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Why the Best Comparison for Patrick Mahomes Is Not Tom Brady


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extreme hd iptv

by extreme hd iptv

Comparing Patrick Mahomes to Tom Brady seems like a fun way to yell at each other during Super Bowl Week. Brady is the most accomplished football player ever, Mahomes could surpass him, and we are, as a people, obsessed with GOATs. But we can do better.

The most apt comparison to Mahomes is not Brady. It is Michael Jordan.

The problem with comparing Mahomes to Brady is that Brady did not become the best football player of all-time by executing unprecedented physical acts. He never threw as hard as Brett Favre; he did not run as well as Steve Young; and he did not avoid mistakes like Aaron Rodgers. Brady’s case as the best football player ever is built on units of time. If there was a minute left and you needed a score, Brady was your guy. If you could draft any 22-year-old in history and keep him on your team for his whole career, Brady is your guy. I don’t know if Brady played football at a higher level than everybody else, but he definitely played at an extremely high level for longer than anybody else.

Brady and Mahomes are widely recognized as the best two quarterbacks in recent history.

Nathan Ray Seebeck/USA TODAY Sports

Mahomes is 28. He has been the Kansas City Chiefs’ starter for six seasons. We can compare him to Brady moment for moment. But Brady’s case as the best ever rests on extended greatness, and since we have no idea if Mahomes will stay healthy, great, and motivated, we can’t really do a meaningful comparison of the two. 

Jordan is another story. In his last 10 full seasons with the Chicago Bulls, Jordan won five MVP awards. Only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has ever won more (six). Yet Jordan’s MVP tally understates his greatness.

In four of Jordan’s 10 seasons, another all-time great player (Magic Johnson three times, Charles Barkley once) won MVP because he played for a team with a better record. In another season, voters seemed determined to give the award to a great player (Karl Malone) who hadn’t won an MVP yet. But they weren’t fooling anybody: For every day of those 10 full seasons, Jordan was the best basketball player in the world. When he had a chance to prove it—in the Finals against Barkley, Magic and Malone, and in the Olympics—he did.

Now, look at the last five NFL MVPS:

2018: Patrick Mahomes
2019: Lamar Jackson
2020: Aaron Rodgers
2021: Aaron Rodgers
2022: Patrick Mahomes

The NFL will announce the 2023 MVP this weekend, but Jackson is expected to win it again.

As great as Jackson is—as deserving as he is of the MVP award—Mahomes has always been the better player. When Mahomes outplayed Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens in the playoffs this year, it was just affirmation of what we already knew. I think Rodgers is underrated historically (I also think he should have been on the NFL’s 100-year anniversary team), but how many people who watched the last six years of NFL football believe Rodgers was better than Mahomes?

Mahomes has been the best football player in the world for every day of the last six years. Sometimes his regular-season stats don’t show it. This year, Mahomes put up the worst numbers of his career. But if you watched the Chiefs’ games, it was pretty obvious that Mahomes had not declined. He was just saddled with one of the worst groups of receivers in the league. When Brady’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers beat Kansas City in the Super Bowl three years ago, Mahomes’s offensive line was the worst unit on the field. He was running for his life on every snap.

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There are occasions, like the end of the 2022 AFC Championship Game against the Bengals, when Mahomes makes a critical mistake or two—and since the NFL’s postseason, unlike the NBA’s, is single-elimination, those mistakes can end his season. Mahomes cannot prove his superiority over the course of a seven-game series like Jordan did. But he has proved it over the course of six years.

Some of this discussion, I admit, has a “Mahomes is better because Mahomes is better” feel to it. Dismiss it if you want. I am not trying to make a case that would stand up in a court of law. I just can’t believe anybody who understands football would choose another current quarterback ahead of Mahomes. Josh Allen is great; he is not Mahomes. A healthy Joe Burrow would probably be my second choice, but it’s a clear second.

The five MVP finalists this year are Jackson, Allen, Dak Prescott, Christian McCaffrey and Brock Purdy. Terrific players. Fine choices. And yet given the chance, I think general managers would need about one second to take Mahomes over any of them. There are a lot of fantastic players in the NFL. But there is only one Michael Jordan.

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