This is the online version of our daily newsletter, The Morning Win. Subscribe to get irreverent and incisive sports stories, delivered to your mailbox every morning. Here’s Robert Zeglinski.
Anyone who knows me understands I respect history.
I would never dare look down upon those who came before. But at the same time, I wouldn’t put my head in the sand if I saw something remarkable and genuinely unprecedented — like, say, a quarterback we’ve never seen before. Sometimes you have to look forward and recognize when the game has grown.
This is where I am with Patrick Mahomes. If he can take the Kansas City Chiefs to their third Super Bowl title in franchise history this Sunday, he’s the second-best quarterback of all time. Full stop. That’s right, at age 27, I feel comfortable anointing Mahomes over everyone save for that retired elephant in the room — Tom Brady.
I know what you’re thinking. But what about guys like John Elway, Brett Favre, Dan Marino, or Peyton Manning? And to that, I say: what about them?
What Mahomes has accomplished before he even turns 28 is just silly to consider on paper. It makes everyone else pale in comparison.
He’s started just 80 games and has almost 200 career touchdown passes while maintaining a relative four-to-one TD-to-INT ratio. He’s the first quarterback with at least 10 playoff wins before he turned 27 (11th all-time), and with just 13 postseason starts to his name, is also 11th all-time in playoff passing yards.
Some of the guys he’s just ahead of, like Hall of Famers Jim Kelly and Troy Aikman, were making deep playoff runs almost every year. They basically owned the first half of the 1990s. Here’s Mahomes eclipsing them now, while it feels like he’s only getting started.
And on Thursday, he might claim his second career MVP award after losing one of the NFL’s best receivers, Tyreek Hill. Folks: he’s just on another level.
I know I’m counting my chickens before they hatch, but wouldn’t it be fun to watch Mahomes try and match Brady’s ultimate Super Bowl glory for the rest of his career? Wouldn’t it be great to see a young legend try and live up to an impossible example? Mahomes has said he wants to be like Brady, just that he understands it’s a long road ahead. I mean, yeah: Ten Super Bowl berths and seven wins is a lot to live up to. It took Brady two-plus decades to get there. But if there’s anyone that conceivably could, it’s the man in Kansas City’s red and gold No. 15.
I might be alone in this regard, but I watch football for greatness. I like to see the best players on the best teams accomplishing the ridiculous in January and February. I like when they get me to drop my jaw because I’m so stunned. That’s what Brady did, for the most part, and that’s what Mahomes does now. All the time.
Patrick Mahomes has started half a decade in the NFL.
On a pure talent level, I’d argue this magician stands alone. We’ve never seen anyone pull off his unique mix of creativity, poise, and rocket arm and do it successfully. I’m immediately suspicious of anyone who says otherwise because that might be someone who wants to live in the past.
Beating the Philadelphia Eagles for another title won’t be an easy task. Some of the veteran Eagles have also been there and done that. (While Mahomes is forgetting important romantic days in preparation for them!) In fact, I’d be hard-pressed to pick almost anyone else to topple what was probably the NFL’s most complete team in 2022.
But Mahomes isn’t like his peers now, nor is he like those that came before. He’s better, and I want to see him start his “GOAT” chase in earnest.
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