Patrick Mahomes is already building a legacy for himself that will end in Canton, Ohio as a Pro Football Hall of Famer. A win on Sunday in Super Bowl LV will all but seal that fate.
There are a handful of quarterbacks in the history of the NFL who have a Super Bowl victory despite middling careers; Trent Dilfer, Joe Flacco, and Brad Johnson are a few of the go-to names whose careers do not live up to a prestigious title such as Super Bowl-winning quarterback.
At two Super Bowl wins? The list is stingy, and impressive.
Terry Bradshaw, Joe Montana, Troy Aikman, Roger Staubach, Bob Griese, Ben Roethlisberger, Bart Starr, Jim Plunkett, Eli Manning, Peyton Manning and Tom Brady have all won two or more Super Bowls over their careers. Of the 12 quarterbacks who have accomplished this feat, seven are currently Hall of Famers, two are future locks (Brady and Peyton), one is a very likely inductee (Big Ben), and one is happy to be there (you know which one that is). That means by the time Brady/Peyton/Big Ben are inducted into the hall of fame, 10 of the 12 quarterbacks listed will be enshrined in Canton.
With a win on Sunday, Patrick Mahomes would join this group. He would become the youngest quarterback to win two Super Bowls, surpassing Brady. It seems appropriate that Mahomes is playing Brady in order to accomplish this feat.
The thing to note about Brady and the early-2000s Patriots' success is that Brady himself was not the Tom Brady we know now at the start of the Patriots dynasty. He was still a positive contributor but he was not even thought of as an elite quarterback yet. In Brady’s first three years as a starter (2001-2003), which ended with two Super Bowl wins, he finished 12th, 19th, and 9th in ANY/A respectively. He was not lighting the league on fire; he was just calmly steering the well-oiled machine that was the early-2000s Patriots.
Patrick Mahomes has been a phenom. The combination of gaudy stats and postseason success is the reason why Mahomes’ start to his career is unprecedented.
Marino shined bright in his first few years in the league, but he did not accomplish the ultimate goal of winning a Super Bowl. Brady had the early postseason success but was not a truly elite quarterback until 2007.
Mahomes has had the greatest start to a career from any quarterback ever. He can cement this fact by leading the Chiefs to a victory over Tom Brady on Sunday. It is hard to imagine a more "I am the new face of the NFL" statement win than one in which Mahomes wins a Super Bowl over Tom Brady.
With a win on Sunday, the pie-in-the-sky conversations about Mahomes will transcend to new heights. Mahomes will definitively prove he has had the best start to a career of any quarterback. He will show that he deserves to stand alongside the quarterbacks who have won multiple Super Bowls in NFL history. A win by Mahomes will lend credence to the idea that a quarterback could catch up to Tom Brady’s previously insurmountable legacy.
An important note is that this does not come completely down to Mahomes. When talking about his unprecedented early success as a quarterback, the names of Travis Kelce, Tyreek Hill and Andy Reid should also be mentioned in the same breath, all three of which are Hall of Fame talents.
Does that discredit what Mahomes is doing, though? It does not. Marino had Don Shula and other great talents around him in Miami at the beginning of his career. Tom Brady had numerous Hall of Famers and Bill Belichick around him at the start of his career. To even accomplish the unthinkable, you need a supporting cast that is ready for the challenge.
With this group around him, Mahomes has shattered records, broken previously held notions about what a quarterback should be able to do, and he will have another chance to double-down on Sunday. A win against Tom Brady in the Super Bowl is, in and of itself, a notable achievement on a quarterback's resume. It is the whole reason people think of Eli Manning as a potential Hall of Famer himself.
If Mahomes adds a win over Tom Brady to his achievements, then what is the limit?
It is hard to imagine there is a limit in the case of Patrick Mahomes, and the chance for him to chase that unprecedented future starts on Sunday.
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