How Mahomes Can Catch Brady

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Tom Brady is considered by a fringe minority to be the GOAT quarterback in NFL history, even though there were quarterbacks better than him in his own era. But by “great” people actually mean “accomplished”, and in that regard he is the most accomplished quarterback ever. He has 3 MVPs, only topped by Aaron Rodgers’ 4 and Peyton Manning’s 5, plus his 7 Super Bowl wins is nearly twice as many as the next closest of 4.

With Mahomes winning his 3rd Super Bowl, the question everybody is talking about is if he can catch Brady’s insane Super Bowl total. The good news is that he has the same number of Brady at the same age. Mahomes just finished his age 28 season. Brady had the same total after his age 28 season. In fact, Brady didn’t get to 4 until his age 37 season. That means that as long as Mahomes wins another Super Bowl before 2032 he’ll be ahead of Brady at the same age.

The bad news is that being at Brady’s pace will almost certainly not be good enough. It’s impossible to know how good Mahomes will be when he’s in his 40’s, but it’s highly unlikely that he’ll win multiple Super Bowls after his 40th birthday like Brady did. The much more realistic path to 7 is to get there before his 40th birthday, meaning he’s going to have to build a big same-age lead.

That’s 12 seasons between now and his age 40 season, and 4 Super Bowls shy. That is an average of a Super Bowl win every 3 years. On the one hand that’s actually slower than his current pace of a Super Bowl every other year. But it is incredibly hard to keep putting good rosters around him for over a decade. He will need to absolutely maximize every opportunity he gets.

Another interesting number (at least to me) is playoff wins. Brady’s 35 playoff wins seemed almost more unbeatable than his Super Bowl wins, since it was more than double the next closest of 16 by Joe Montana. But at this point it looks like a more likely number for Mahomes, as Mahomes already has 15 playoff wins. Brady didn’t win his 15th playoff game until his age 34 season. If Mahomes is even close to building that GOAT resume then he will build a huge lead in playoff wins over the next half decade.

But again he will likely need to match Brady by age 40, and that means continuing at an insane clip of 1.7 playoff wins per season. That’s way less than the 2.5 he’s currently averaging, and one fewer bye will give him an advantage there (the new playoff structure already saw him pick up a Wildcard win as the 2 seed), but like with the Super Bowls it is still a crazy pace that is well above what anybody else except Brady has managed.

And MVPs? Barring something crazy Mahomes will almost certainly match Brady’s 3. But if he will match Manning’s 5 is an interesting question. You would think so, especially if he plays at the level necessary to maintain his playoff record to even come close to Brady. But as Drew Brees showed sometimes winning MVP is more about timing than skill.

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02/13/2024 2:48 pm

I do find it funny that if you get people talking about this, the usual suspects are: Brady and Montana. A few geezers will point to Unitas or Graham, mostly out of pique, but it has pretty much been narrowed down to those two.
Manning was a better QB than Brady
Marino was a better QB than Montana
So really, we are talking about QB Winz. Or maybe Mr Clutch.
So using that metric, Patrick is right there already. I realize it’s because I’ve watched every Pro snap he’s ever taken, but Mahomes is the most clutch QB I’ve ever watched. I can remember a few big games that both of them pulled out, but Mahomes does it as a matter of course, it seems. Every week brings another “How the…?” moment.

Reply to  NovaChiefs
02/13/2024 3:44 pm

I’m a geezer, sue me … Unitas with caveat: entirely different era and style of play … a GOAT

Manning was insanely good and MAYBE the GOAT of his era

Ditto Marino

Montana was with damned good teams and HC and was pretty clutch and cool

Brady maybe the least good of all you’ve mentioned, but in the right place at the right time, and ya gotta give him credit for wins, playoff wins, SB wins, etc

Mahomes … a new era and a new GOAT … on a different team with a different HC, he might be just another talented QB who lost too many playoff games etc etc

it’s like asking if Michael Jordan was GOAT in BB instead of Kareem, or instead of Bill Russell … add in Steph Curry and you have 4 GOATs from 4 different eras

Team Player
Reply to  upamtn
02/13/2024 3:53 pm

Don’t really remember Unitas (without a Sabol narration anyway)

Marino – best passing
Manning – smartest
Montana – guts
Brady – preparation
Vick – athleticism

Mahomes – might be second in each category but first overall by a landslide

Team Player
Reply to  upamtn
02/13/2024 3:54 pm

PS why does everyone miss Wilt? Peak Chamberlain is rivaled only by Jordan.

Team Player
02/13/2024 2:31 pm

There’s an article just released on the Athletic titled “The Secret of Andy Reid’s Success” with this nugget:

[Anthony] Sherman: ‘My nickname was The Sausage. He called me that in meetings and no one knew who he was talking about; I didn’t even know. I’m like, “Who is he talking to?” And he’d be like, “I’m talking to you,” and point at me. So the next morning, he walked out and was like, “You want to know why I’m calling you The Sausage?” I’m like, “Yeah, I would love to.” He’s like, “You just remind me of a breakfast sausage, all cased up in the casing and just ready to explode.” I’m like, “Alright, thanks!”’

Last edited 2 months ago by Team Player
Reply to  Team Player
02/13/2024 3:45 pm

cool story, thanks

Reply to  upamtn
02/13/2024 8:25 pm

I feel like we ” Evolved ” past the FB Position this year … ; )

Reply to  KCChef
02/16/2024 6:38 pm

so, Darwin was right

02/13/2024 1:26 pm

I always thought that championships aren’t a valid category for comparing one QB to another. its takes a team to win them. That’s like saying nick foles is better than marino because he won a superbowl.

Reply to  hoosierchief
02/13/2024 2:21 pm

Its not an exact science. Theres a reason guys like foles, flacco and brad johnson are one offs. Too be consistently good you need a good qb.

Imo, worst qbs to win multiple super bowls. Plunkett, Eli, Bradshaw, and Aikmen.

Reply to  DenverDonkeyHater
02/13/2024 8:28 pm

Part of me has a Tough time giving Eli his Creds … Bruising Running Attacks & Shut Down Defenses seem to be in the forefront of my recollections … : (

Reply to  hoosierchief
02/13/2024 3:27 pm

Peak Brady, Manning, Mahomes, Montana, Marino…

Who would you want on our team in Sep 2024? I’m taking Patrick effing Mahomes.

Reply to  MasterChief
02/13/2024 3:51 pm

Id take any of them. All were fantastic

Reply to  DenverDonkeyHater
02/13/2024 5:42 pm

tough, too bad so sad … you’re “stuck” with PM15

ff’realz though, I hear ya … hell, I’d take Josh Allen for that matter (at least as a backup to Peak Brady, Manning, Mahomes, Montana, Marino)

Reply to  upamtn
02/13/2024 6:18 pm

All were better than steve bono

Reply to  hoosierchief
02/16/2024 6:47 pm

it would seem that championships (or at least a whole lotta division & conference domination over a prolonged period of time) should count for something … being good enough at a high enough level for so long (Marino, Manning, et al) should count for something

if a QB is that good for that long, SB trophy aside, that dominating for his era, that’s part of WHY those teams were as good as they were)

after all, it most certainly IS a team game (and coaches and mgmt)

so yeah

Foles and Marino is like apples and oranges only more so …

… more like moldy prunes and a sweet, ripe mango

02/13/2024 12:01 pm

Today’s CHIEFS press conference
Streaming live now

02/13/2024 11:38 am

However it shakes out by the end of his career, Mahomes is the most talented QB and the most fun to watch of all time.

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