The results of Super Bowl LV won’t have any impact on Tom Brady’s current standing among all-time quarterbacks.
Brady is the best, and it’s not particularly close. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ starting quarterback has won six Super Bowls, appeared in 10, and played at the highest possible level for 20 years. His resume is unmatched.
The only quarterback alive who could someday challenge Brady for the ‘GOAT’ throne will be his counterpart in Super Bowl LV, Kansas City Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes.
If the Buccaneers beat the Chiefs in Super Bowl LV, that’s a pretty solid exclamation point to any argument for Brady if Mahomes becomes the LeBron James to TB12’s Michael Jordan. And if the Chiefs beat Tampa Bay, then Mahomes might not even need to win six titles to rise above Brady among all-time passers in the eyes of his most ardent supporters.
Jordan has six NBA titles to James’ four. But there’s still an endless debate over who is better. It’s too bad the two narrowly missed overlapping.
It’s glorious that we’re able to watch a Brady-Mahomes Super Bowl, however.
Clearly, we’re getting way, way, way out ahead of ourselves here. But Mahomes is already in hallowed ground while making his second Super Bowl (and third conference championship game) in his first three seasons as a starter.
Even Brady didn’t play in three straight AFC Championship Games to begin his starting career. Brady did, however, win a Super Bowl in his first season as a starter (something Mahomes couldn’t accomplish) and earned two rings in his first three seasons as a starter (something Mahomes can accomplish with a win).
Brady currently is 2-2 all-time against Mahomes. Their first showdown came in Week 6 of the 2018 season when Brady and the New England Patriots beat the Chiefs 43-40 in a shootout. Mahomes nearly mounted a comeback before Brady led New England on a fourth-quarter game-winning drive, culminating with a 28-yard field goal by Stephen Gostkowski as time ran out.
Brady and the Patriots then beat Kansas City in the AFC Championship Game to advance to and win Super Bowl LIII. Another barnburner (in frigid cold Arrowhead Stadium), Mahomes led the Chiefs on a fourth-quarter game-tying drive in just 28 seconds. Brady then drove New England down the field for a touchdown in overtime and never let Kansas City touch the ball (which nearly led the NFL to change overtime rules because why not).
Brady has lost his last two to Mahomes, however. The Patriots fell 23-16 to the Chiefs last December on the shoulders of two blown calls by officials. Brady’s Bucs lost to Kansas City this November, as well. The Chiefs went up 20-7 after two massive plays from Mahomes to wide receiver Tyreek Hill. Brady couldn’t make up the deficit despite two fourth-quarter touchdown passes to Mike Evans. The Bucs lost 27-24 in another close one.
Barring another Super Bowl showdown, the Bucs aren’t set to play the Chiefs again until 2024 when Brady would be a preposterous age for an NFL quarterback at 47 years old. This could be the last matchup between Brady and Mahomes. And it makes this matchup even juicier that the two quarterbacks are 2-2 against one another heading into it.
The odds are stacked against Mahomes winning anything close to six Super Bowls. But if anyone could do it, it’s No. 15. And using the LeBron example, he might not need to.
Mahomes is on pace to take a blowtorch to NFL passing records and has a passer rating over 10 points higher than Brady’s. It’s the nature of the NFL that career numbers will continue exploding for modern players. Add in a 17th game per season, and those records held by Brady and Drew Brees that once seemed uncatchable are destined to be shattered.
This is all to say that Mahomes might not need Brady’s 10 conference championships or six Super Bowl titles to mentioned in the same breath as the current “GOAT.” And a win Sunday can only help his case.
“Yeah, but he beat Brady.”
A win from Brady would also strengthen his stranglehold on that title. Brady will be the best whether he wins or not next Sunday. But will he still be regarded that way in 20 years? So, Patriots fans, if you’re still on the fence about whether to cheer for Brady after departing New England, think about what’s ultimately what’s at stake.