Montana vs. Brady -- The jury is still out

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Montana vs. Brady -- The jury is still out

Programming Note: Watch the game live, Sunday at 3 p.m. on NBCSports.com. Pregame simulcast will kick off at 11 a.m.

In a debate over the all-time greats at the quarterback position, Super Bowl and playoff statistics carry much more weight than the regular season.

That's why Joe Montana is widely considered the best quarterback in NFL history. It's also why many are saying Patriots star Tom Brady is poised to surpass the 49ers legend.

Here are the facts:

Playoff record
Joe Montana: 16-7
Tom Brady: 16-5
Edge: Brady
Super Bowl wins
Joe Montana: 4
Tom Brady: 3
Edge: Montana
Super Bowl appearances
Joe Montana: 4
Tom Brady: 5 (including Sunday vs. the Giants)
Edge: Brady
Super Bowl MVPs
Joe Montana: 3 (Jerry Rice won the other)
Tom Brady: 2 (Deion Branch won the other)
Edge: Montana

Playoff Statistics
Joe Montana: 23 games, 63 percent, 5,772 yards, 45 TD (2 rush), 21 INT, 95.6 QB rating
Tom Brady: 21 games, 63, 5009 yards, 39 TD (3 rush), 19 INT, 87.6 QB Rating
Edge: Montana

Super Bowl statistics
Joe Montana: 68, 1142 yards, 13 TD (2 rush), 0 INT, 122.5 QB Rating
Tom Brady: 64, 1001 yards, 7 TD, INT, 94.9 QB Rating
Edge: Montana

If the Patriots win on Sunday and Brady is named the Super Bowl MVP, he will have the same number of both Super Bowl victories and Super Bowl MVPs as Montana, and will surpass him in career playoff victories.

I know this may be blasphemous in these parts, but it might be time to consider the fact that Tom Brady could wind up going down as the greatest QB in history.

Take a deep breath before you start calling me four-letter words.

I am not saying that Brady is better than Montana. I'm saying that he's four masterful quarters away from being in the center of the discussion.

The 34-year-old Brady (turns 35 on Aug. 3) just turned in a season where he completed almost 66 percent of his passes for 5,235 yards and 39 touchdowns.

With the way the modern rulebook protect quarterbacks, combined with the fact that Brady and Belichick possess the definition of a "killer's mentality," there's no reason to think Brady won't put up staggering numbers for as many as six more seasons.

And there's no reason to believe Brady won't get back to at least one, if not multiple Super Bowls.

Trust me, I wish that Justin Smith and Patrick Willis were wreaking havoc on Brady in Indianapolis this Sunday and that that the 49ers had the opportunity to keep Brady at bay from Montana. But we don't live in a perfect world.

If we did, the 49ers would have drafted Brady in 2000 instead of Giovanni Carmazzi, and San Francisco might have eight or nine Lombardi trophies on the mantle, instead of five.

Instead, we have to live with the fact that Brady, who grew up in San Mateo worshipping the 49ers and Joe Montana, would probably love nothing more than to rack up six or seven Super Bowls and five or six Super Bowl MVPs en route to being considered the greatest quarterback of all-time.

I'm not saying it's going to happen or want it to happen. But it could ...

Check back Monday morning.

Shanahan delegates offensive duties to 49ers staff

Shanahan delegates offensive duties to 49ers staff

SANTA CLARA – Kyle Shanahan will retain the role he held the past nine seasons in his first year as head coach of the 49ers.

Shanahan eschewed the formality of naming an offensive coordinator because he will keep those duties for himself. Still, Shanahan made it clear that he alone will not be able to fix the 49ers’ offense.

Shanahan has assembled a supporting cast that he said makes him comfortable to delegate responsibilities whenever his attention has to be focused on something other than the team’s offense.

“I mix it up,” said Shanahan, who previously held offensive coordinator roles with Houston, Washington, Cleveland and Atlanta. “Different guys have different attributes.”

Mike McDaniel and Mike LaFleur joined Shanahan after time together on the Atlanta Falcons’ offensive staff. McDaniel is the run-game specialist, while LaFleur, the wide receivers coach, is the pass-game specialist.

Tight ends coach Jon Embree, formerly the head coach at Colorado, is Shanahan’s assistant head coach. Shanahan said Embree has a vocal role on his staff.

Moreover, long-time NFL running backs coach Bobby Turner is a trusted assistant after spending 14 seasons in Denver and four more in Washington with Mike Shanahan, Kyle’s father. Turner coached under Kyle Shanahan the past two seasons with the Falcons.

”Bobby Turner’s been an assistant head coach for our teams we’ve had in the past and anytime that I need him to take over, he does,” Shanahan said. “So it depends what period it is, depends what we’re talking about.”

The 49ers opened organized team activities last week. It was the first time the 49ers’ rookies and veterans were together on the field for offense vs. defense practices. Shanahan said it takes some adjustment for him to figure out how to best budget his time during the workouts.

“I’m used to knowing exactly where to go and what to do and I always did that from an offensive coordinator standpoint which I still do a lot of those responsibilities,” Shanahan said. “So, at times, I feel most comfortable when I go to do that because that’s something to do. But, when I pass it over to some other guys and let them do it, I find myself walking around a lot and I’m not used to that.

“It feels awkward, but I don’t think it’s a bad thing. I think I should walk around and watch everyone and see it. I always see it on the tape, but that’s later at night. You want players to know you’re there and paying attention to everything and I usually try to cover that in meetings the next day also.”

Harbaugh goes Biblical, responds to Jacobs' criticisms of his coaching

Harbaugh goes Biblical, responds to Jacobs' criticisms of his coaching

Former NFL running back Brandon Jacobs spent one season with the San Francisco 49ers in 2012 under head coach Jim Harbaugh.

Jacobs only played in two games and gained seven yards on five carries. The results were nothing like his 5,087 yards and 60 touchdowns over eight years with the Giants. 

Apparently being pushed to the bench as a 31-year-old veteran running back didn't sit well with Jacobs. 

“Going somewhere where they don’t have route conversions into certain coverages was just absurd,” Jacobs said Thursday on the Tiki and Tierney Show. “They’re just running routes in the defense, getting people killed. Size and strength is what they had, and that’s why they won.

"Let’s be real. They had great assistant coaches, but Jim didn’t know what he was doing. Jim had no idea. Jim is throwing slants into Cover-2 safeties, getting people hurt. That guy knew nothing, man."

On Saturday morning, Harbaugh responded to Jacobs with a tweet to him. 

Harbaugh went 44-19-1 in four seasons as the 49ers' head coach. He also added five playoff wins and a trip to the Super Bowl in the 2012-13 season, the one that Jacobs played for him.