Patrick Mahomes vs. Tom Brady …
If I may borrow a popular meme on Twitter: It’s The Baby G.O.A.T., age 25, taking on The Senior G.O.A.T, age 43.
Brady is, without a doubt, the greatest quarterback in NFL history. His monstrous collection of conference championships (10), Super Bowl championships (6), regular-season wins (230), postseason victories (33) and NFL passing records reduces the “debate” to idiot-level gibberish.
But Mahomes? He’s the best QB right now. And though it’s premature to have a serious discussion on Mahomes’ chances of surpassing Brady for career achievement, it’s within the boundaries of sanity to view Mahomes as a conceivable threat.
Most important: Mahomes’ long-term athletic health. Ask Tiger Woods about that. Remember when Woods was a “lock” to break the Jack Nicklaus record for most triumphs in golf’s majors? Those cocksure predictions were snarled, tangled and snipped by Tiger’s surgeries to his knees and back.
Mahomes — as likeable as he is talented — is off to a soaring start. Mahomes is 33-8 (regular season) as Kansas City’s starter. He’s 6-1 in the postseason. Mahomes is the youngest QB passer to have a Super Bowl title, a Super Bowl MVP award and a league MVP award.
Mahomes just shushed the Josh Allen hype by completing 29 of 38 passes for 325 touchdowns to wipe out Buffalo 38-24 in the AFC Championship game.
After Sunday’s dunking of the Bills at Arrowhead – the Chiefs outscored the visitors 38-15 over the final three quarters — head coach Andy Reid said, “I’m an old guy who’s seen a couple pretty good quarterbacks, and I just keep going, ‘This guy seems to amaze me a little bit more every game,’ “I’m proud of the way he handles it most of all.”
Back to Super Bowl 55 …
In our quarterback-obsessed nation, a matchup doesn’t get any more delicious than this.
Though the big game won’t be played until 13 days from now, I’m ready to grab the hardwood from the garage and smoke a pile of pregame chicken wings on The Big Green Egg. Yeah, I’m peaking to soon.
Former Dallas quarterback and CBS star NFL analyst calls the Kansas City versus Tampa Bay Super Bowl an “all-time matchup” of quarterbacks that’s akin to having LeBron James and Michael Jordan dueling in the NBA Finals.
I understand what Romo is saying, and I appreciate the point he’s making in framing this generational clash of historically great quarterbacks. But Jordan retired at age 39 — four years younger than Brady is now. And LeBron didn’t win his first NBA championship until age 27. Mahomes won his first Super Bowl at age 24; a year later he’s going after his second consecutive championship at 25.
This will also be the first Super Bowl matchup that pits the winning quarterbacks from the previous two Super Bowls.
And you’ll have to indulge me, because some of the statistical aspects of the Brady-Mahomes competition is funny.
- On the day that Brady and New England upset the St. Louis Rams in Super Bowl 36, little mister Mahomes was 6 years, 4 months and 18 days old.
- Mahomes’ six postseason victories are the most ever by a quarterback age 25 or younger.
- Brady’s eight postseason wins are the most by a QB age 40 or older. And his 17 postseason Ws are the most by a QB age 35 or older.
- Mahomes’ 6-1 early-career postseason record is reminiscent of a fellow named Brady, who went 10-0 in his first 10 career postseason games.
- This is whacko: when Brady competes in Super Bowl 55, he will have started in 18% of all Super Bowls. And this is even crazier: including Super Bowl 55, Brady will have been a starting QB in HALF of the last 20 Super Bowls. One guy starting in 50 percent of the Super Bowls played over the last two decades? That’s bananas.
- Including the upcoming Super Bowl, Brady will have started five of the last seven Super Bs.
- As for the young legend … with Sunday’s victory Mahomes joined Brady, Kurt Warner, and Russell Wilson as the only quarterbacks to reach the Super Bowl twice in their first four NFL seasons. Mahomes is also the youngest QB to start in three consecutive conference championships.
Brady and the Patriots were responsible for Mahomes’ only postseason defeat, a 37-31 overtime classic in the 2018 AFC Championship.
Mahomes outplayed Brady in many respects, passing for 295 yards and three touchdowns without an interception. Mahomes rallied KC from deficits of 14-0, 17-7, 24-21 and 31-28. Brady threw for 348 yards and a touchdown but was intercepted twice. But when the Patriots won the coin toss for overtime, that’s all Brady needed to lead his team on a 13-play drive for the winning touchdown.
Two weeks later New England disabled the LA Rams offense for the sixth and final Super Bowl title of the Bill Belichick-Brady Era.
Brady was outstanding for more than half of Sunday’s NFC Championship, passing for three touchdowns to open a 28-10 lead early in the third quarter. But Brady was intercepted on his next three possessions and required a huge lift from the Tampa Bay defense, which stood its ground to secure a 31-26 victory at Lambeau Field.
Brady Haters — but of course! — already have forgotten Brady’s role in crafting an early 18-point lead, operating a late drive for a field goal and a 31-23 lead, and sealing the win after the Packers made the mistake of settling for a field goal to cut the lead to 31-26. The Packers kicked off, needing a stop, but that never happened. Brady and teammates weren’t about to give Aaron Rodgers another shot.
So it’s onto Brady and Mahomes. Again. In Week 12 of this season, visiting Kansas City ambushed the Bucs and jumped to an early 17-0 lead, but Brady and his crew made it close, cutting the KC lead to 27-24 on two fourth-quarter touchdown passes from Brady to wide receiver Mike Evans. But Mahomes and the Chiefs killed the clock over the final four minutes to bag the victory.
That game was played on Nov. 29.
Tampa Bay hasn’t lost since then, winning seven in a row including its 3-0 road slate in the postseason.
Super Bowl 55 is setting up as something special and memorable.
Mahomes is on his “Revenge Tour.” (Though he doesn’t call it that and has no need to publicly air it out.) Mahomes’ respect for Brady is genuine, but Mahomes is a driven young man.
In a 2019 game, Mahomes was spotted counting to 10 on his fingers after throwing a touchdown pass against Chicago. Why? The Bears had drafted Mitchell Trubisky second overall in 2017. Mahomes lasted until the 10 pick, and went to Kansas City after Reid moved up to get select him. Ten was a serious number to Mahomes.
This season during his team’s win over the Baltimore Ravens, Mahomes did another countdown caught by the TV lens. This time? Four. That’s because Mahomes — absurdly — was ranked fourth on the NFL’s annual NFL Top 100 list. Baltimore QB Lamar Jackson was No. 1.
In Sunday’s win over Buffalo, Mahomes may have revved up just a little extra motivation after voters put Mahomes and Josh Allen in a tie for second-team All-Pro, behind Aaron Rodgers. Or during the week, Mahomes may have heard ESPN’s Matt Hasselbeck, the retired NFL quarterback, proclaim this: “Josh Allen is every bit as good as Patrick Mahomes.”
Um, no, Matt …
Allen is not as good as Mahomes.
As Mahomes seeks another psychological sharpening for Super Bowl 55, the source already is in place.
“The Super Bowl’s the Super Bowl. Being able to go up against one of the greatest, if not the greatest, quarterback of all time, in his 150th Super Bowl, I mean, it’s going to be a great experience for me,” Mahomes said after Sunday’s W. “The job’s not finished. When we went into the season, we weren’t talking about going to the Super Bowl. We were talking about winning it again. We’re trying to run it back. And we mean that.”
Can’t wait for this game. Or the chicken wings.
Thanks for reading…
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