Over the weekend, NFL.com’s Gregg Rosenthal published his yearly ranking of the top quarterbacks who have started a Super Bowl.
In his list of 63, Tom Brady, Johnny Unitas, Joe Montana, Peyton Manning and Dan Marino rank at the top, while Trent Dilfer, Vince Ferragamo, Tony Eason, David Woodley and Rex Grossman sit at the bottom. Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes now ranks 19th, having moved up from the 30th spot in his first appearance on the list of 63 before Super Bowl LIV.
This moves him from Rosenthal’s Fun to Watch tier (26th through 33rd) into his In (or should be in) the Hall of Fame tier (13th through 25th). Mahomes departs the group including Donovan McNabb, Daryle Lamonica, Steve McNair, Kurt Warner and Rich Gannon in order to join luminaries like Troy Aikman, Terry Bradshaw, Joe Namath, Jim Kelly and fellow Chief Len Dawson.
It’s important to note that Rosenthal is considering each quarterback’s whole body of work, rather than just what they did in their Super Bowl appearances. This is why Unitas — 1-0 in Roman-numeral games — is ranked second behind Brady (6-3) and ahead of Joe Montana (4-0).
Nor does Rosenthal have to be convinced that Mahomes is already among the greats.
Brady’s place atop the all-time greats in accomplishments is secure, at least for a while. Mahomes’ place as the greatest quarterback I’ve ever covered — based on his array of skills — also seems safe, especially as his numbers and postseason accomplishments continue to pile up. It’s hard to place Mahomes among the all-time greats when he’s just 25 years old, but I believe he’s already done more than some Hall of Famers.
In fact, he begins the article talking about Mahomes.
A year ago in this space, I argued that Patrick Mahomes had a strong case for having completed the best first two seasons as a starter in NFL history. Make it three. Despite injuries around him, Mahomes was either the best or second-best quarterback in the NFL during the regular season. Once again, he’s looked the best in the playoffs. Mahomes’ patience, pocket movement and intelligence have gone next level in his fourth season, which reminds me of Tom Brady entering Super Bowl XXXIX in his fourth year as the Patriots’ starter.
And then he defends his decision to rank such a young player so highly after a single championship game.
If this looks high for Mahomes, consider that he’s been the best overall player on balance over the last three years. Most of the guys ahead of him could never claim that, so I’m only giving so much credit for longevity. The other Chief on this list had it, too. Dawson was the best passer in a pass-happy league, leading the AFL in passer rating for five straight years (1964-68).
Dawson is ranked 20th — right behind Mahomes.
So this begs a question:
One year from now, in which of Rosenthal’s tiers will Patrick Mahomes be ranked?
This poll is closed
G.O.A.T. Pasture (1-6)
The Best Second Tier Ever (7-12)
In (or should be in) the Hall of Fame (13-25)
Fun to Watch (26-33)
Crazy Talent for a Tier This Low (34-42)
Middle of the Pack (43-60)
End of the Line (60-?)