In only his third season starting for the Kansas City Chiefs, quarterback Patrick Mahomes is already facing six-time Super Bowl champion quarterback Tom Brady for the fourth time. That’s a special situation — considering some big-time quarterback matchups only happen two or three times over players’ careers.
It also means that the Chiefs are familiar with facing Brady. He may not be playing for the New England Patriots anymore, but he is still respected as one of the greatest players to ever play. He’s led the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to a 7-4 record this season.
Chiefs head coach Andy Reid praised the 42-year-old signal-caller in his Wednesday press conference.
“He’s unbelievable,” Reid lamented. “He’s a great player, Hall of Fame player, and we’re lucky enough to be in this era where we can watch him. He’s old, and it’s hard to tell that he’s old. That’s a tribute to how he takes care of himself and the care in living he does all the way around, from diets to workouts, everything. He’s the ultimate professional and a great player.”
On the flip side, there were words of praise from Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians for Mahomes — claiming that Mahomes and retired quarterback Andrew Luck were two of the best pre-draft workouts he’s ever witnessed.
More Bruce Arians on Patrick Mahomes predraft: “The day I worked out Patrick, I think the wind was blowing 35 or 45 mph and it didn’t affect his ball at all. It was amazing down in Lubbock that day.”
— Herbie Teope (@HerbieTeope) November 25, 2020
“When Bruce was in the media, he had a chance to do a couple of our games, so I had a chance to talk to him candidly when he was out of coaching,” Reid said. “I know how much he liked him, and that was real. I also knew during the draft how much he liked him, so there are reasons we had to maneuver a little bit to get him.”
Wide receiver Tyreek Hill, who is currently 26 years old, was only 6 when Brady won his first championship. He relishes the opportunity to play against him.
“I’m so surprised for a guy his age — watching him play over the years, how great he is,” Hill told reporters on Wednesday. “I’ve always been a fan of Tom, I’ve always called him the G.O.A.T. Even though I play with Pat — he’s the G.O.A.T., too — but Tom, he’s obviously the G.O.A.T. of our sport. I’m just so glad to be able to play against Tom, hopefully I can get a jersey swap.”
It’s a little silly for Hill to feel like he has to correct himself about who is the G.O.A.T.
It’s OK to admit that Brady’s six championships and nine Super Bowl appearances solidify his status. Mahomes is working to get there, but his teammates continue to consider him for that label. When safety Tyrann Mathieu was asked about Brady in his Wednesday presser, he too felt the need to mention Mahomes.
“I see the greatest quarterback of all-time,” Mathieu began. “Obviously, we have Patrick, but you can’t take anything away from Tom Brady. He’s still very smart, he’s still trying to throw the ball down the field. He has all the weapons any quarterback can ask for. We’ll have our hands full with him. Obviously, he’s played our system a bunch of times… He’s familiar with us, we have to get familiar with him and the new weapons he has.”
With his teammates sharing their opinions, it was only right that Mahomes gave his input on how close he is to Brady’s fame.
“I don’t know if I’m on his level yet; he’s someone that is a global star,” Mahomes pointed out during his Wednesday media availability. “For me, I just try to be myself, go out there every single day and put in the work, try to win football games. All that other stuff just comes with it, and I just try to be a normal guy, live it up with my teammates and have fun doing it.”
That being said, Mahomes doesn’t take the praise from his teammates for granted. He appreciates how much his colleagues believe in him.
“It gives me confidence to know that the guys believe in me just as much as I believe in them,” Mahomes assured. “You have to have that if you want to win these football games against these great opponents in these pressure-packed situations, you have to have the total confidence in each other.”
Mahomes wasn’t lying about the confidence he has in his teammates. When asked about comparing the star-studded receiving corps that Tampa Bay possesses to his own group of pass-catchers, Mahomes didn’t hesitate to answer.
“I’ll take my guys versus anybody; it’s as simple as that.”
A concise, yet powerful statement.
Mahomes’ serious tone gave off the vibe that he is motivated by the matchup with Brady. The quarterbacks may not ever face each other in the field of play on Sunday — but in the back of each player’s head, they’ll always be aware of who’s on the opposing sideline waiting their turn.