After two fantastic postseason performances, Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes has managed to lead his to team to a Super Bowl appearance, earning high praises from the majority of the sports world on what could be the start of an all-time great career.
Some notable members of the media think that Mahomes is getting too much credit, spreading a narrative that while Mahomes may be talented, it is the plethora of weapons and the coaching staff around him that make him look so great.
"Do I think Alex Smith could have gone to the Super Bowl with [the Chiefs]? Yes I do."@danorlovsky7 and Molly just about lost it when @stephenasmith spoke about Patrick Mahomes pic.twitter.com/L24bERJXzq— First Take (@FirstTake) January 20, 2020
The premise of the argument is that while Mahomes can clearly throw the football very well, he shouldn’t be given too much praise because of all his help. He was drafted by a playoff team, his head coach is an offensive genius and he has likely the best receiving corps in the NFL headlined by Tyreek Hill, Travis Kelce, Mecole Hardman and Sammy Watkins.
Other competent quarterbacks — given all the advantages Mahomes has — would surely have just as much if not more success, right?
Imagine what Tom Brady could've done with Mahomes' protection and Mahomes' track team - the NFL's best weapons by far.— Skip Bayless (@RealSkipBayless) January 19, 2020
While the argument makes some sense in a vacuum, adding context reveals that Mahomes deserves all the credit he’s received and more.
It isn’t like the Chiefs receiving corps is full of first-round draft picks and superstar free agents. Kelce, Hardman, Hill and even DeMarcus Robinson were drafted in the second round or later of the NFL Draft by the Chiefs, and Watkins was signed as a free agent as his career appeared to be on somewhat of a decline.
It could be argued that Andy Reid and Mahomes could turn any second or third-rounder into a deadly weapon, and while Hill and Kelce were considered superstars before Mahomes became a starter, both players became better statistically with Mahomes at the helm.
Stephen A. Smith mentions former Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith in the above clip, and while Alex did have a career year with Reid and the Chiefs receiving corps, he wasn’t putting up anywhere near the stats of Mahomes. He also did not have the playoff success Mahomes is having. Smith even had the benefit of an elite running back his last year in Kansas City, something Mahomes only enjoyed for 11 games.
Let’s not forget that football is a team sport. Inevitably, no matter how great of a player someone may be, they need great teammates around them to have success in the postseason. Tom Brady, for example, has had several advantages that helped create what many see as the greatest football career ever.
Brady was drafted by probably the best organization in all of football the Patriots, coached by probably the best head coach in NFL history Bill Belichick, played in one of the weakest divisions in football the AFC East and got to throw passes to who is considered the greatest tight end of all time and one of the best wide receivers of all time in Rob Gronkowski and Randy Moss.
Brady — like almost every Hall of Fame quarterback — had plenty of advantages over his competition, so why is it that most people are so sure he is the greatest ever?
My guess is that he has had so much success, it doesn’t matter he had a little help. At some point, Brady dominated so many regular seasons and won so many Super Bowls that nobody cared who he had around him. Greatness won’t be denied, and eventually, I believe those downplaying how well Mahomes is performing right now will realize it doesn’t matter who he’s throwing the ball to.
Mahomes may still go down as the greatest quarterback of all time, even with some of the best weapons in the NFL.
It might just take some time for onlookers to figure it out.