Jay C. Brandriet


It’s often mentioned on the side, but we don’t talk enough about Joe Montana playing for the Kansas City Chiefs. His time there was a vital chapter in his story book run. It’s more remembered as him slowing down and not winning big. That’s the lazy memory. These two seasons added a layer to his journey worth bringing up.  When you are talking about his legacy, Joe Montana’s Chiefs days deserve more love.


Go back in time with me and think of the climate. Montana had just been involved in the loudest QB controversy of all time with Steve Young. Joe had missed two full seasons and Young was rolling. Montana was now healthy for the last regular season game in 1992. San Francisco played him for a half, and Joe looked razor-sharp. You could feel the 49er’s fans loyalty pouring out of the television. Those same people felt empty. It was time for number 16 to go.



It’s often a risk for someone of Montana’s stature to change teams. He was the best QB I had ever seen play. There was a lot to live up to. The Chiefs were a defensive football team. Joe was blessed with Marcus Allen. Instead of Rice, Clark, or John Taylor to throw to…..Montana now needed to bring along wide receivers Willie Davis and J.J. Birden.

Joe was 8-3 as a starter. He fumbled only once. He was selected to the Pro Bowl.

The Chiefs were AFC West champions for the first time in 20 years.

On fourth down and seven. with the season on the line….Joe threw a touchdown pass to tie a Wild Card game against the Steelers. Kansas City won in overtime.

In the Divisional round at Houston, Montana led another come from behind victory.

Kansas City and their quarterback made it to the AFC championship where they were out classed by the Buffalo Bills.

In the span of eight days, the Kansas City version of Joe Montana won as many playoff games as Joe Namath, Tony Romo, Ken Anderson, and Michael Vick each did in their entire careers.

Joe’s time in KC is an under used weapon in the GOAT debate.









September 11th 1994. San Francisco at Kansas City. I know it wasn’t a one on one game of basketball in the Park. Steve Young vs. Joe Montana was a huge deal. The game was “bigger” for Young. Still, Montana playing better and winning 24-17 was powerful career gravy. It kept the perception alive that Steve was the one still chasing Joe. Young and his guys went on to win what matters most, the Super Bowl. The two only played once, and Joe got him.


Five weeks later in Denver, Montana threw a scoring strike with eight seconds remaining to beat, and out duel John Elway in the clutch.


In only 25 regular season games in Kansas City, Joe was named the “AFC offensive player of the week” five times.


The reason Montana’s time as a Chief was important, is because things were harder for him. Getting off the ground seemed to take quite an effort. He was beat up. The numbers were now nice, not elite. This was a very good Chiefs team, not the dynasty he had helped build. Through the age and pain, I could still see the surgeon….. the tough guy with the sweet feet…and mostly I could still see “Joe cool.”

Jay C. Brandriet













Jay C. Brandriet



I would say my Dad was a casual basketball fan. He helped me love the game, but the NBA wasn’t his priority. He was a Utah Jazz supporter, and was quite invested from about 1988-93.  My Mom (Jazz fan) could sit back and marvel at Michael Jordan. My Dad respected Magic, Bird, and Mj. He was not going to celebrate them. They were not on the Jazz.

It was a Friday night in the early 1990’s. My Dad was sitting in a room while an episode of “Family Matters” was playing. I was about eight feet away and could only hear the sound. In this episode Steve Urkel is over at the Winslow house while Carl is watching a Chicago Bulls game.

I’m paraphrasing. You could hear the game announcer say…”The score is tied….Jordan has the ball….4 seconds….3 seconds….2….Jordan shoots it from the elbow…..and”….

Right then Urkel pulls his typical clumsy move and unplugs the TV. Carl is freaking out. “STEEEEEVE!!!!”

I assume Steve asked…”Did I do that?”







I’ll never forget my Dad shaking his head at Carl’s panic, then saying “He hit it. Relax.”

Jordan didn’t make all of his clutch shots. He missed many of them. This story was an objective look at  how people saw Michael when the game was on the line. They expected him to gut you.

Jay C. Brandriet


Jay C. Brandriet


Think about how often Carmelo Anthony and Dwight Howard are ripped on. They now seem to be people’s punching bags more than they are ball players.  Both are Polarizing men whose flaws have been the bigger part of their stories.

The following is understood. Carmelo hasn’t won enough. NBA insiders almost refer to him as the “he can’t win guy.” He will always be seen as a non defender. It’s too late in his journey to be among the VERY best to play. Today, he’s over paid while his game is failing. The media loves his struggle and proves it by piling on.

From a capability stand point, Anthony is one of the 15 greatest scorers to come along. The mid range game was butter, and he was clutch. Melo is an Olympic basketball hero. When he was on “my team”, I trusted him. He will score point 26,000 this winter, and has ten All-Star games on his resume. For all the grief Carmelo gets, don’t forget he will end up in the Hall of Fame.

These two have been criticized so much, fans may have forgotten they are great.







Howard is a more extreme case. He’s better than Melo, and is disrespected a level worse. Dwight’s reputation has struggled because his results seem less than his body and talent suggest they should be. His light-hearted nature and demeanor do not help. Kobe Bryant calling Howard “soft” was another blow to his image. Many of you tell me he never turned into the scorer you thought he’d become. We know he can’t shoot free throws. Dwight is going through teams at a rapid rate. Stephen A. Smith just called him “irrelevant.”

Howard once led a team to the NBA Finals. He finished second for league MVP in 2011. What he lacked in offensive structure, he made up for by being a special athlete.  For a window of time, he was a true superstar. He will never be Hakeem or David Robinson. With that said, he’s better than Dikembe Mutombo and as good as Alonzo Mourning (I like Zo’s game more, but it’s close). Howard HAS accomplished things that suggest he did work.

Three time Defensive player of the Year.

Led the NBA in total rebounds six times.

Averaged 20 points or more four times.

Finished first or second in field goal percentage six times.

In 95 playoff  games… Howard averages 18.4 points, 13.8 rebounds, and 2.5 blocks.

Last year, four seasons after being called “finished”…Dwight was on the floor 81 times. He delivered 16.6 points and 12.5 rebounds. He had 32 points and 30 boards in a game last March. Nobody had done that in seven years. That’s as good as irrelevant gets.

Jay C. Brandriet






Jay C. Brandriet


A common challenge often handed out in pro basketball chatter is to name your “NBA Mount Rushmore”.  I assume this means the four players you think were the best, who won the most, and had the largest impact on the sport.  I’d ask who you would choose, but it doesn’t work anymore. Too many legends have come through to fill just four spots.

I believe there are ten guys with a case SO STRONG, they can’t be left off this massive South Dakota sculpture.












No matter which four I pick, you can pick four just as good.






Smart arguments could also be made for Jerry West, Oscar Robertson, Dr. J, and Hakeem. Elgin Baylor or Havlicek would be legit choice for an older fan. I’d get your pioneer angle if you just had to add  Mikan or Cousy. Give KD and Steph some more years of domination, and wow. I know it’s just for fun, but we need a bigger mountain.

Jay C. Brandriet