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Comparing the 2021 Super Bowl Quarterbacks – Tom Brady vs. Patrick Mahomes

| January 28, 2021 6:26 am PDT
Who is The Best QB at Super Bowl 55?

There is no denying Tom Brady’s place in NFL history. The man is approaching his 10th all-time Super Bowl appearance, and he has more rings (six) than any quarterback ever.

Brady is so regularly in the Super Bowl that, quite frankly, it’s kind of annoying.

Does that make him better than Patrick Mahomes? Could it give bettors an idea as to how to bet on Super Bowl 2021?

That all depends. Are you comparing these two quarterbacks right now, as they stand, or are you putting more weight on experience and past accomplishments?

Perhaps it’s best to just consider everything.

To get an accurate assessment of who the best quarterback in Super Bowl 55 is, let’s compare these two with some specific information in mind.

Brady’s Stats vs. Mahomes’ Stats

When trying to compare Tom Brady and Patrick Mahomes (or anyone, for that matter), the first thing everyone does is look at the stats.

This is a somewhat unfair comparison, as Tom Brady has been playing pro football for approximately one hundred years.

But really, 21 seasons compared to three (as a starter) just gets you nowhere in a debate. Wait 15+ years, and then we can pick up that part of the conversation again.

For now, you can do two things; look at their stats this year, and compare averages through their first three seasons as full-time starters.

2020 Comparison

Since sports fans are addicted to being prisoners of the moment – and how can’t you be – let’s first touch on the 2020 seasons these brilliant quarterbacks enjoyed.

Here’s a quick table showing their major passing stats for the 2020 NFL regular season.

Player Pass Yards Com % Pass TDs INT Rating
Brady 4,633 65.7 40 12 102.2
Mahomes 4,740 66.3 38 6 108.2

From a raw stats perspective, this is arguably a total wash. You could absolutely say Brady is 43 and playing with a new team – and that’s fair – but you can also say his offense is loaded.

That and Mahomes had better or comparable numbers despite playing one less game. Mahomes was also the better-rated passer, and he turned the ball over far less.

Of course, it’s fairly arguable his offense is even more loaded.

Again, for me, it’s a wash.

Statistically, for this season, Brady’s numbers might be mildly more impressive due to his circumstances, but you’re probably nit-picking if you’re demanding one “winner” based on 2020 stats.

First 3-Year Comparison

Keep in mind, I’m not including the actual first season for either of these games. That wouldn’t do us much good, anyway, as they played a combined two games during their rookie seasons.

Instead, I’ll pick up the Brady vs. Mahomes stats comparison from their first three full seasons as a starting quarterback.

Newsflash; it’s not even close.

Mahomes dropped 5,000+ passing yards and 50 touchdowns in his first full season, and Brady has done the former just once in 21 seasons.

In his first three seasons, Brady never topped 3,800 passing yards, threw 38 interceptions, and never had more than 28 passing touchdowns.

His numbers were still good, and it was obviously a far different era, but they pale in comparison to what Mahomes has done.

In three full seasons, Mahomes has eclipsed 4,000+ passing yards every single time, he’s twice topped 38+ passing scores, and he’s thrown 14 fewer picks.

Yeah, different eras, amazing supporting cast – blah, blah, blah. But Mahomes produced way better numbers with way more volume, was just as efficient and turned the ball over less.

He also won the entire time, but I’ll get to that in a bit.

Just looking at the current stats, it’s at worst a tie. Looking at their career, Brady gets the nod (although it’s not fair). Looking at the three-year start, Mahomes wins in a landslide.

You can certainly label this Brady vs. Mahomes comparison as “incomplete” if you’d like. I think I’ll give the slight nod to Mahomes.

Regardless of where you rank these two when comparing them, there’s no denying they’re among the key players that will decide Super Bowl 55.

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Comparing Postseason Success for Mahomes and Brady

When discussing who is better between Tom Brady and Patrick Mahomes (or, again, anyone), the first or second go-to argument is playoff success.

