From 1920 to 2017, only one quarterback in NFL history had a season of 5,000 yards and 50 touchdowns. Peyton Manning did it in 2013.
Patrick Mahomes tied it last season and he has a chance to do it again this year, in his second year as a Kansas City Chiefs starter. It’s incredible.
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If Mahomes keeps up that pace, we have to start wondering if we’re looking at the greatest quarterback in NFL history. Mahomes fell off the pace for 50 touchdowns last week when he didn’t throw one in a win over the Detroit Lions. But he’s on pace for 6,040 yards. And he still leads the NFL with 10 touchdown passes, with no interceptions. It wouldn’t surprise anyone if Mahomes picked up the pace for another 50 touchdown season. Other than perhaps Dan Marino, whose iconic 1984 performance came in his second season in the NFL, no quarterback in NFL history has had a better start to his career.
The 4-0 Chiefs have become the NFL’s go-to team due to their reigning MVP quarterback. They will face the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday night, a game that can be streamed live on the Yahoo Sports app. Kansas City’s precocious young quarterback will be the main attraction.
Patrick Mahomes could repeat as NFL MVP
It’s hard to put a current young player into historical perspective. We see it a bit with Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels in baseball. Since we don’t yet know how the last 10-12 years of Trout’s career will pan out, it’s easier to lean on Willie Mays or Babe Ruth when discussing the greatest player of all time. That’s despite Trout having two MVPs, two second MVPs and a fourth place finish in seven full seasons. And he will finish first or second this season. No one has ever had so much effort to start a career.
Considering Mahomes has few reasonable comparisons in NFL history, Trout might be the best for him. What we see of Mahomes is virtually inconceivable. Playing quarterback in the NFL is supposed to be tough, and Mahomes had no problem. Through 20 starts over the past two seasons, he has 6,607 yards and 60 touchdowns. The Chiefs are 16-4 in his starts. A regression was expected this season for Mahomes as no one came close to repeating the type of season he had in 2018, and a quarter of this season he is arguably better. If you choose a quarter-season MVP, Mahomes should win by unanimous decision. He dominated without his best receiver, Tyreek Hill, who missed most of the season with a shoulder injury.
It’s pretty easy to put Johnny Unitas, Joe Montana or Peyton Manning in historical perspective when we’re debating the greatest quarterbacks of all time. We don’t know what to make of Mahomes, even though what he does is the first of its kind.
Mahomes is the face of the NFL
It’s not just that Mahomes is incredibly efficient and posting unprecedented numbers. He’s funny.
Mahomes has the cannon arm and no-look passes. He has a unique look and a more unique voice. He’s a likeable personality in a league that prefers its players to show no personality. Given that Patriots fatigue has turned everyone against Tom Brady, Mahomes is clearly the face of the NFL now. It will be so for a long time.
The NFL is also less predictable than Major League Baseball or the NBA. There is more uncertainty about what will happen next with Mahomes. A big injury could change everything. Sometimes the rest of the league catches up with the players. In 2012, did anyone think seven years later that Andrew Luck would be retired and Robert Griffin III would be on the road to career change?
But right now, Mahomes looks like a future Hall of Famer. He seems to have the chance to become one of the greatest players of all time. It sounds like hyperbole, but he’s already done things we’ve never seen before.
It’s impossible to say exactly where Mahomes’ career is headed. For now, sit back and enjoy the show.
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Frank Schwab is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Do you have any advice? Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter! Follow @YahooSchwab