Nineteen years ago today, peach-fuzz babyface Tom Brady took the field in the Super Bowl for the first time. He was an underdog entering that Super Bowl, facing-off against the St. Louis Rams ‘Greatest Show on Turf.’ The final two minutes of that game, in which Brady drove the length of the field to set up the winning field goal, showed the world that he was here to stay.
That was the last time the oddsmakers in Las Vegas named Brady an underdog in the Super Bowl. The last time, until this year. This year, the oddsmakers seem to have forgotten the near two decades of Brady’s dominance. Maybe it’s because he’s wearing a different jersey? Or maybe they all want to be the first to name Patrick Mahomes the next Brady.
Mahomes isn’t Brady. Not yet. No NFL team has more Super Bowl wins than Brady. Since he became a full-time starter in 2001, Brady has the same odds of going to the Super Bowl as a coin does of landing on heads. Mahomes could become what Brady is. But in a matchup of Brady vs the next Brady, I’ll take my chances with the original.
The Buccaneers have a better defense than the Chiefs. The Buccaneers allowed only 5.1 yards per play, ranking sixth in the NFL. The Chiefs were 20th in yards per play allowed. Although the Buccaneers don’t have a receiver quite like Tyreek Hill or Travis Kelce, the receiving group as a whole may be stronger. They have Mike Evans, who is one of the best wide-receivers in the league, plus Chris Godwin, Antonio Brown (if he is healthy), Rob Gronknowski and the sneaky Scottie Miller.
Tyreek Hill had one of the best receiving performances of all time in the Chiefs and Buccaneers last meet-up and the Chiefs only won by three. Asking him to do so again is a tall order.
In my opinion, it all comes down to the quarterbacks. Mahomes is a superstar. He’s the best quarterback in the game today. But he has a long way to go before he builds a career even comparable to Brady.
Brady has done everything there is to do in the NFL. The only shroud of doubt on his legacy as the best-of-all-time, is that he can only win with his former head coach, Bill Belichick. For 19 years Belichick and Brady dominated the league together. What many seem to forget is, the season before Brady, the Patriots went 5-11. Brady quarterbacked them to nineteen straight winning seasons. This year, the first without Brady since, the Patriots returned to a losing record.
To finally shred all doubt, Brady has to win a Super Bowl without Belichick. Doing so would give him more championships than any NFL franchise, and finally remove all doubt of who the greatest quarterback in history is. Mahomes is simply the last hurdle.