If you ask Patrick Mahomes, Miami Dolphins legend Dan Marino had the best single season in NFL history as a quarterback in his first year.
If it takes greatness to recognize greatness, then Patrick Mahomes is the ideal person to ask about a Mount Rushmore sort of scenario when it comes to quarterbacks .
The exercise of putting together the best four in any category is what’s behind the classic, “Who is on your Mount Rushmore?” scenario. On the latest episode of the New Heights podcast, co-hosted by brothers Jason and Travis Kelce, Mahomes appeared as a signature guest for their 15th episode—a nice nod to the uniform number there—and the result was a long and entertaining conversation about a number of subjects never previously broached by the Kansas City Chiefs quarterback.
In one segment, the Kelce brothers ask Mahomes about his Mount Rushmore for quarterbacks and it’s clear he’s already given this some legitimate thought. Here’s what he said:
“Obviously Tom [Brady]. Tom’s on there. Joe Montana. He’s on there. Four Super Bowls so I put him on there. Then you gotta throw Peyton Manning, who’d probably be on there for me,” said Mahomes.
When it came to the fourth and final spot on his Quarterback Mt. Rushmore, things got a bit difficult in a competition between two QBs from the same draft class.
“To me right now, it’s probably between Dan Marino and John Elway. I don’t know who that fourth one is. I’m gonna give it to Elway just because he has the rings but Marino, if you look at the stats, his first season, 48 touchdowns in that era. Dude, best quarterback season, has to be in history. I don’t care what anyone says.”
Mahomes also added a hilarious anecdote relating to his own greatness when he added, “Every single time that I’ve been putting up and breaking these records, it’s like ‘Dan Marino had 170 touchdowns in three years.’ I’m like, ‘What? I thought they ran the ball back then.’”
Mahomes is right (and also slightly wrong). Marino was a monster of a quarterback who put up insane numbers in a time when quarterbacks simply did not produce at that level. But it’s just worth noting that Marino’s second season is when he put up 48 touchdowns.
For some perspective, Marino led the NFL in 1984 with 48 touchdowns. The player who came in second that year, Dave Krieg, had 32 passing touchdowns. Yes, Marino was that much more productive. Beyond that, in third place, was a tie between Joe Montana and Neil Lomax with 28. If you would have taken half of Marino’s touchdown passes away from him that season, he still would have finished in the NFL’s top 6 quarterbacks. Given how much we hate the Broncos, we think the honor should go to Marino if you are going to choose between him and Elway.
Sad side note: Bill Kenney led the Chiefs with 15 touchdowns that season. Todd Blackledge also had 6 touchdowns to go with 11 interceptions. Yep.
You can watch the full episode with Mahomes of the New Heights podcast here: