Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs just took down Jalen Hurts and the Philadelphia Eagles to win their second Super Bowl championship in the last four years. This feat has sparked much conversation over the trajectory of Patrick Mahomes’ career and whether or not he can surpass Tom Brady and reach GOAT (greatest of all time) status.
Before any of you Brady homers get pressed and think I’m saying Mahomes will be the GOAT, take a deep breath and relax, because that’s exactly what I’m saying.
By the end of their sixth season (fifth full season) in the league, Mahomes’ resume outshines Brady’s and it’s not particularly close. Mahomes has Brady outpaced by over 6,200 yards by this point in their careers, with Mahomes having 24,241 yards to Brady’s 18,035. He’s also thrown 69 more touchdown passes than Brady.
I’ll acknowledge that the NFL has changed a lot since Tom Brady was 27 years old. Today’s NFL is much more pass-heavy, hence the reason Mahomes has 445 more pass attempts by the end of his sixth season than Brady did. However, if you took 445 pass attempts away from Mahomes, he would still have over 2,600 more passing yards and 40 more touchdowns than Brady. Mahomes already has fewer interceptions than Brady despite the extra pass attempts, so that should speak for itself. Mahomes has Brady beat in quarterback rating, completion percentage, touchdown percentage and yards per attempt; the list goes on. The stats back Mahomes.
Perhaps what Brady enthusiasts care about most is championships. Brady’s got seven rings, two more than the next closest player of any position and the accomplishment most people point to when explaining why he’s the best to ever play the sport. It will be extremely difficult for Mahomes, or anyone for that matter, to ever get to seven Super Bowl rings, but if I had to bet on anyone doing it, it’s Mahomes.
By the end of five seasons in the NFL, Brady had three rings. Mahomes is at two. Both had two Super Bowl MVPs. Brady had three AFC Championship appearances while Mahomes has made it to the AFC title game each of his five seasons under center. The two that he lost were both in overtime, meaning Mahomes was only a few plays away from making five consecutive Super Bowls. Mahomes has three all-pro selections while Brady only had one. Mahomes has a better regular season record and win percentage than Brady to this point. Quite literally the only accolade that Brady has to hang over Mahomes’ head after five seasons is the one Super Bowl ring. It’s a big accolade, but it’s the only one.
Mahomes is Brady-esque when it comes to his football IQ. One of the many things that amazes me about Mahomes is his ability to adapt to what the defense throws at him. For example, Jonathan Gannon and the Eagles’ defense used Cover 2 against Mahomes in the Super Bowl in hopes of limiting Mahomes’ deep threats. Instead of tensing up and forcing the ball down field, he trusted the checkdowns and short passes, but when there were holes, he took advantage. Brady was similar in that way. The way Brady could read defenses and give whatever they gave him was incredible, and I see that same rare skill in Mahomes.
The difference between the two is the physical attributes Mahomes has combined with the aforementioned IQ. Mahomes is a much better runner than Brady and it isn’t close. His 26-yard run in the closing minutes of the Super Bowl to get the Chiefs into field goal range was longer than Brady’s longest career run by four yards. And keep in mind that Mahomes did it on a sprained ankle. He’s a much better scrambler than Brady and throws on the run more often and more accurately. Mahomes is also much more likely to pull off a ridiculous throw such as a no-look throw or shovel pass when it seems as if nobody’s open.
The icing on the cake is the arm talent. Mahomes has got a stronger arm than Brady ever had. In fact, he’s widely known for throwing a ball 80 yards during his Pro Day as he was preparing for the draft. At no point in his career could Brady throw a ball that far. Brady was a better pure pocket passer than Mahomes is, but if we’re talking about the overall package and what they bring to the table, I’m taking Mahomes without question.
The scary part is that Mahomes keeps getting better. If he follows Brady’s path and doesn’t reach the peak of his powers until he’s in his 30s, it’s scary to think of what he’ll look like by that point.
I know I’ve been a bit bullish on my claims about Mahomes and am fully aware of the fact that it’ll take a lot for Mahomes to take down Brady. But I think he’ll do it. There were rumors of Andy Reid (Kansas City Chiefs Head Coach) retiring after this season, but he quickly squashed that narrative after winning the Super Bowl this season. If Reid can continue to draft well as he has in the past while continuing to provide his masterful offensive schemes, I have no reason to believe Mahomes can’t win many more rings in his tenure with Kansas City. If he continues to play at this elite level for a long time and racks up three to four more rings, he’s the GOAT.
Written By: Cade Michaelson