Sorry, but Mahomes-Allen Is Not the New Brady-Manning — At Least Not Yet

The Bills and Chiefs will meet in the playoffs for the third time in four years on Sunday

January 19, 2024 1:03 pm
Patrick Mahomes shakes hands with Josh Allen.
Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen will meet in the playoffs, again.
David Eulitt/Getty

With Josh Allen’s Buffalo Bills (11-6) and Patrick Mahomes’s Kansas City Chiefs (11-6) set to meet in the playoffs for the third time in four years on Sunday night, some have started to compare the rivalry between the two star quarterbacks to the competition that existed between Tom Brady and Peyton Manning for well over a decade. Count Mahomes as one who’s making the comparison. “We’ve played in a lot of big games,” Mahomes told reporters on Wednesday, via ESPN. “I’m excited for the challenge. I grew up watching those Brady-Manning games and remember how many memories I have from that, and hopefully we can play in these great games as well and give memories to the kids that come up behind us.”

Hopefully they can, but those memories will have to extend far longer to compare to remembrances of Brady versus Manning. But don’t take our word for it — the numbers, as they often do, speak for themselves.

While it’s totally fair to compare Allen and Mahomes to one another as they’ve evened out in head-to-head matchups at 3-3, the latter has come away victorious in both postseason matchups and has two Super Bowls (and two MVP awards). Allen, who is ahead in their regular-season matchups at 3-1, needs to win a playoff game against Mahomes (and then go on to win a Super Bowl?) to actually make this a debate. It’s somewhat unfair to Allen to include him in any conversation with Brady, Manning and Mahomes right now, but at this point, the 27-year-old (who has one All-Pro selection) is not in the same class as those three, who have 11 Super Bowls, 10 MVPs and 19 All-Pro selections between them.

To make Brady-Manning and Mahomes-Allen a viable comparison, Allen is going to need to beat Mahomes on Sunday night in a game that the Bills are favored in. Snow isn’t in the forecast, and the Bills beat the Chiefs 20-17 in Kansas City in December to extend their lead in the all-time series between the teams to 29-24-1.

What’s the Deal With Patrick Mahomes’s Ketchup Obsession?
The reigning MVP dishes the sauce on the condiment we’ll all use or avoid this summer

To give Mahomes-Allen even a whiff of the Brady-Manning rivalry, the Bills need to punch their ticket to the AFC Championship Game on Sunday night. It’s a tall order, as Mahomes has never lost in five divisional playoff games, though all of those have been played at Arrowhead Stadium. Sunday’s game at Highmark Stadium will be the first time the 28-year-old plays on the road in the postseason, aside from a trio of Super Bowls at neutral sites.

“They’ve gotten the best of us in the playoffs the last few years,” Allen said. “We finally got a home game, and we’ve got to go out there and put our best foot forward and play as best as we can play. The familiarity we have, and they have with us, I know we’ve traded a couple of times in the regular season, but we’ve yet to beat them in the postseason.”

Until that changes, there’s really no debate.

The InsideHook Newsletter.

News, advice and insights for the most interesting person in the room.