Celebrating Patrick Mahomes doesn’t mean devaluing Alex Smith

KANSAS CITY, MO - AUGUST 31: Quarterbacks Alex Smith
KANSAS CITY, MO - AUGUST 31: Quarterbacks Alex Smith /

Celebrating Patrick Mahomes doesn’t mean we have to throw shade at Alex Smith. The predecessor deserves better from some of Chiefs Kingdom.

There’s not a single one of us in the room—in this great, big, imaginary red and gold room that contains all of Chiefs Kingdom—that is not in love with Patrick Mahomes. If I didn’t want to stay happily married, I’d have a giant chest tattoo right now of the man.

How could you not appreciate Mahomes, right? We all fell instantly for the cannon of the arm, but no one told us about the rest. It’s the accuracy and the touch. It’s the intelligence and the work ethic. It’s the leadership and personality. It’s the moxie of a quarterback 10 games into his professional career who approaches the line of scrimmage like Doc Holliday in the movie Tombstone, brimming with confidence, unsettled by the threats and clamor and taunts of those opposite him.

But this isn’t about Mahomes. We’ve spilled enough ink and we still have seven games left.

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At times, in the midst of the weekly parade we throw in Mahomes honor (and we should), I find myself wincing at certain comments. In particular, I find myself uncomfortable at those who want to celebrate our current quarterback while throwing shade at the former. Yes, I’m talking about Alex Smith.

Unless you’re hiding under a social media rock every week, you’re likely aware of what I’m talking about. Instead of celebrating Mahomes 29 touchdowns and realizing that no one comes close (the nearest competitor is 6 touchdowns behind Mahomes this year) and leaving it at that, there’s often statements thrown around that specifically compare Mahomes and Smith as if they are still in competition with one another.

Each mention intends to say, “Smith is no Mahomes!” as if anyone was ever going to confuse them in the first place as if one of them sunk the franchise and the other resurrected it. These Smith vs. Mahomes statistical comparisons are intended to place two men on opposite sides of a seesaw. The thing is, it was never meant to be that way.

Devaluing Alex Smith doesn’t elevate Patrick Mahomes.

First of all, Mahomes needs zero help. In fact, he’s normalized the 300-yard, multiple touchdown performance. When he extends his own records, the NFL is already responding with a collective yawn before his first year as a starter is even over. After all, how many times can you repeat the same superlatives?

Secondly, Alex Smith was actually a great quarterback for the Chiefs. There’s no doubt that he’s a top five QB all-time for the franchise, and, before you crack a joke about team history, he might even be higher than that depending on your take on Joe Montana‘s short history and Trent Green overall.

Alex Smith took the Chiefs to the playoffs in four of five seasons. Alex Smith won 50 games in five seasons with the Chiefs. He took over a two-win team that picked first in the draft and teamed with Andy Reid‘s staff to right a ship that would eventually overwhelm the division with no end in sight to that reign.

There’s no denying whatsoever that Smith lacks the natural ability of Mahomes. That was obvious when Mahomes was at Texas Tech, let alone when Mahomes is furthering his own franchise records. It was a step up for the Chiefs to make the move. Andy Reid knew it. John Dorsey knew it. Alex Smith knew it.

Despite the countdown hanging over his head, Smith was nothing but a consummate professional in that final season and even put up his best statistical season to date as a member of the Chiefs. He mentored his replacement. He led the team until his final day on the roster. He never spoke ill of any aspect of the plan that terminated his relationship with the Chiefs.

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It’s a shame that there are so many who want to speak ill of Alex Smith now. Mahomes is saying plenty already, and as we celebrate our current hero, there’s no need to castigate his predecessor. He was, in many ways, a hero of his own.