During the long and illustrious history of the National Football League, there have been many quarterbacks that exude greatness. Even in the game today among modern quarterbacks, some still stand apart from the rest—for their talent, athleticism, ability to make impossible plays, and overall QB acumen.
As is completely natural and expected of any sport—much like the LeBron James v. Michael Jordan comparison in the NBA, comparisons—and contrasts will always be drawn between two great quarterbacks, such as Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady, Russell Wilson and Tom Brady, Drew Brees and Tom Brady. Are you seeing a pattern here? These types of comparisons are woven into the fabric of sports itself, for it permeates competition on almost every level, from college to the pros.
Brady is the modern measuring stick of greatness in the NFL, and regardless of how you might feel about him, this distinction is entirely justified. For the last few years, however, the most compelling comparison has not been between experienced veterans such as Brady and Rodgers, or Brady and Brees. Rather, the most common quarterback comparison has become Brady and Kansas City Chiefs star Patrick Mahomes.
For those who love high-profile quarterback matchups, there’s another round of Patrick Mahomes vs. Tom Brady coming on Sunday Night Football.
Eventually (although nobody knows when), Brady will relinquish his throne and drift off into retirement. When that fateful day is upon us, a new quarterback will emerge from the fiery trials of the NFL to lay claim to the mantle known as the game’s greatest. There are those among us who believe that quarterback will be Mahomes.
A Sunday Night Football game is rapidly approaching, and Mahomes and the Chiefs will face off against Brady and his Bucs, for the first time since Tampa Bay’s shellacking of Kansas City in Super Bowl 55. As a form of preparation for what has been billed as one of the most anticipated matchups of the 2022 NFL season, let’s take a look back at the history of these two quarterbacks
October 14, 2018: Patriots win 43-40 @ New England
The first time these two quarterbacks faced each other was also on Sunday Night Football It was the year of our lord 2018, which marked Mahomes’ first season as the starter for the Chiefs.
As a young rookie starter, it is a rather tall order to travel to New England, face off against a coach/QB duo like Bill Belichick and Tom Brady and walk out with a primetime win. The fact that this game went down to the absolute wire and the Chiefs only lost by 3 points (scoring 40 points on a Patriots defense in the process) is the closest thing you can get to a good loss—if there is such a thing).
What was even more surprising than the final score or the close nature of the game was the fact that Mahomes met Brady stride for stride for 60 minutes. Mahomes went 23-36 for 352 yards, 4 TD passes and he threw 2 picks (you hate to see the 2 picks, but if you want a gun-slinging QB, that is bound to happen). Brady went 24-35 for 340 yards, 1 TD pass, 1 rushing TD, and while Brady did not throw any picks, he did have 2 fumbles (one which was recovered by the Chiefs)
January 20, 2019: Patriots win 37-31 in AFC Championship @ Kansas City
This game has been burned into the minds of Chiefs Kingdom. Any Chiefs fan worth his Mahomes jersey remembers where they were the night the Chiefs nearly beat Brady and the Patriots in overtime of the AFC Championship game, after which they would have traveled to (and probably won) Super Bowl 53 against the L.A. Rams.
Sadly, because of an extremely questionable roughing the passer call that went against Chiefs defensive tackle Chris Jones, a poor Chiefs defense, and erroneous NFL overtime rules, we were all treated to one of the most boring Super Bowls in league history. However that is a piece for another time, and I shall not blame the officiating, for that is the ballad of the loser.
During the course of this game, despite the close score, I’m afraid the numbers show that Mahomes was simply outplayed by Brady on this night, who had played many such games on such a large stage. While it was a new experience for young Mahomes, one might say it was old hat for Brady. Mahomes would only go 16-31 for 295 yards, 3 TD passes, and 1 fumble. Brady, on the other hand, looked like Brady, going 30-46 for 348 yards and 1 TD pass. He did throw 2 picks.
December 8, 2019: Chiefs win 23-16 @ New England
During the 2019 season, Mahomes and the Chiefs would gain retribution (at least for their loss in New England the year before) by beating Belichick, Brady and the Patriots by a touchdown. For the sake of this piece, what matters more is that while neither quarterback had a stellar game, Mahomes definitely outplayed Brady—right in Brady’s backyard—with a final stat line of 26 completions of 40 attempts for 283 yards, 1 TD pass and 1 pick. Brady would only go 19-36, for 169 yards, 1 TD pass and 1 pick.
November 29, 2020: Chiefs win 27-24 @ Tampa
The two quarterbacks would not meet again until about midway through the 2020 season, during a game in Tampa Bay that turned out to be an absolute boat race, I mean a real donnybrook. Both quarterbacks played an excellent game, but once again, Brady was outshined by Mahomes, who had himself a day. Mahomes went 37-49 for a whopping 462 yards, 3 touchdown passes and 1 fumble. Brady would play a great game but still come up short, going 27-41 for 345 yards, 3 TD passes, and 2 very unBrady-like picks.
February 7, 2021: Buccaneers win 31-9 in Super Bowl LV
Mahomes and Brady would meet again on the biggest stage of them all in Super Bowl 55 and unfortunately the game was not as close as the final score would suggest (insert sarcastic tone here). Mahomes, kept barely off his back by an offensive line that was riddled with injuries and held together with chewing gum, paper clips and duct tape, would have a very forgettable game (at least we as Chiefs fans wish we could forget it). Mahomes, who was held without a passing touchdown for the first time in the rivalry, would go 27-49 for only 270 yards, 1 fumble, and 2 picks. Brady would go 21-29, for 201 yards, 3 TD passes, 1 fumble but 0 picks.
That rather forgettable Super Bowl would mark the last time the two quarterbacks went toe to toe, for they would not play each other at all during the 2021 season.
During this past off season, Brady announced his retirement from the NFL, and it appeared as if Mahomes would never again have the chance to seek retribution and play the greatest. However, Brady would announce his unretirement soon thereafter, which allowed the rivalry with Mahomes to continue for at least one more round.