Specifically, championships appeared in, won, and/or lost.

Much like long-term stats, it’s incredibly unfair to compare Brady and Mahomes in this regard. You could debate in regards to their entire careers, but with Brady having 17 extra seasons to work with – and six Super Bowl wins under his belt – that’s a pretty quick conversation.

When looking at their careers, Brady has had way more success than literally anyone, and it’s not even close.

I mean, the guy literally has appeared in more Super Bowls than any other team.

Team Super Bowl Appearances
Tom Brady 10
Pittsburgh Steelers 8
Dallas Cowboys 8
Denver Broncos 8
San Francisco 49ers 7
Everyone Else Sadness and despair

If that doesn’t illustrate Brady’s longevity and greatness, I don’t know what will.

But as noted, comparing Brady’s entire career to Mahomes just isn’t something we can or should do.

What you can compare, of course, is how Mahomes fared in the playoffs through his first three NFL seasons, compared to how Brady did. You can also put Mahomes’ three-year run up against what Brady has done in that same timeline.

Looking back, Brady won two Super Bowls in his first three seasons and missed the playoffs in the other year. Mahomes has made the playoffs in each of his three full campaigns, reaching the AFC title game each time and winning one title.

This argument is a tad incomplete, as a win on Super Bowl Sunday would tie Mahomes with Brady.

Due to that, let’s just compare how both quarterbacks measure up over the past three seasons.

Player Reg Season Record Playoff Record Super Bowl Wins
Tom Brady 34-14 6-1 1
Patrick Mahomes 37-8 6-1 1

As Larry David would say, these guys are pretty, pretty, pretty good.

In fact, Brady’s lone playoff defeat in the last three years came last season with a terribly regressed New England offense.

The second Brady got into a better situation? He lit it up and got back to the big game.

Mahomes, on the other hand, has been literally just as good. He’s played in seven playoff games in his career, losing just one.

Can you guess who it was to?

Mahomes gets a crack at some revenge in Super Bowl 55, as that lone postseason loss came against Brady in the AFC title game three years ago.

That one had to be especially frustrating, seeing as the Chiefs felt like the better team and probably could be shooting for a three-peat right about now.

Whatever the case, the playoff success – what we can actually fairly compare, anyways – ends in a virtual tie. Super Bowl 55 will be the decision-maker there.

Which QB Handles Pressure Better?

Tom Brady and Patrick Mahomes have enjoyed similar career trajectories.

Both have had amazing success at the start of their careers, and if Mahomes’ can keep it going anywhere remotely close to this pace, it’s quite possible he rivals – nay, tops – Brady before he’s done.

But for the here and now, so far, the whole “Brady vs. Mahomes” debate is a total wash.

They have both been elite from a statistics perspective, they both have enjoyed insane regular-season success, they both are 7-1 in the playoffs over the last three years, and they’ve both won a Super Bowl in that span.

Heck, they’re even sharing a second title game experience together in Super Bowl 55.

Talk about a rubber match to end all rubber matches.

Mahomes winning wouldn’t cement his status as the better all-time quarterback, but it would hammer home the idea that he’s the better player right now.

I’d say that virtually everything has them on an even level, but the one thing that separates these guys is their ability to perform under pressure.

The kicker? Mahomes thrives under duress, and Brady crumbles in the face of it.

Kansas City loves to throw the ball, they’re aggressive, they take risks, and they can turn obliterated plays into their ideal scenario.

Flushing Patrick Mahomes out of the pocket isn’t a good thing. Pressuring him into making a quick decision doesn’t rattle him, either, and making him move around only buys him time to find one of his many speedy receivers down the field.

Pressuring Brady, however, is like dropping Superman into a sea of Kryptonite.

I’m not saying Brady never beats pressure, but it gets to him much more consistently than it does to Mahomes. And due to a lack of mobility, even the suggestion of pressure can often be as good as an actual sack.

Is Mahomes or Brady the More Talented Passer?

This is another one that goes to Mahomes. If you want to dumb it down to something as simple as how fast these guys are, look no further than Brady’s infamous 40-yard dash at the NFL combine.

Mahomes wasn’t light years ahead of Brady as a straight-line runner, but he’s still faster, far more athletic, and way more mobile.

Beyond natural athleticism, Mahomes just has a cannon. He’s obviously far younger than Brady, but he’s always had a better arm, whether you’re looking at the current rendition of Brady or prime Brady.

Mahomes has also done more damage on the run and outside of the pocket, and that’s attributed to his mobility and tendency to keep broken plays alive.

Just look at some of his best plays already.

These are simply things Brady – long reliant on quick, short, accurate passes – can’t compete with when comparing him to Mahomes.

Brady is the greater quarterback, and it’s undeniable he’s ahead in terms of accomplishments and stats. But right now – and always – Mahomes is the better pure passer and athlete.

What Have Brady and Mahomes Done Lately?

You’re only as good as your last game. Athletes in any sport know this.

Just ask someone like Conor McGregor. He was on top of the world, but in the fast-moving world of MMA, one loss can take you from the elite to being totally washed.

The same goes for Drew Brees in the NFL, and perhaps one day it’ll happen to LeBron James.

You’re elite, successful, and adored – until you’re not.

Comparing Tom Brady and Patrick Mahomes isn’t totally fair when you look at the big picture. But you absolutely can think about the here and now and come away with a “winner.”

As far as recent accomplishments, it’s fair to say Mahomes pulls in the lead. If that’s only what we’re looking at, of course.

Brady just reached his 10th Super Bowl, but he imploded with three second-half interceptions in the NFC title game.

Had the Buccaneers lost that game (like they probably should have), Brady’s legacy would be in question to a degree.

He wasn’t a whole lot better the week prior in New Orleans, either.

Brady has still enjoyed an MVP-level campaign at age 43, and he accomplished the seemingly impossible by taking over a losing Tampa Bay roster and turning them into title threats.

What’s more impressive; that, or Patrick Mahomes just melting the face-off of the entire league for the past three years?

Brady needed some dark magic to sneak past Mahomes in the AFC title game three years ago. He then watched Mahomes win it all last season, and now Mahomes and his Chiefs are back to do it again in Super Bowl 55.

Through it all, Mahomes gathered up a 50-touchdown season and an MVP trophy and has the type of career trajectory you only see in movies.

Brady has the better career. No doubt. But right now in 2020, is it safe to say Mahomes has the hotter resume?

Brady vs. Mahomes: Who is Better?

When looking at the Tom Brady vs. Patrick Mahomes debate, it’s Mahomes for me.

Could Brady help the Buccaneers win the franchise’s second-ever Lombardi Trophy? Sure, but if you look closely at his last two games, he got carried by his defense.

Going up against the game’s top-ranked passing attack – one that destroyed Tampa Bay earlier this year – it’s no guarantee Brady will get that same kind of help in Super Bowl 2021.

Even if he does, Mahomes is far and away the more talented quarterback.

He has youth on his side, but even in his prime, Brady’s potential and god-given talent couldn’t hold a candle to what Mahomes can currently do, nor what he may become.

Patrick Mahomes can’t possibly be argued as the better all-time quarterback when compared to the GOAT, Tom Brady. He’s only been in the NFL for four seasons and a starter for three.

But if you’re trying to figure out who the best quarterback in Super Bowl 55 is, it’s a no-brainer. Mahomes has the leg up here, and it’s one of the many reasons why the Chiefs will win Super Bowl 2021.

Want more Super Bowl 55 content? Check out some of our Super Bowl 55 posts below.

Noah Davis
Noah Davis

Noah Davis is one of the more diverse writers at GamblingSites.com. Like many of his colleagues, he's a huge fan of both football and basketball. But he also writes about box office records, TV show prop bets, DFS, and all kinds of other subjects.

When it comes to the NFL, Noah's favorite team is the Cleveland Browns. He enjoys cheering them on with his wife and daughter.

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