Tom Brady grew up in San Mateo, idolized the 49ers' Joe Montana and has gone on to win multiple Super Bowls like Montana.
So whenever Brady goes after his fourth Super Bowl win as the New England Patriots' heroic quarterback, the inevitable question arrives: Is he better than Montana?
"I think that Tommy, with all due respect, is better than Joe Montana," New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft said in a NFL.com profile of Brady. "I know that's a leap, but I really think he might already be the best of all-time.
"I watch how involved he is, how driven he is. He's like (New England coach Bill) Belichick, he's into the details. And he's got a skill that makes him so special, he can process all of it so quickly. ... And then, he's just got that quality.
"Certain people have that sincerity. He's a very genuine guy. People can relate to him. People can trust him.
"He's like a fifth son to me. He's special."
Brady is going after that elusive fourth ring again. He has quarterbacked the Patriots to the Super Bowl in five of the past 11 seasons, winning his first three trips (in the 2001, '03 and '04 seasons) before losing to the New York Giants to cap the 2007 and 2011 seasons.
Montana, of course, went 4-0 in Super Bowls, with 11 touchdowns and no interceptions. His supporters shout those marks to the anti-Montana corner.
Harris Barton's June fundraiser brought together Montana and Brady.
Brady has had a phenomenal football career, from his days at Serra High-San Mateo, to the University of Michigan, to the Patriots.
The regular-season, career passing stats of Montana and Brady are quite close:
Both warmed the bench as rookies: Montana in 1979 as a third-round draft pick; Brady in 2000 as a sixth-round find.
Both lost a season to injury: Montana in 1992 with an elbow, his 13th and final season with the 49ers; Brady with a knee in the 2008 opener.
The greatness of these quarterbacks assures us that Kraft won't be the last one to muse over Brady being better than Montana.
Come Dec. 16, Brady and the Patriots will host the 49ers.
Brady's response to Kraft's better-than-Joe comment: —Well, that's my boss. And I love Mr. Kraft for a lot of reasons, and we have a great relationship, and a great friendship. He's been through a lot the last few years. There'd be nothing more exciting for all us players than to win for him, because it means a lot to him."