Montana vs. Brady -- The jury is still out

660332.jpg

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.

Adam Gase offers advice to presumptive 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan

Adam Gase offers advice to presumptive 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan

Coach Adam Gase, a finalist for the 49ers’ head-coaching position two years ago, learned in his first season with the Miami Dolphins it is essential to have a solid staff around him in order to remain focused on calling plays.

Presumptive 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan has spent the past nine NFL seasons as an offensive coordinator, including the past two with the Atlanta Falcons. His teams have ranked within the top-10 in total offense in six of those seasons. The Falcons play Sunday in the NFC Championship Game against the Green Bay Packers.

Shanahan’s knack for game-planning and play-calling are, perhaps, the biggest reasons the 49ers have tabbed him to become head coach. And he is not likely to delegate those duties when he becomes the man in charge on the sideline.

But Gase, speaking on “The 49ers Insider” podcast, noted the importance of being surrounded by a strong staff in order to continue to run his team’s offense.

“It really comes down to how good your coaching staff is around you and how good your support staff is and how you can manage the game during the game and still be able to call plays,” Gase said.

The Dolphins’ staff includes special-teams coordinator Darren Rizzi and his assistant, Marwan Maalouf, who have studied game management and are responsible for alerting Gase to impending in-game circumstances that require his attention. Rizzi is on the sideline during games, while Maalouf is located in the booth.

“They were staying one step ahead on things,” Gase said.

Gase and Shanahan have never worked together, but Gase said they have known each other for a long time because they are approximately the same age and came into the league around the same time.

“You see guys at the combine and the Senior Bowl," Gase said. "You’re at these functions and you see each other once or twice a year. And it’s always good catching up and getting a chance to talk football.

“We grew up in different styles of systems on offense, but at the end of the day, football is football, and there’s always great conversations to have. He’s really smart. . . (We’ve) crossed up a little bit, where he’s worked with certain guys I’ve worked with and vice versa. And I’ve heard nothing but great things about him, with what he knows football-wise and how he goes about his day-to-day activities and work ethic. All I’ve ever heard are great things about him.”

Shanahan is expected to be included in the 49ers' process of hiring a general manager. The 49ers this week informed four of the remaining eight candidates for the position they would not be included in a second round of interviews. That leaves Green Bay’s Brian Gutekunst and Eliot Wolf, Minnesota’s George Paton and Arizona’s Terry McDonough as those who are still under consideration.

When asked what advice he would give Shanahan, were he to officially become 49ers head coach, Gase said, “It’s all about communication.”

He added, “It’s all about that constant dialogue throughout the season. It’s really easy to get lost in doing your job as the head coach. But when you’re all invested in the same thing and you’re all striving to do the same thing and that communication is really rolling, that gives you your best chance to have success.

“It’s never guaranteed because there are so many factors that happen within the season with injuries and schedule and just all those little things you can’t predict, but when you have great communication and you’re all working toward the same thing, that’s going to give you your best chance.”

Jaguars retain offensive coordinator, pass on Chip Kelly

Jaguars retain offensive coordinator, pass on Chip Kelly

It appears the Jaguars have passed on Chip Kelly for a second time this month.

After reportedly not getting their head coaching job, Kelly reportedly interviewed for their offensive coordinator position on Monday.

But two days later, Jacksonville announced that Nathaniel Hackett has been retained as offensive coordinator under head coach Doug Marrone.

Kelly told CSNBayArea.com recently he would take his time to determine his next career move.

“I’m not going to close the door on any opportunity, but I have to be very smart in what I do next,” Kelly said two days after his firing. “I don’t have to take anything, but I wouldn’t rule anything out. I need to make sure that I’m in the right situation.

“I don’t know what the future holds. I’ll do my due diligence. I’m not going to coach just to coach.”

The 49ers fired Kelly with three years, $18 million remaining in his contract. The 49ers hired Kelly just two weeks after the Philadelphia Eagles fired him. Kelly went 26-21 with the Eagles after leaving his successful program with the Oregon Ducks after the 2012 season.