If you were paying attention to the numbers as we went along you may have noticed that all six of these quarterbacks saw a statistical drop in every single offensive total the following season. All six quarterbacks saw a drop in completion percentage, total yards, yards per game, yards per attempt, touchdowns, QB rating, and an increase in interceptions. Every. Single. One. The amount in drop off varied from guy to guy, but the fact that every quarterback that had one of the statistically best seasons in NFL history saw every single one of those stats drop the next season is definitely worth noting. Keep in mind these are some of the most accomplished quarterbacks in NFL history (and Matt Ryan).
So what was the average drop when you combine all six quarterbacks?
- -4.1% completions
- -600.2 passing yards
- -40.8 yards per game
- -1.0 yards per attempt
- -13.8 touchdowns
- +4.3 interceptions
- -19.0 QB rating
If you apply those average drops from the other most prolific seasons in NFL history to Mahomes’ numbers from last season, you get the following stat line.
61.9% completions, 4,497 passing yards, 277.8 yards/game, 7.8 yards/attempt, 36 TDs, 16 INTs, 94.8 QB rating
If one year ago I had told you that in Patrick Mahomes second season he would put up those numbers I think almost every Chiefs fan would have taken it in a heartbeat, but because of what he did last season, I think many of us would see that stat line in 2019 as a letdown. That is what Mahomes is working against. History says that after his historic season last year, that is the kind of drop off that we should expect.
Here’s the ultimate question: is Patrick Mahomes like the other great quarterbacks on this list (and Matt Ryan) or is he the type of once a generation quarterback that will reset the baseline?
After all, when we look back at these other historic seasons there is naturally going to be a drop off because we are looking at that quarterback’s best season. If he followed that season up with a better season we would then be looking at THAT season instead. To date, no quarterback has had one of the most prolific seasons in NFL history at the level that Patrick Mahomes did last year and then followed that up with another record setting season. Can Mahomes be the first?
Will Mahomes follow the path of Dan Marino who rewrote the record books in his first full season as a starter but then never quite got back to that same statistical level? Or can Mahomes be more like Drew Brees and find a level of prolific consistency but on an even higher level than Brees has? That is the challenge that is awaiting Mahomes this season.
Perhaps even more important to Chiefs fans looking ahead to this season is that all six of the teams on this list saw their record get worse (even if just by one game) from the season before when their quarterback had an all time great season. In fact, the average decrease in games won the following season was 3.4 games. That’s significant. Even a decrease of just three wins would drop the Chiefs to 9-7 and put their chances of making the playoffs in serious jeopardy. Even if they do find regular season success, history says playoff success may be even harder to come by. The six teams in this post totaled 9 playoff wins and 4 Super Bowl appearances in the seasons that their quarterbacks had all time great seasons but totaled just 3 playoff wins and no Super Bowl appearances (with only one team even making the conference championship game) the following year.
So Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs may have made history last season with how well they performed in Mahomes first year as a starter but now it appears they must try and go against history in 2019 if they want to achieve their goals. Let’s hope that they are up to the task.