Joe Montana is considered one of the best quarterbacks ever to play the game. But one has to wonder how he would do if he were playing in the NFL today? PopCulture.com had a chance to catch up with the four-time Super Bowl winner and Pro Football Hall of Famer, who believes he and his 49ers team in the 1980s would have been very successful in today's NFL.
"As long as [49ers coach Bill Walsh] would maintain that," Montana said when asked if he could put up big numbers if he was playing right now. "His thing was always was he liked to run the ball too. He felt that no matter what, you still have to have a running game. If you look at the teams that have won Super Bowls, still run the ball pretty much. Kansas City maybe a little less than most but still had a pretty good running game that went along with what Patrick [Mahomes] was able to do throwing the ball and the group of guys that he has on the outside."
Montana never leads the league in passing, and there was one year during the 1980s where the leading passer in the NFL would throw for less than 3,000 yards (Dan Fouts in 1983). Since 1998, the NFL's leading passer has recorded at least 4,100 yards, and for the last two years, the leading passer threw for over 5,000 yards. Montana's career-best passing yards total was in 1990 when he threw for 3,944 yards — the same year he won his second MVP award. But as Montana mentioned to PopCulture, the 49ers loved to run the ball, specifically with Roger Craig, who had 7,064 rushing yards and 50 rushing touchdowns for the 49ers from 1983-1990.
That said, Montana would love to see what the 49ers teams from the 1980s could do against the current NFL teams with the news rules in place. "It would be fun to turn loose John Taylor and Jerry Rice, Brent Jones and those guys," Montana stated. "The matchups you would get with Roger Craig coming out of the backfield. I'm sure Bill would have added a lot more wide receivers to the team just to throw the ball more. No matter what, he still liked the ball to get in the air. He felt like that was the most consistent thing we could do because of the way his offense operated and it was built… Our team would have a field day."