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The Pioneer

The Pioneer

Who is Better Tom Brady or Patrick Mahomes?

Brady v. Mahomes: The GOAT Battle Begins
EA Sports

Watching the 49ers-Chiefs Super Bowl was hard for me as an Eagles fan. I simply had no idea whom to root for. Did I want to root for the Chiefs, who just kept winning and beat my team in the Superbowl last year, or the 49ers who destroyed my Philadelphia Eagles in week 13 and still whine about the 2023 NFC Championship game? After some very quick and in-depth thought, I decided to root for the San Francisco 49ers. My reasoning? The Chiefs, and Patrick Mahomes, are winning too much. But rooting for the Chiefs didn’t pay off for me as once again, and for the second year in a row, the Chiefs were crowned Superbowl champions after beating the 49ers in overtime in Super Bowl 58.

While Patrick Mahomes left Las Vegas and began his trip to Disney, as all proper Superbowl champions do, NFL fans were quickly subjected to numerous social media posts and articles raising a new debate, “Is Patrick Mahomes already the GOAT?”

Sports fans love debating who is the GOAT (or “greatest of all time”). If you tune into any basketball talk show, you have a fairly decent chance of seeing a debate about whether Michael Jordan or LeBron James is the GOAT (it’s still MJ by the way). But what defines a GOAT? It’s usually something that people discussing greatness gloss over. Is it just pure skill, accolades, records, championships, longevity? The answer is yes. What makes a player the GOAT is a combination of the five characteristics I just mentioned. So, how does Mahomes match up with Brady in these categories, and is he, or will he become the NFL’s GOAT?

The hardest factor to judge is skill as it can be extremely subjective. Therefore, I’ll get it out of the way first, and I have to say, it’s Mahomes. I mean, don’t get me wrong, Brady is an extremely talented quarterback but until he can scramble out of the pocket and flick the ball over three defenders for a touchdown, throw a no-look pass 20 yards with perfect accuracy, throw 70 yards while being tackled (which is one of the longest passes in NFL history), or actually be able to scramble (unlike Brady and his 5.17 offensive-lineman-like 40-yard-dash) I’ll still consider Patrick Mahomes more skilled.

So, yay, Mahomes took one category. But, it doesn’t mean he’s the GOAT. We next have to look at accolades. Tom Brady, in his 21 years of starting, came away with 15 Pro Bowls, 3 All-Pros, 3 MVPs, 5 Super Bowl MVPs, and 2 OPOYs. An impressive resume, yet, how do Mahomes’ current accolades compare when his current amount of awards are adjusted for the same 21-year career span? Well, if Mahomes starts for 21 seasons, and continues to get awards at the same pace he has been on, Mahomes will come away with 21 Pro Bowls, 7 All-Pros, 7 MVPs, 7 Super Bowl MVPs, and 3 OPOYs. Yeah, if Mahomes has the same career length, he will crush Brady in almost every single category. In terms of our little GOAT debate, Mahomes takes this category IF he can produce these numbers and beat Brady out in every accolade possible by the end of his career. But we’ll still give Mahomes this category right now just because of how good his accolades have been for his career so far.

So Mahomes is up 2-0 on Brady in our best-of-five-series. So, for our “game three” let’s determine if Mahomes will pass Brady’s regular season passing yards and touchdown records if he plays as long as Brady. In Brady’s 21 years, he broke the passing yards and TD regular season records with 89,214 yards and 649 TDs. At Mahomes’ current pace, if he plays for 21 seasons, he will finish with 85,272 yards and 657 TDs. So, Mahomes would slightly break Brady’s TDs but fall short of his yards by about 4,000. Since he is far behind in Brady’s passing record and only barely breaking his TD record we will give Brady the record category meaning that our “score” is now 2-1 while still favoring Mahomes.

Now for the category that many people use to determine greatness, championships. Brady won an average of a ring every three years and finished with seven rings (more than any NFL franchise). At Mahomes’s current pace, he will finish with seven rings, the same amount as Brady. For a tie-breaker in this category, we will use the fact that Brady and the Bucs dominated Mahomes and the Chiefs in Super Bowl 55. So, just like that Brady ties up our GOAT score 2-2.

The one big question that Mahomes’ dominance poses is, can he keep it going? One of the main reasons Brady is the GOAT was because of his longevity, he was not only good but good for two whole decades. However, Patrick Mahomes will likely never achieve that length. The simple explanation is that Mahomes’ style is more risky; quarterbacks who are known to scramble and whose games rely on their mobility to move behind and past the line of scrimmage (like Mahomes), are known to have shorter careers and harder fall-offs than pure pocket passers like Brady. So, the truth of the matter is that Mahomes won’t reach Brady’s longevity, and without that longevity, he will never be able to pass Brady in the GOAT debate (and we will also lose our GOAT score 3-2).

In summation, will Mahomes go down as one of the flashiest and most talented players not just in football’s history but in the history of sports? Yes. Will Mahomes change how quarterback play is seen and ring in a new era of passers who try to replicate him? Correct. Will his play style eventually lead to a decrease in his skill and, in turn, lead to him not being able to pass Brady in any categories? 100% right. Does the fact that he lost to geriatric Brady in the Super Bowl combined with the aforementioned lack of longevity in his game make it so he will always fall short of Brady in the GOAT race? I’m running out of ways to say yes. So, Mahomes isn’t the GOAT now and will never be the GOAT of football unless he gets some new cyborg enhancement paid for by Elon Musk which allows him to play until he is 60.

On a final note, if you are still in denial about Mahomes not being the GOAT, Mahomes said that Brady is the GOAT. So, the case is closed.

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