The beginning of Patrick Mahomes career looks very similar to two NFL legends that came before him, Tom Brady and Ben Roethlisberger. Those two quarterbacks had very different career outcomes, so what can that tell us about Mahomes’ future?We’re just a few weeks away from Patrick Mahomes embarking on his seventh campaign as an NFL quarterback. The accolades by this point are well known: five AFC Championships, three Super Bowls, two Super Bowl MVPs, and two NFL MVPs. And that’s just the hardware.
This puts Mahomes in some rarified air, especially when it comes to Super Bowls. A quick glance at history shows us only a few quarterbacks have won multiple Super Bowls in their first five years as starters. (I’m excluding Mahomes rookie year where he didn’t play.) The shortlist includes Troy Aikman, Tom Brady, Ben Roethlisberger, and Mahomes.It’s the two career outcomes of Brady and Big Ben that fascinate me most when analyzing possible career outcomes for Mahomes. And in particular, it showcases how fickle NFL careers can be. On the one hand, it should show us that Kansas City Chiefs fans should appreciate the success now because nothing more is promised or guaranteed—much like Big Ben encountered. On the other hand, this success does feel different and sustainable—much like the Tom Brady dynasties.
Ben Roethlisberger entered the league in 2004 as part of a quarterback class that is considered one of the greatest of all time. It had the trio of Ben, Eli Manning, and Philip Rivers. Two of those guys would win four rings between them and Rivers would have a near Hall of Fame career himself.
Big Ben got off to a hot start by winning the Super Bowl in just his second year (Eli would win in the next, his third year). Three years later Roethlisberger would win it again. Two Super Bowls. Five years. Just like Mahomes. And yet, over the course of the next 13 years of his career, Big Ben only went back to the big game one more time and lost.