Let’s cut straight to the chase. In a recent Instagram post, CBS sports ranked the best head coach-quarterback duos for the 2021 NFL season. And, shockingly, they put the combination of Patrick Mahomes and Andy Reid at number two, behind Tom Brady and Bruce Arians.
This take is not just a surprise, but also puts the bias of mainstream sports media on full display (more on that to come). For me, ranking HC-QB duos should take into account three factors: the talent of the QB, the skill of the coach, and their overall success together. With that being said, here’s why I think Reid-Mahomes easily beats out Arians-Brady.
Generational Quarterback Talent
There’s no doubt that both Tom Brady and Patrick Mahomes are incredibly gifted quarterbacks. Brady is the GOAT and Mahomes already has a case to be the most talented QB of all time. However, this post says “In 2021” at the top, meaning the best duo, right now. And, right now, Patrick Mahomes is more talented than Tom Brady by a wide margin.
Mahomes is Mahomes. Last year, he threw for 4,740 yards, 38 touchdowns, and just six interceptions. The Chiefs superstar is also a Super Bowl MVP and was the 2018 regular season MVP. He has elite arm strength, accuracy, and the necessary mobility to be effective in the modern era. The only person that comes close to rivaling Mahomes as the best quarterback in the NFL is Aaron Rodgers
On the other hand, where Brady stands in QB rankings is less certain. Again, he’s obviously the GOAT, no doubt about that. But, in my opinion, Tom Brady is currently not a top five quarterback, and this is where many major platforms go wrong in their rankings.
Brady joined one of the most stacked teams in the league last year. Don’t get me wrong, he is responsible for the Buccs’ championship, I’m not trying to take that away from him. But, it’s also true that being on such a good team elevated his play and status. Tampa Bay had a top-five offensive line, defense, and WR core this past year. It’s hard not to win and play well with all those pieces.
Instead of considering this, analysts and so-called experts who do put Brady in the top five-act like he came in and carried a terrible roster to a championship. However, all Brady did was relieve a Buccaneers team that had a QB who threw 30 interceptions.
Of course, Mahomes also has a great team around him that makes him look good, but he’s made some brilliant throws even when his team wasn’t there for him. Without the great team around him, I think Brady goes from superstar to above-average.
He is the best leader and decision-maker in the league, but his arm talent isn’t as extraordinary as Mahomes or Rodgers. Brady also isn’t mobile, which has become one of the most important attributes for NFL quarterbacks today.
So, not only is Mahomes better than Brady, but I also think that Brady isn’t as good (right now) as many are hyping him up to be. Just looking at the other quarterbacks on this list by CBS, I would easily put Mahomes, Rodgers, and Rusell Wilson over Brady. I would even put Lamar Jackson and Josh Allen over Tom Brady talent-wise.
Andy Reid and Bruce Arians are two of the wisest coaches in the NFL. Both are recent Super Bowl winners and have had many years of coaching experience before these victories. However, I believe that Andy Reid is by far a better coach than Bruce Arians.
In 22 seasons as the head coach of both the Eagles and Chiefs, Reid has produced an exceptional 17 winning seasons. He also has just three seasons below .500 to his name. This has translated to 235 career wins, which ranks fifth all-time. Reid has also shown that he is capable of leading teams to championships with three Super Bowl appearances and one Super Bowl win under his belt.
Arians too has found success in his time as an NFL head coach. In his 8 seasons, he has five winning ones and has never lost more than seven games in a season. He also took the Cardinals to the conference championship, and of course, won the Super Bowl with the Buccaneers this past season.
Both coaches have clearly been effective in the league, but it’s also easy to see that Reid is much more proven than Arians. He has been able to lead numerous teams to success over a long span of time. In fact, Reid is currently riding a streak of eight straight winning seasons. Meanwhile, Arians have never had more than four straight winning seasons which came at the start of his career.
Another difference is that Reid built the Chiefs up from the inside, discovering guys like Travis Kelce, Tyreek Hill, Chris Jones, and of course, Patrick Mahomes. Meanwhile, Arians have been around for just two years. He walked into a roster that already had Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Shaquill Barret, and Lavonte David. Arians certainly got these guys to play better as a team, but most of the winning didn’t occur until Tom Brady arrived via free agency
So, individually, Reid and Mahomes surpass Arians and Brady by a lot. That alone is nearly enough to show that Reid-Mahomes is a better HC-QB duo than Arians-Brady. However, the final thing to consider is which duo actually performs better together. And, I believe that this too goes to Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes.
Firstly, Reid and Mahomes have made at least the conference championship game in each of their three seasons together. They’ve been to two Super Bowls and won it all in 2019. In addition to winning, Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes have stuck by each other since even before Mahomes started a game.
Reid heavily influenced the risky decision to trade up for Mahomes in the 2017 NFL draft. He knew who he wanted to lead his team from day one. Reid has also played a crucial role in the development of Mahomes. No matter how talented rookies are, they need someone to teach them how to play on an NFL level. In Patrick Mahomes’ own words, he didn’t know how to read defenses when entering the league. Reid has been that mentor for Mahomes, and he shares almost as much credit for Mahomes’ success as the QB himself.
On the other hand, Arians and Brady have been together for just a year. To their credit, they did win the Super Bowl in their first year together, and this is no small feat. However, unlike with Mahomes, Tom Brady was already successful before Arians. And that’s an understatement. Brady had already won six Super Bowls in New England and had established himself as the GOAT.
To conclude, Brady and Arians just haven’t spent enough time together to be placed over Reid and Mahomes. Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes are also significantly better than Bruce Arians and Tom Brady from the standpoint of individual skill. Maybe if Arians and Brady make another Super Bowl in a year, this will be more of a debate. But for now, it’s another big miss by CBS Sports.