Stop Comparing Patrick Mahomes to Tom Brady — For Now

Instead, let's appreciate what he brings to the game in the current era

Patrick Mahomes speaks to the media at Kansas City Chiefs training camp. Here's why we shouldn't be comparing the quarterback to Tom Brady just yet.
Patrick Mahomes's peers have recognized him as the NFL's best player. We don't need to call him the GOAT just yet.
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It’s Super Bowl week and, this year, Patrick Mahomes is somehow the third most-discussed person connected to the Big Game. If it were up to him, he’d probably prefer to be much further down the list.

Speaking to the media yesterday, the incredibly talented and already heavily decorated 28-year-old quarterback for the Kansas City Chiefs addressed his legacy — a talking point only because people can’t help but compare him to a 46-year-old retiree named Tom Brady.

“My career goals have always been the same and it’s to not have any regrets,” Mahomes said, per ESPN. “No matter what I do, I’m going to give everything I have to the game. I’m going to work my tail off, working out, in the film room, whatever that is, and give everything I have to the game. Whatever that ends up with, how many Super Bowl rings that is, however many wins that is, whatever that is, I know that I gave everything I have and that’s what I can do.”

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Considering what he brings to football — his Baryshnikovian mobility to go with a Gatling-gun arm that also boasts needle-threading precision (even his “failures” can be facepalm-inducing) — that should be plenty. But instead of appreciating Patrick Mahomes for what he is right now, many people choose to focus instead on what he could end up being. The conversation as to whether or not he’ll match or beat Tom Brady’s seven Super Bowl rings, and in the process capture the GOAT crown without dispute, disallows us the chance to fully embrace his achievements of today. It also threatens the ways in which we regard him in the future.

In a league where parity is increasingly the goal, the chances of Mahomes surpassing Brady’s championship record is staggeringly low. This is something Mahomes himself understands, and he’s living a better life because of it.

“You want to get to the Super Bowl. That’s your ultimate goal, and to be able to be in my fourth one, it truly is surreal and I just try to appreciate it every single time,” Mahomes said. “You don’t even know if this will be your last, and I’ve been blessed to be in a lot with a great organization with a lot of great players around me, so I just try to maximize those opportunities.”

What if Mahomes loses to the 49ers this Sunday? What if he never makes it back to the Big Game, but over the course of his career delivers more dazzling moments like those we’ve seen already — or even better? Heck, what if he wins the Super Bowl this year and then wins three more before retiring with six rings? Are we going to still say, “Well, Brady won more, so he’s better”?

If that’s the case, we’ll have missed out on a chance to totally consume true greatness on the gridiron in the way that only Patrick Mahomes — to date — has been able to supply. What a shame that would be.

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