Patrick Mahomes: Matching Tom Brady’s level ‘seems impossible’
Tom Brady tucked his second and seemingly final retirement announcement into the middle of Patrick Mahomes‘ latest Super Bowl run. And perhaps it’s fate that these two moments should intersect, because if anyone is going to compete for Brady’s record of seven Super Bowl wins, it’s Mahomes.
The Kansas City Chiefs quarterback has appeared in the AFC Championship Game in all five of his years as a starter and is headed for his third Super Bowl. The only problem? So far, Mahomes has just one Super Bowl victory. He’s not sniffing Brady’s level — not yet, at least. But if Mahomes wins Super Bowl LVII against the Philadelphia Eagles (Sunday, Feb. 12, 6:30 p.m. ET on FOX and the FOX Sports App), then maybe he’ll find the pace to compete for Brady’s record.
“I think any athlete wants to be the best at their position ever. And I want to be, but I understand how hard it’s gonna be,” Mahomes told Nick Wright during an appearance on FS1’s “First Things First” on Thursday. “I know that Tom being in 10 Super Bowls and winning seven of them is something that seems impossible.
“So all I can do is take it day by day and get better and better and try to do whatever I can to have great guys around me like I do now and win football games. But at the end of the day, it’s a team sport. It takes a team, and I just [want to] to keep those guys around me as long as possible and keep Coach [Andy] Reid coaching for as long as possible as well.”
Mahomes has every tool needed to be one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time. He possesses the rare combination of football acumen and arm talent. He’s not the only NFL quarterback who can make a no-look pass, but he makes that throw and other high-difficulty throws at a higher rate than any other QB in the league. And, just as important, he finds ways to mitigate bad outcomes on those risky decisions.
He’s not just big, fast and strong; he knows how to apply those physical tools to make game-winning plays. And during Mahomes’ five years as a starter, he has excelled with different supporting casts, including with and without star receiver Tyreek Hill.
This season, Mahomes has battled through injury, most notably a high ankle sprain in the divisional round that lingered into the AFC Championship Game. His performance against the Cincinnati Bengals in Kansas City’s 23-20 AFC title game victory — when he fought through clear pain and physical limitation — indicated just how great he can be. He thrived amid immense adversity.
Mahomes a top-five QB all time?
Nick Wright, Chris Broussard and Kevin Wildes discuss Chiefs GM Brett Veach’s praise of Patrick Mahomes. Veach said Kansas City’s AFC title game win over the Bengals “adds to [Mahomes’] already great legacy.”
That’s what the best players in sports history do. Michael Jordan had his flu game, when he famously scored 38 points in a pivotal Game 5 of the 1997 NBA Finals despite feeling like he was going to pass out. Brady has played through countless knee and ankle injuries, and he overcame a 28-3 deficit in a Super Bowl. And that’s, in part, what Mahomes admires about Brady — those intangible qualities.
“He has the Jordan in him,” Mahomes told Wright about Brady. “[It’s] that will to win and that will to be the best. I think that’s what makes Tom so great. And even though he might not have the best arm or the best mobility, he’s still really good at both of those things — moving within the pocket and arm strength. And then his will to bring his teammates along is special and his willingness to be great and be the best is special.
“That’s something that, whenever I talk to Tom, I just try to learn as much as possible. He’s more than willing to give me some advice, which is pretty cool. Because he is the GOAT and someone that I want to try to chase. But I know it’s a long ways away for me, and I have to continue to just win football games.”
Mahomes is in the middle of a pressurized situation, with a third Super Bowl appearance on the horizon. So it’s understandable for him to downplay comparisons to Brady — to label the quest to match Brady as “impossible.”
But, of course, it’s possible. Mahomes is a real contender to one day become the greatest quarterback of all time. There’s always the chance he goes the way of Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees and Peyton Manning. They, too, were contenders — great QBs only to fall out of contention to be the greatest. Mahomes can be great — he’s already great.
But to be the greatest of all time?
Mahomes needs to start with his second Super Bowl win. And he seems to know it.
Prior to joining FOX Sports as the AFC East reporter, Henry McKenna spent seven years covering the Patriots for USA TODAY Sports Media Group and Boston Globe Media. Follow him on Twitter at @McKennAnalysis.
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