Sportswriters are the scum of the journalism world, so anything they say has absolutely ZERO import. They're failed athletes at best, and many of them were never athletes at all. It's like pointing to Roger Ebert as the definitive authority on the greatest movies of all-time.
I don't know how anyone could argue that Montana isn't the greatest of all-time, unless Jerry Rice, Walter Payton and perhaps LT enter the conversation. Those are my top four of all-time, and after Montana, you can't go wrong with the other three no matter what order you put them in.
But Montana was different. I posted a lot of stats and comparisons to other great QBs in the NFL thread a while back and I'll quickly recap them here, along with my reasoning. You see, the bottom line is that players play for Super Bowl titles. In the NFL, with only 16 games and with the outcomes of those games squarely in the hands of the QB more than any other player, the way a QB plays in big games is THE most important aspect of measuring the all-time greats against one another. To me, there are only a handful of QBs who belong in the GOAT category: Johnny Unitas, Favre, Manning, Brady, Starr, Elway and maybe Marino. And Joe of course.
The measure of a great player in any sport is their ability to elevate their game above and beyond where they normally play at for the big games. Joe's record in big games, his Super Bowl performances, his postseason passer rating and the four rings on his fingers speak volumes. In this respect, the only QB who has performed at a comparable level in the postseason is Bart Starr, which is why I would place Starr in the second spot on the Greatest QB of All-Time list. Regular season records and stats mean nothing when we compare the greats; they ALL had great regular seasons year in, year out. But they all play to get to the postseason, so postseason performance is the only appropriate arbiter when we examine the great QBs. In this respect, Montana virtually has no peers. There are a few QBs who have higher Super Bowl ratings and so forth, but none of them could hold Montana's jock and I don't think any of them have more than one ring. Kurt Warner is the first that comes to mind.
So given this criteria, coupled with the fact that the QB position IS the most important in football, I can't imagine any sort of valid argument that would place anyone other than Montana, or at least another QB, at the top of the GOAT list.
One other piece of food for thought: Jerry Rice is the only Hall of Famer who ever played significantly with Montana on offense.