Patrick Mahomes is the best quarterback in the NFL, the face of the league, and one of the biggest stars in all of sports. These are not hot takes. They are simply truths.
But since signing a $500 million dollar contract with the Chiefs, NFL analysts have gone over the top by calling Mahomes the greatest quarterback of all time and predicting that he will surpass Tom Brady’s record six Super Bowl Titles.
While those things COULD happen, let’s allow them TO happen.
In 31 career regular-season games, Mahomes is 24-7 with 9,412 passing yards, 76 touchdowns, and only 18 interceptions. His career Passer Rating is an ungodly 108.9. He has never lost a game by more than one score and has never authored a single game, sub 50 quarterback rating.
He is 4-1 in the postseason, losing only to the Patriots in the 2018 AFC Championship Game 37-31 in overtime. In those five postseason games, he has thrown 14 touchdowns and only two interceptions.
By winning a league MVP, a Super Bowl, and Super Bowl MVP he has had the best start to a career of any quarterback in league history. Other great quarterbacks got off to sensational starts as well and didn’t accomplish what many had predicted.
In Dan Marino’s first two years with the Dolphins, he set passing records which stood for nearly twenty-five years, won a league MVP and lost a Super Bowl to the 49ers. In his ensuing fifteen years, Marino never returned to a Super Bowl, never won another MVP nor approached his legendary 1984 season.
Marino is an all-time great, but not the GOAT.
Kurt Warner won two league MVPs, a Super Bowl and a Super Bowl MVP in his first three seasons with the Rams. Warner was 28, 29, and 30 during those seasons. Mahomes turns 25 in September.
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Warner was the last regular-season MVP to win a Super Bowl in the same season. He did go back to the Super Bowl with the Cardinals nearly a decade later, losing to Pittsburgh. Warner is a Hall of Famer but not in the GOAT conversation.
My favorite quarterback, Aaron Rodgers, won a Super Bowl at 27 years of age and won the first of his two league MVP’s the following season with what remains the greatest quarterback season ever. Despite going 15-1 in 2011, the Packers lost to the Giants in the divisional round.
Since, despite often playing at a GOAT-like level, Rodgers and the Packers have not returned to the Super Bowl, losing three times in the NFC Championship Game. Since winning Super Bowl XLV the Packers have gone 6-7 in the postseason. Why haven’t they accomplished more? In those seven losses, Green Bay has allowed an average of 35 points per game.
My point is, being dubbed the GOAT and winning enough Championship Rings to fit on two hands is rare. Mahomes can continue to play at his extraordinary level and not win another Super Bowl.
Look at the Chiefs postseason run last season. In winning the franchise’s first Super Bowl in 50 years, Kansas City overcame deficits of 24, 10, and 10 in wins over Houston, Tennessee, and San Francisco respectively. Talk about living on the edge. One wrong move in any of those games and K.C.’s Championship drought would be heading into year 51.
Mahomes is uber-talented, has a tremendous work ethic, and off the charts leadership skills. His head coach Andy Reid, is the most creative offensive mind in the sport. The Chiefs have stable ownership as well. Things are in place for a dynastic run. However, since the NFL playoffs are one and done endeavors, it is incredibly difficult to win a Super Bowl.
Tom Brady has played in nine Super Bowls. His best personal performance (Super Bowl 52) came in a loss, while his two least impressive performances (Super Bowl 36 & 53) came in wins.
With the new playoff format of seven teams qualifying per conference, only one team per conference will earn a bye. Meaning, unless you are the top seed, you will need to win three games just to advance to the Super Bowl.
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To secure the two seed last year, the Chiefs needed the Patriots to lose to Miami in week 17. Once that happened K.C. earned a bye, then faced the 10-win Texans and the nine-win Titans at Arrowhead Stadium. They won both games after trailing by 24 and 10 points respectively.
In Super Bowl LIV, Mahomes struggled early as the Chiefs trailed 20-10 heading into the 4th quarter. Yada Yada Yada, the Chiefs rallied, winning 31-20. As much as Mahomes was electric during that comeback, the Chiefs were helped by 49ers Head Coach Kyle Shanahan and Quarterback Jimmy Garappolo melting in the brightest moments.
The Chiefs appear to be set up to put together a decade long run of greatness. So were the Dolphins, Rams, and Packers during their era’s.
Before we canonize Mahomes and declare the Chiefs a dynasty, let’s see what happens this year first. It’s been sixteen years since an NFL team repeated as Super Bowl Champions. That was the Patriots in 2004 who then didn’t win another Super Bowl for nine seasons.
Mahomes and Andy Reid are easy to root for. But, to declare the Chiefs a dynasty and Mahomes the GOAT, is recency bias on steroids.
John Sapochetti is Co-Host
The “SAP & KAT SHOW”
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