Patrick Mahomes is on pace to be the greatest quarterback of all-time

Patrick Mahomes put up 360 passing yards, five touchdowns, and no interceptions in a 44-21 Kansas City Chiefs Week 1 win over the Arizona Cardinals. This performance solidified the fact that Mahomes is still the best quarterback in the NFL right now. It also means that the QB is on pace to be the greatest quarterback of all time. He still has a long way to go —and Tom Brady still isn’t done making his case — but the Patrick Mahomes GOAT argument is strong and getting stronger all the time.

The statistical Patrick Mahomes GOAT argument

In his first four full seasons as a starting QB, Patrick Mahomes’ resume is already staggering. He has 18,713 passing yards, 151 touchdowns, 36 interceptions, 1,179 rushing yards, and eight rushing touchdowns.

That averages out to 4,678 passing yards, 38 TDs, nine INTs, 295 rushing yards, and two rushing TDs per season.

Let’s say Mahomes plays 12 more NFL seasons, taking him to age 39. If he stays relatively healthy, keeping up these averages isn’t outlandish. He turns 27 on Saturday, September 17, and should exceed those average numbers the next few years in his prime and recede a bit at the end of his career.

At that pace, Mahomes will end his career with 74,852 passing yards, 604 TDs, 144 INTs, 4,716 rushing yards, and 32 rushing TDs.

Most games with 5+ touchdowns and 0 interceptions before turning 30:

4 — Patrick Mahomes4 — Peyton Manning

Mahomes is 26 years old.

— StatMuse (@statmuse) September 12, 2022

With those numbers, the Chiefs QB will retire with the third-most passing yards behind Tom Brady (84,732 and counting) and Drew Brees (80,358). He’ll have the second-most TDs behind Brady (625+), and the only greatest quarterback of all-time nominee with fewer interceptions will be Joe Montana (139).

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One of the QB’s skills that will help in the Patrick Mahomes GOAT argument is his athleticism and running ability. On his current pace, he’ll finish as the fourth-greatest quarterback of all time in rushing yards behind Michael Vick (6,109), Cam Newton (5,628), and Randall Cunningham (4,928).

As far as awards go, on his current pace, Mahomes will finish his career with 16 Pro Bowls, four All-Pro nods, and four MVPs. That will give him one more Pro Bowl and All-Pro team than Brady (or the same, depending on how Brady finishes this season). And four NFL MVP Awards will be second-most to Peyton Manning’s five, tied with Aaron Rodgers, and one more than Brady, Brett Favre, and Johnny Unitas.

When it’s all said and done, Patrick Mahomes should be statistically, at worst, the second-best NFL QB in history behind Brady. If the Chiefs signal-caller outperforms his averages or plays into his 40s, he could be No. 1 in the end.

That said, the Patrick Mahomes GOAT case will have to go beyond numbers.

Super Bowls are the key to overtaking Tom Brady as the greatest quarterback of all time

Being the NFL’s greatest quarterback of all time isn’t all about statistics. QB is the most important position in the sport of football. It is the one position that consistently determines whether a team wins or loses.

Because of that, Patrick Mahomes can’t be the GOAT without more Super Bowl rings.

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The Chiefs QB has been to the AFC Championship Game in each of his first four seasons as a starter, made two Super Bowls, and won one.

One more Lombardi trophy (plus the projected numbers) would likely vault Mahomes over other greatest quarterback of all-time nominees with two Super Bowls, like Peyton Manning and John Elway. At that point, he’d need two more to tie Joe Montana (and blow him out of the water statistically).

Even if Mahomes gets to four, he’ll still be behind Brady in the GOAT conversation.

Most Super Bowls in NFL history:

7 — Tom Brady6 — New England Patriots6 — Pittsburgh Steelers

— StatMuse (@statmuse) February 8, 2021

So, the key to Patrick Mahomes becoming the greatest quarterback of all time is five Super Bowls. Give him the second-most Lombardi’s ever, and you can make a case that when you add in the running and adjust for the current era of parity and great young QBs around the league like Josh Allen, Justin Herbert, Joe Burrow, and Lamar Jackson, Mahomes is the GOAT.

If Mahomes finishes with seven or more to get on equal footing with Brady, the conversation is over.

There is the case for Patrick Mahomes being on pace to be the greatest quarterback of all time. Now we just have to sit back, watch, and enjoy for the next decade-plus to see how it plays out.

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