It is inevitable in every sport when a time arrives that the star veteran is replaced by the young gun. In Super Bowl LV, it’s the showdown between Tom Brady and Patrick Mahomes.
It is, in hindsight, a logical conclusion to this NFL season. With all the craziness that has surrounded the 2020 campaign, this seems thoroughly appropriate. With Brady, you have all that comes with a veteran most concede as the greatest ever. In Mahomes, the next generation of football fans has a new hero and an on-field magician to look to. Either way, it could be a game for the ages.
At 25 years of age, Mahomes is the absolute heir apparent. More than Lamar Jackson, the only other QB who can match Mahomes with his on-field antics, Mahomes has the right supporting cast. It’s no knock on Jackson, but what the Kansas City signal-caller is doing is special. He has that “it” factor you look for from a franchise-type quarterback. Jackson can still grow into that mold, but as of right now, it’s Brady and Mahomes, and then everybody else.
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For the league, the timing couldn’t be better. There is a host of veteran quarterback’s clearly near or at the end of their respective careers. With Philip Rivers and Drew Brees exiting the game, others like Ben Roethlisberger, Aaron Rodgers, and Russell Wilson are nearing the end as well. For the NFL, having Mahomes as the standard-bearer of the league is critical. Mahomes can and will fill the void when Brady calls it quits.
One significant factor when tuning into Super Bowl LV is that this kind of story is always the headline. Yes, the two opposing quarterbacks are the typical feature, but in this game, the “torch passing” will be the primary angle. Tom Brady versus Patrick Mahomes might not be unlike what fans saw when the New York Jets beat the blue blood Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III. Joe Namath knocked out the old guard; it signified a titanic shift and changed how we view the game forever.
A Game Like No Other
This matchup has that kind of feel. The kind where you can sense one era nearing an end and another beginning in earnest.
For Brady, he has everything working for him. He’s playing a home game. He has Gronk and a cast of talented wide receivers. Brady also has a great defense. Additionally, he has the benefit of playing in 10 championship games.
Mahomes is no slouch either. This is his second consecutive appearance in the Super Bowl and he is coming off of three straight AFC Championships; he’ll be ready. The glare of the bright lights of Super Sunday won’t be an issue; he’ll be ready for the moment.
Fans should not take this type of matchup for granted. The spectacle of the past and future clashing in a game of this magnitude is rare. While this storyline will take on the feel of a Hollywood script during the lead up to the game, it’s one worth savoring.
Brady versus Mahomes is the only way to wrap a season on the brink. Brady isn’t ready to exit the main stage, and Mahomes is ready to own the spotlight. Either way, expect a show and expect Mahomes to claim a stake to ownership of the conversation typically reserved for the GOAT.