelman, Danny Amendola, Troy Brown and other spare parts. True, Rob Gronkowski might as well be a No. 1 wide receiver, but this was his first try at the title with Gronk.
Brady has done it for a longer, sustained period of time and done it with far less talent around him. While Montana was so, so great, Brady has become greater.