Patrick Mahomes Has Earned a Place Among the NFL’s Greats
Patrick Mahomes was finally alone. He sits in his locker at State Farm Stadium on Sunday night. It’s the first one you pass by when you enter the Chiefs locker room. He finished awards, TV interviews, press conferences, “I’m going to Disneyland!” and small talk with Paul Rudd. There’s still a lot of dancing and champagne to go, but Mahomes sits down and pulls out his phone. It’s a thousand-year-old version of a smoke break, an iPhone-induced dopamine infusion amidst the chaos around it.
Chiefs running back, Clyde Edwards-Heler approaches Mahomes, throws him up, then reaches over the quarterback’s head. Edwards-Heler rips the nameplate “Mahomes” from the locker. Looks like Edwards-Heler intends to keep it.
It’s not hard to see why anyone would want a memento from this game, especially since Mahomes’ name was written all over the place in Kansas City’s 38-35 win over the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl LVII. Mahomes earned his second Super Bowl MVP with 21 of 27 passes for 182 yards and three touchdowns. Turnover did not make and was not fired. On Sunday, Mahomes had six incomplete shots, but three of them either had to be caught or miraculously thrown halfway. Throughout the game, Mahomes, in fact, had two bad shots. That was reflected in his ESPN QBR total of 96.4/100. And yet the Chiefs went 10 points short at halftime after only playing four games on the field in over an hour of real time.
“I don’t mean to say we played hard in the first half,” Mahomes said after the game. “But you did not see the joy with which we play, and I said: [at halftime]“I want you guys to just know that everything we work for is for this moment. You must enjoy this moment. You can’t let the moment take over.”
Joy is perhaps the defining feature of Mahomes. Mahomes has many other iconic qualities. He has an incredible hand, short-stop throwing angles, ridiculously slow scrambling speed. He throws too often without his feet touching the ground, and it works way too often. His voice is a little strange. He runs like Pablo Escobar, pulling up his pants. Narcos. He can throw with his left hand or sneak, or really whatever it takes to not take the bag. Mahomes has thousands of things that seem unique to him. But one thing that ties them all together is that this guy is all about fun.
We are watching a generational athlete at his peak and not only is he one of the most talented, experienced and dominant players in the history of football, but he has the wisdom at 27 to understand what he, his teammates and everyone who looks like he should just soak in the moment, a lesson he apparently learned from his childhood at his father’s Major League Baseball clubs.
“[Patrick’s] I’ve seen the greats,” Chiefs coach Andy Reed said. “He strives to be the best. Without saying anything, that’s how it works. He wants to become the greatest player of all time. That’s who he wants to be.”
Mahomes will never be the greatest, not after Tom Brady’s Bucks beat him head-to-head in the Super Bowl two years ago. But Mahomes is already much higher on the list of the greatest NFL players of all time than you might think.
Tom Brady is the greatest quarterback of all time. But after Kansas City’s Super Bowl victory over the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday, Patrick Mahomes, just 27, has a reason to be on Mount Rushmore for NFL quarterbacks. It may seem sacrilegious to suggest that Mahomes is already one of the top four passers in football history with just five years as a starter. But comparing Mahomes’ resume to that of the greatest players of all time is compelling.
The Mahomes are now 2-1 in the Super Bowl and have played five AFC Championship games in a row. The same number of conference title games Peyton Manning has achieved in his career. entire career. Mahomes has two Super Bowl rings at 27. John Elway didn’t get his first ring until he was 37 after losing three Super Bowls in his 20s. Mahomes has two Super Bowl wins in five seasons. Dan Marino (nil), Brett Favre (one), Aaron Rodgers (one) and Drew Breeze (one) have won three Super Bowls together in over 70 seasons. If Mahomes never played football again, he probably would have been the first inductee into the Hall of Fame. However, this may not be enough to quantify what Mahomes has already accomplished.
Let’s assume that Mount Rushmore among NFL quarterbacks is Tom Brady, Joe Montana and (because I hear my grandmother scold me if I don’t remove him from this list) Johnny Unitas. Who deserves fourth place? Now Mahomes is fully involved in the conversation.
