Why Drawing Parallels Between Patrick Mahomes and Tom Brady’s Super Bowl Showdown Isn’t Premature

Back in 2019, Patrick Mahomes was in just his second full year as a starter in the NFL, and the Kansas City Chiefs were hosting Tom Brady and the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship Game. However, Mahomes and the Chiefs fell just short of the Super Bowl that season, while Brady and the Patriots would go on to their ninth together, eventually winning their sixth overall.

Patrick Mahomes and Tom Brady passing a football

The Patriots walked out of Arrowhead Stadium that evening with a 37-31 overtime victory. But we saw flashes of a new era to come with Mahomes that no one was quite sure they wanted to acknowledge yet because Brady wasn’t ready to hang it up.

When the Patriots took a 31-28 lead after a Stephen Gostkowski field goal with 39 seconds to go in regulation, most assumed the game was likely over. However, we were about to be revealed to the future of the league and ultimately Brady’s true successor. After the kickoff, the Chiefs were left with 32 seconds with the ball at their own 31-yard line. But Mahomes would hit two deep passes in as many plays that would total 48 yards, one to Spencer Ware, the other to Demarcus Robinson, that set up a Harrison Butker 39-yard field goal to tie the game and send it to overtime.

Again, it was just a glimpse of things to come, a sign of the future for what we would witness with Mahomes. Because, like we see now with the Chiefs and Mahomes, things usually went in favor of the Patriots and Brady back then, like winning the coin toss in overtime. With NFL overtime rules being what they are, the Patriots went on a 75-yard, 13-play drive that ended with a Rex Burkhead two-yard touchdown run to finish the game. Mahomes never touched the ball once in overtime.

Brady and Mahomes would face each other just six times before Brady retired, with their overall record tied at 3-3. However, Brady ended with the advantage, going 2-0 in the postseason with a Super Bowl victory in his first year with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Patrick Mahomes and Tom Brady hoisting trophies

As we have now all been absent of Brady for a full season, there has been a seamless transition of greatness. Again, we had preconceived notions, like we would with any new up-and-coming star player when we saw what Mahomes could do. But the thing is, none of us ever truly know until time passes, until there’s enough evidence to facilitate a rightful response and crowning of the next great player.

Brady broke records and set standards that are still almost virtually impossible to not just accomplish but comprehend. That’s in large part why no one wanted to signal Mahomes as his heir apparent — or any other player for that matter. Brady has a Mount Everest-sized amount of accomplishments that have no equal from the past or room for comparison in the future until Patrick Mahomes.

The reason everyone didn’t want to be premature in pushing Mahomes’ name next to Brady’s was that the former Patriots and Buccaneers quarterback was refusing to relinquish his throne and retire, thus continuing to pad his stats and trophy case after every season of play. With Brady now without a helmet and pads to further distance himself from others before him — and with the thought of any after him — Mahomes struck instantly and is now, with Super Bowl 58, going to his fourth Super Bowl in his career, hoping to secure his third championship overall.

This Super Bowl is significant to the Mahomes and Brady comparison. Mahomes is doing something that even Brady didn’t do, making his fourth Super Bowl appearance all before the age of 30. Actually, Mahomes has already taken one record from Brady during this postseason, winning the most playoff games before turning 30. He now has 13 to Brady’s 12 with his win over the Ravens in the AFC title game. While that’s impressive, anything Super Bowl-related is where it matters when comparing to Brady.

Brady’s last Super Bowl in his 20s was at the age of 27, and he didn’t make his return until age 30 against the New York Giants, his first loss. If the Chiefs are able to beat the 49ers in Super Bowl 58, Mahomes would just be able to tie Brady for championships at the age of 28. However, Mahomes doesn’t turn 30 until Sept. 17, 2025, meaning that he’ll have one more shot at overtaking Brady in this category, while also further surpassing his appearances, should he make next year’s big game.

It’s age that has defined this comparison of greatness up to this point because most are curious, and better yet counting, to see just how much Mahomes can accomplish in the amount of time he’s given to be productive in the league. That’s really what Brady’s legacy began to be encompassed by at the end, that being his longevity and the ability to still be impressively productive at a ripe age. So while rings and championships will be one measurement, it’s age, that will be more than just a number, that is what will perhaps really measure Mahomes to Brady at the end.

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