Where does Rattay rate among best?

Tim Rattay had a tough act to follow. The three regular starters to play quarterback before him with the 49ers combined to earn 17 Pro Bowls invitations, and two of them now are in the Hall of Fame. Rattay obviously didn't live up to the standards set by those predecessors, but with 16 starts and 3,941 yards passing as a 49er, he does have a place among the top QBs in team history. Rattay seemed destined for a spot among the top 10, but in the final analysis, he doesn't quite crack that list.

Now that Rattay time as San Francisco's quarterback has passed after he was traded this week to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, here's where Rattay lands in SFI's list of the best quarterbacks in the 60-year history of the 49ers franchise:

1. Joe Montana: A two-time NFL MVP and three-time Super Bowl MVP, Montana set the standard not just by which San Francisco quarterbacks are measured, but by which all quarterbacks in NFL history are measured. If he's not the best quarterback ever to play the game, he's pretty darn close.

2. Steve Young: After waiting four seasons behind Montana, Young fulfilled his destiny of greatness with seven Pro Bowl seasons and six NFL passing titles. Young doesn't deserve to play second fiddle on a list like this, but that's what happens when you played for the same team that had Montana.

3. John Brodie: The 1970 NFL MVP played 17 seasons with the 49ers, leading the team to three consecutive NFC West championships from 1970-1972 and finishing his San Francisco career with 31,548 yards and 214 touchdowns passing.

4. Y.A Tittle: The "Bald Eagle" was NFL Player of the Year in 1957 after leading the 49ers to their first playoff game. He passed for 16,016 yards and 108 touchdowns in 10 years with the Niners.

5. Jeff Garcia: Believe it or not, there were many who clamored for Rattay to take over from Garcia in 2003 when the latter began to falter as that season progressed. The gritty Garcia produced back-to-back-to-back Pro Bowl seasons from 2000-2002 and threw for 16,408 yards and 113 touchdowns in just five seasons with the team.

6. Frankie Albert: The slinging left-hander was the 49ers' first star quarterback, enjoying some of his best days in the old All-American Football Conference before the team joined the NFL. In six seasons as the full-time starter, Albert threw for 8,831 yards and 107 touchdowns.

7. Steve DeBerg: DeBerg put up a lot of passing production while playing for some lousy teams. In his three active seasons in San Francisco, he passed for 7,220 yards, throwing for 29 touchdowns in 1979-1980.

8. Steve Spurrier: The Heisman Trophy winner never made it big in the NFL, but he contributed as a backup during the team's championship years in the early 1970s and had several starting stints during his nine seasons with the team, which produced 5,230 yards and 33 touchdowns passing.

9. Jim Plunkett: The Heisman Trophy winner from nearby Stanford had the 49ers off to a 6-1 start in his 1976 debut season with the team. He started again for San Francisco the next season before going on to win two Super Bowl titles with the Raiders. Plunkett threw for 3,285 yards and 22 touchdowns in his two seasons with the 49ers.

10. Elvis Grbac: It's a close call to put Grbac ahead of Rattay, since he only had a handful of starts in his three active seasons with the team. But Grbac led the 49ers to some big victories in place of injured Steve Young during that span and he had a 66 percent completion percentage while passing for 3,098 yards and 18 touchdowns as one of the top backups in team history.

11. TIM RATTAY: Rattay leaves San Francisco on the edge of the top 10, but that's as high as he goes. In 32 games with the 49ers, including 16 starts, he completed 356 of 586 passes (60.8 percent) for 3,941 yards, 24 touchdowns and 18 interceptions for a career passer rating of 81.6. But the key number is 4-12 – Rattay's record in games he started. All the quarterbacks listed ahead of him won more games as San Francisco's starting QB.

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