Troy Aikman is right and also wrong about his Patrick Mahomes comments

NEW ORLEANS, LA - NOVEMBER 4: Troy Aikman on the field before a game between the Los Angeles Rams and the New Orleans Saints at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on November 4, 2018 in New Orleans, Louisiana. The Saints defeated the Rams 45-35. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
NEW ORLEANS, LA - NOVEMBER 4: Troy Aikman on the field before a game between the Los Angeles Rams and the New Orleans Saints at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on November 4, 2018 in New Orleans, Louisiana. The Saints defeated the Rams 45-35. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images) /

Troy Aikman recently responded to a comparison of his stats to Patrick Mahomes’ stats. Here’s why his response was right, but also wrong.

Patrick Mahomes has opened the 2019 season doing Patrick Mahomes things. Through three games he’s setting an absurd pace, against some great defenses mind you, and doesn’t look to be slowing down from his MVP season a year ago. In fact, all indications point to the fact that he has improved and rather considerably.

Through three games Patrick Mahomes is completing an incredible 72 percent of his passes for a whopping 1,195 yards, 10 touchdowns, and 0 interceptions. He’s outpacing every other quarterback in yards, touchdowns, and passer rating. With his upcoming schedule dropping off a bit in terms of the defensive challenge, it’s possible his next three games could be even more impressive.

Naturally, as he’s setting new records through his first two seasons as a starter, national pundits are beginning to compare him to some of the all-time greats. You have pundits on ESPN claiming Mahomes is already better than Tom Brady, Drew Brees, or Aaron Rodgers ever were. You have talking heads claiming he will likely be the greatest of all time when it’s all said and done.

You also have analysts comparing specific career statistical performance. For instance, there’s this comparison of Mahomes’  stats to that of former Dallas Cowboys quarterback and three-time Super Bowl champion Troy Aikman:

Now, understandably given how great his overall career was, Troy Aikman wasn’t extremely pleased with this comparison to which he responded:

Here’s the thing. He’s right on the one hand to make this kind of statement, but he’s wrong on the other hand. Let’s take a look at both sides to examine the dynamic.

Where Aikman is right

In sports, to have the ring means you are the king. We can talk all we want about statistical production until we are blue in the face, but the truth is, until you’ve won a championship, you just don’t have the bragging rights. We have numerous examples of this to draw from.

For instance, the Peyton Manning and Tom Brady debate. It’s pretty obvious who the more talented quarterback was between the two. No disrespect to Tom Brady, but at this point considering his total career, Peyton Manning is one of the most consistently technically perfect quarterbacks in history. He was the type of player that looked in midseason form game one and never slowed down.

He did eventually succumb to Father Time, but it’s clear in his prime he was the best of the best. Yet, he’s not considered the greatest of all time. Tom Brady is, the player with six rings and numerous Super Bowl experiences.

It’s also why most consider LeBron James to be second in line behind Michael Jordan. It’s entirely possible that James has the ability to pass most of Jordan’s statistical accomplishments by the time he’s done with his career. However, it’s unlikely that he will win in such a consistently dominant fashion. Therefore, we’ll likely never consider him the greatest.

Finally, it’s why Andy Reid is viewed as missing something from his career. Reid is amongst the winningest coaches of all time, and is consistently the most savvy offensive mind in the business. Yet, he hasn’t won it all. This is the one detraction against him in a career filled with offensive dominance and great football teams.

To be a champion in something is incredibly difficult. It’s something most people never achieve. Troy Aikman has been a champion, at the most important position on the field, three times. That is an incredible achievement. So, he’s right in that Patrick Mahomes still has to earn his stripes before we can realistically start comparing him to some of the greatest to ever do it.

Where Aikman is wrong

Troy Aikman is also wrong to react the way he did and he’s wrong in his logic. For starters, he should know better. Sports analysis and speculation is literally the land of crazy hot takes. Most of these analysts make their money by finding little nuggets of interesting statistical comparisons or just flat out saying something bold. This statement by the Athletic has both elements to it, hence why it’s a great piece to put out there.

What’s more, Mahomes is doing things that we have never seen. In his first season as the full time starter, he joined Peyton Manning as the only quarterbacks ever to pass for 50 touchdowns and 5,000 yards. It was one of the greatest years a player has had in any sport—ever.

What’s scary for the rest of the league is that he doesn’t seem to be slowing down. Even missing his most reliable and dominant weapon in the passing game from last season, and sustaining an ankle injury which usually affects a quarterback’s ability to throw with accuracy, he’s on an absolute tear. He’s making rookies and players deep on the depth chart look like stars, which is one of the main characteristics of a champion.

Some quarterbacks are able to elevate everyone around them, while others find greatness as part of a talented whole. Long story short, Aikman was likely the latter in this conversation. He was a great player in his own right, but he was more the beneficiary of a great supporting cast. This is no slight to Aikman, as there are many players throughout history that fall under that same idea.

Mahomes is different. Yes, he does have a great supporting cast but he elevates them to their full potential. It won’t be long before that talent and unique ability hopefully translates into multiple championships and a lack of rings won’t be a talking point for Mahomes or Reid.

Next. A look at the AFC West: Week 3. dark