Brady, Mahomes, And The GOAT Debate

 7 replies

Right now when you talk about the GOAT in the NFL, most people say it’s Tom Brady and there’s not even a discussion. While he is certainly in the conversation, it shouldn’t be unanimous. So let’s have the discussion.

Rings Are Important, But They Aren’t Everything

When talking about the GOAT, it should be a player that dominated at their position at a level nobody else ever has. At quarterback in particular this has to include Super Bowl championships. The quarterback position has such a huge impact on the outcome of games that it should be all but impossible for the GOAT quarterback to not eventually win one.

However, it shouldn’t be the only criteria for determining the GOAT. When talking about Brady the conversation starts and ends with his admittedly incredibly impressive 7 rings. But as much as quarterbacks should be expected to win at the highest levels if they want to be in the GOAT conversation, it is still a team game with outcomes that are often outside the quarterback’s control.

The GOAT quarterback should be expected to also dominate individually as well. There’s a reason why Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers will be easy 1st ballot Hall of Famers, while Eli Manning likely won’t get in at all despite having as many rings as both of them combined.

The Different Between The GOAT and THE GOAT

In addition to the mainstream discussion being overly focused on rings, it also lacks the nuance to distinguish between “the GOAT” and “THE GOAT”. When talking about lower case t the GOAT it is a discussion with no firm answer. The standards for entry into the conversation are high, but there are still a handful of possible options.

THE GOAT, on the other hand, is unanimous. This person is so far ahead of everybody else that no matter how you look at it the answer is still so clearly obvious that nobody could seriously deny it.

The standard for being THE GOAT isn’t just high, it is so incredibly high that there might not even be a single person who meets it. Jerry Rice is THE GOAT at WR because he put up numbers that no other receiver is even close to, especially when you adjust for era.

The Case Against Brady

That’s the problem with Brady. He is certainly in the discussion for the GOAT, as he has both the individual and team success necessary to make the cut. But while is team success blows everybody else out of the water, his individual success does not.

MVP’s are another important metric when judging quarterback legacies. It’s hard to think of a quarterback who could reasonably be in the GOAT conversation who hasn’t won multiple MVP awards. If you aren’t the best player in the league over the course of a season multiple times, how could you say you’re the best player in the history of the league?

Brady’s 3 MVPs is actually really good. But there are two guys who have more than him, Aaron Rodgers with 4 and Peyton Manning with 5. And what’s even worse is that both Manning and Rodgers won theirs while Brady was playing.

That means that during the 21 seasons where Brady started the full season (or almost the full season when he was suspended in 2016), only 3 times did the AP voters believe he was the best player in the league that year. But 9 times they decided that Rodgers or Manning were better than Brady and should get the award.

His success is still so great that he’s still in the GOAT conversation, but THE GOAT should be so much better than everybody else that there is no question. How can you say he meets that standard when not just one, but two other quarterbacks won more MVP awards than him while he was playing?

What Does Mahomes Need To Do?

My point is that there should be an open discussion about who the GOAT is. Brady is certainly in it, but I don’t see how you can exclude somebody like Manning when he has 5 MVP awards and multiple Super Bowls himself, doing so in a much shorter timeframe than Brady.

So what about Mahomes? Madden already declared him the “baby GOAT”, implying that he will be there once his career finishes. And indeed he’d have to face a pretty significant decline to not be in the conversation in 10-15 years.

But what about being THE GOAT? What would he need to do to get there?

I would argue that he doesn’t necessarily have to match Brady in Super Bowls as long as he blows him out everywhere else. If he finishes with 6 Super Bowls and 6 MVPs I think that would be enough to put him firmly above Brady.

But I’m not so sure that’d be enough to be the undisputed GOAT. To me it’s not even about MVPs and Super Bowls, but the level of those MVPs. His 2018 season was historic, and his ability to consistently put up outstanding seasons is unmatched. But outside of 2018 his seasons are merely really good. For him to be THE GOAT in my eyes he needs to start putting up historic seasons on a regular basis. When people talk about the all-time great individual quarterback seasons, Mahomes should make up half the list. He has the potential to do it, but he needs to take another step to reach that place.

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05/26/2023 10:38 pm

I’m late, and most likely nobody will ever see this but-
I think Mahomes is already the GOAT at the position. League and Suoer Bowl MVP in 40% of his seasons as a starter. In 5 seasons, just 5, he has already surpassed half the dudes in the HoF for career stats. Most of which played for 3 times as long, if not longer. The speed with which he has caught the all-time greats in individual stats is really unprecedented. We are watching Chamberlain/Gretzky/Jordan type stuff here. And the level of success is truly remarkable. If I am not mistaken, he has only once ever walked off the field in a postseason game behind. The ones we lost except the OLless Super Bowl he was on the sideline and the defense gave away the winning score. 60% of his seasons have ended in the final game, 40% winning. With better defense, it would be 80% in both categories. His winning percentage in games in which the team was behind 10 points is utterly ludicrous. He is beyond clutch, no game is ever out of reach with Mahomes on the field. In every possible measure, no QB in history has ever done what Mahomes has done.

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Last edited 7 days ago by WaywerdSon
05/26/2023 1:36 pm

Let’s add Hopkins and see if that helps the whole legendary season’s requirement.

Team Player
Team Player
05/26/2023 12:04 pm

Mahomes is the Goat because he is in touch with his inner Kid

Reply to  Team Player
05/26/2023 12:46 pm

Took me a minute. 😂🤣

05/26/2023 11:52 am

Brady, Manning, Mahomes will “be there” in 10 years, Montana and a VERY few VERY select others … very true the whole “championship” and Ring Thing is dependent on so many other factors out of any one player’s control(and it’s STILL a “team sport”)

Marino, incredible talent and went to (and won) HOW MANY playoff games? Unitas, one can only imagine his physical talent in today’s NFL (ERA Adjusted Yardage or somesuch? Win %? both a major part of Stats)

the whole goat thing is pretty much unanswerable without a specific definition (Stats, Rings, MVPs as a full metric, maybe?) … but it’s fun to discuss


the REAL goat

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Last edited 7 days ago by upamtn
Reply to  upamtn
05/26/2023 12:49 pm

It comes down to personal preference. I think Brady is the GOAT of superbowls and Mahomes is the GOAT of talent. Your little friend there is the GOAT of the animal kingdom.

Last edited 7 days ago by MasterChief
Reply to  MasterChief
05/26/2023 6:16 pm

works for me … and yeah: very subjective

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