It’s been 14 long years since the Bears last played on the first Sunday of February. At this rate, it’s impossible (and probably futile) to ascertain when they’ll next be playing for the silver football.
Until that glorious day comes around once more, those with any sort of Chicago roots can revel in watching two of the greatest to call signals for a professional offense face off: Tom Brady and yes, Patrick Mahomes.
The prevailing story all week has been that of a Mahomes and Brady duel, and what the presence of both says of the league’s past and future. Regardless of how ludicrous it might seem to the casual viewer, Brady, set to appear in an unprecedented 10th Super Bowl, is the unquestioned greatest quarterback in NFL history ... to most. And Mahomes, in just his third season as a starter, has already accomplished as much in the postseason as other heavyweight Hall of Fame counterparts like Peyton Manning and Aaron Rodgers over the lengths of their entire careers. If he retired tomorrow, the young Mahomes would already be a first-ballot Hall of Famer. It’s not a question. If there’s anyone that could theoretically eventually overtake Brady’s lofty mantel, it’s the 25-year-old. That’s what happens when you’re in as perfect of a quarterback situation as he is.
Mahomes’ top pass targets, Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce, are smack dab in the middle of their primes. An understated defense led by Steve Spagnuolo’s coordination is not set to lose any major contributor for at least a few years. And while yes, he’s already been around the NFL for decades, Andy Reid only turned 62 last year. For a coach with as much tread on the tires as him, that’s still quite youthful. Football’s best play designer and offensive mind ever is not going to walk away from a quarterback like Mahomes — someone who makes every aspect of his playbook sing — any time soon.
To some, Mahomes’ resume matching Brady’s sparkling rap sheet is a machine-like inevitability. When (or if) it gets to that stage, Mahomes’ transcendent blend of athleticism and instinct will make him an easy taker over his statuesque counterpart’s more cutting skill-set. There will be no debate as to who the Greatest. Of. All. Time. is.
But the conclusion of that journey is a long ways away. To get his second Super Bowl ring, Mahomes and his Chiefs must first overcome an underrated, if still stacked, Buccaneers squad. This NFL Championship Game might not be an instant classic in the making, but Brady & Friends will be damned if this battle doesn’t go down to the wire.
Windy City Gridiron picks Super Bowl LV.
Enjoy the game, everyone!
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