Fans in every sport like to imagine what would happen if the best players from different generations could somehow face each other in their primes. Babe Ruth against Hank Aaron. Bill Russell taking on Michael Jordan. The 1999 U.S. women’s team going up against the 2019 version.
NFL fans don’t have to wonder.
Past and future will meet — at center stage, no less – in this year’s Super Bowl between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Kansas City Chiefs. It’s The GOAT against The Kid, Tom Brady trying to win one more title while Patrick Mahomes looks to further a legacy that one day might eclipse even Brady’s.
“The Super Bowl is the Super Bowl. Being able to go up against one of the greatest, if not the greatest, quarterbacks of all time, in his 150th Super Bowl, it’s going to be a great experience for me,” Mahomes said after Kansas City’s 38-24 win over the Buffalo Bills that wasn’t nearly as close as the score indicated.
“To have the chance to repeat and do it against the best,” Mahomes said, “it’s something special, and I’m excited for the opportunity.”
Yes, Mahomes was kidding when he said this will be Brady’s 150th Super Bowl. But the hyperbole is allowed.
This will be Brady’s 10th Super Bowl appearance, and fourth in five years, and his six titles are more than any other quarterback. He has been in the NFC for all of 10 months, and already has won as many conference championships as Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers.
He’ll also be the first quarterback in Super Bowl history – which goes back more than 50 years now – to play in his home stadium.
“It puts a lot of cool things in perspective,” Brady said after the Buccaneers held off the Green Bay Packers, 31-26. “Anytime you’re the first time doing something, it’s usually a pretty good thing.”
Making this all the more impressive is that Brady is doing it at 43, an age when most players are well into their retirement. He will be the oldest quarterback to start a Super Bowl, breaking a mark he set two years ago. Which broke the mark he’d set the year before that.
Brady has played so long, in fact, there are guys who were drafted a year after him who are already in the Pro Football Hall of Fame! Another way to look at it: He’s closer in age to Mahomes’ father, Pat, who is 50, than to his 25-year-old son
Mahomes vs Brady pic.twitter.com/i2WixwcyB6
— Twitter Sports (@TwitterSports) January 25, 2021
“You guys are seeing him grow right in front of you,” Chiefs coach Andy Reid said. “I sit there and — I’m an old guy that’s seen a couple of pretty good quarterbacks, and I just keep going, `This guy seems to amaze me a little bit more every game.’
“I’m proud of the way he handles it, most of all,” Reid added. ”He’s about the team and he’s all in. He works his tail off and he does it the right way. That’s important. It’s important for the longevity for his career, for the success of the Kansas City Chiefs and, obviously now, for the Super Bowl.”
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SOURCE: USA Today, Nancy Armour