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Joe Flacco passes Joe Montana on NFL's all-time passing yardage list — yes, really

Jason Owens
·2-min read

Here’s another 2020 thing you didn’t see coming.

Joe Flacco has more passing yards than Joe Montana.

Yes, you read that right. The New York Jets quarterback passed the football icon on the NFL’s all-time passing list on Monday night against the New England Patriots.

There’s a lot to process there — especially for casual football fans who might have also just learned that Flacco is a Jet.

The 13-year NFL veteran signed in New York as Sam Darnold’s backup this season and actually made his third start in Darnold’s stead on Monday with Darnold suffering from a lingering shoulder injury.

New York Jets quarterback Joe Flacco throws during the first half of an NFL football game against the New England Patriots, Monday, Nov. 9, 2020, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)
Joe Flacco passed Joe Montana in style on Monday. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)

How Flacco passed Montana

He entered Monday with 40,464 career passing yards, trailing Montana and his 40,551 for 20th on the all-time passing list. He passed the 49ers legend in style and very un-Jets-like fashion, finding Breshad Perriman on a 50-yard second-quarter strike to give New York a 10-7 lead over the New England Patriots. The Jets eventually lost a thriller, 30-27, to remain winless at 0-9.

The record is indicative of the modern NFL that values passing yardage significantly more than in Montana’s ’80s and ’90s heyday. Flacco, of course, will never be confused with Montana, a four-time Super Bowl champion, eight-time Pro Bowler and two-time league MVP.

While Flacco comes up empty in the individual accolades column, he does own a Super Bowl ring that he very much earned. And now he’s a top-20 all-time passer ahead of one of football’s all-time greats. It’s not a bad tally for a guy whose career probably doesn’t get the respect it deserves.

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