Arguments about who is the best at something inevitably lead to questions about what “greatest” actually means. Is it the most perfect or the most talented? Are we talking about statistics or trophies? How do we evaluate individual achievements compared to the success of the team? But none of these explanations matter to Mahomes. It already ranks among the best in all of these categories. Mahomes shattered the traditional pattern we use to judge quarterbacks like Aegon the Conqueror who melt swords into Game of Thrones build the Iron Throne.
If we’re only talking about team success, Mahomes is at an all-time pace. He is the second youngest defenseman ever to win multiple Super Bowls after Brady. In the regular season, the Mahomes already have the best record in their first 80 starts in NFL history (64-16). Mahomes has already won 11 playoff games, placing him eighth most of all time with Troy Aikman, Roger Staubach and Rodgers. If Mahomes gets three more playoff wins, he’ll be second only to Brady and Montana as the greatest playoff quarterbacks of all time.
When it comes to individual awards, Mahomes is in elite company. He is only the third NFL player to win multiple MVP awards by age 27, joining Brett Favre and Jim Brown. He is the sixth player ever to win multiple Super Bowl MVP awards. The only people who have reached both of these things – winning multiple Super Bowl MVP awards And multiple regular season MVP awards – Brady, Montana and Mahomes. And Brady and Montana didn’t win regular season MVP awards until they were in their 30s.
If we are talking about statistical dominance, Mahomes is definitely a good fit for the GOAT list. Of all quarterbacks in NFL history in their first 80 regular season starts, Mahomes has the most touchdown passes, the most passing yards, and the highest average yards per try (which is a fancy way of saying that yards per pass counts for touchdowns) . , bags and interceptions). He is the first player in NFL history to lead the league in passing yards and win the Super Bowl in the same season.
It’s hard to compare players from different eras. The current era of quarterbacks is lighter for a dozen reasons, from rules designed and enforced to protect quarterbacks and increase scoring, to offensive schemes that skew much heavier passing than even 20 years ago, to quarterbacks who come to the NFL as far more polished passers. after growing up in an era of year-round football and traveling camps. From the inception of the NFL until 2007, there was only one 5,000-yard passing season. There have been 14 since 2008 (including two from Mahomes: 5097 in 2018 and 5250 this season). Even Mahomes acknowledged this in December in an interview on new heights podcast with Travis and Jason Kelsey. He said he considers Marino’s 1984 season, with Marino throwing for 5,084 yards and 48 touchdowns, the best QB season in NFL history. But given that Mahomes leads in every meaningful way among passers who have come this far in their careers, there is no doubt that Mahomes is the highest scoring player in the stats. this era.
As far as sheer talent goes, Mahomes is clearly on the list of the most gifted passers we’ve ever seen, along with Rodgers, Favre and Elway. Arguing over who was the best doesn’t make as much sense as following the obvious origins of the shooter genre that Elway more or less invented. Elway made incredible over-the-shoulder throws for 50 yards this used to be commonplace. Favre did such wild shit in my 40s. Rogers Jedi. Mahomes is a modern marvel with a big hand, incredible agility and ingenuity that makes the most incredible shots look routine. For your money, given the stakes and the degree of difficulty, this is the incompleteness of Mahomes The Chiefs’ Super Bowl loss to the Bucks two years ago is the best pass in a football game. Mahomes’ talent should never be discussed.
But what pushes Mahomes into uncharted territory is that his greatness is constantly revealed at the moments when his team needs it most (like Kirk Cousins, but vice versa). There’s a difference between knowing that Steph Curry is a good 3-pointer and watching Steph Curry run to the corner, seeing him catch a basketball, and feeling deep inside that his 3-point shot is about to hit. . That feeling when you watch Tom Brady with the ball, falling behind in the fourth quarter. This is Peyton Manning indicating the safety of the defenders and sounding the horn during a two-minute practice session. It’s Aaron Rodgers throwing a Hail Mary knowing he has a 20x better chance of hitting the pass than anyone else. Mahomes is clearly part of this line in the history of the NFL and American sports. It’s Tiger in red on Sundays, Jordan who doesn’t even need Game 7 in the NBA Finals, or Mike Tyson in his…