Patrick Mahomes did the impossible over and over again on Sunday night, taking down the Buffalo Bills at Arrowhead Stadium in one of the greatest playoff games ever. Leading the Kansas City Chiefs offense 40 yards in 13 seconds to send the game to overtime will go down as one of his all-time career highlights and will serve as a reminder of his greatness decades from now regardless of how the rest of his playing days unfold. It was, in a word, legendary.
It was also the type of performance to set everyone up for some good ol' hyperbole the morning after. First Things First obliged, with Nick Wright (a noted Chiefs superfan) declaring Mahomes is now at the level of LeBron James in his prime and Chris Broussard stating that we're watching the NFL version of early-career Michael Jordan.
I can actually get on board with the LeBron thing. Mahomes still has six more consecutive Super Bowl appearances to make before he matches The King's streak of NBA Finals appearances, but should Mahomes make it three in a row this year it's arguably as impressive considering how much more variance goes into the outcome of the NFL postseason vs. the NBA postseason. There are very few athletes who make victory feel inevitable regardless of circumstance and Mahomes is already there. Even with 13 seconds left, nobody counted him out. And absolutely nobody thought the Chiefs were losing that game after they won the coin toss.
The Jordan thing, well... maybe we pump the brakes. Mahomes certainly has Jordan-esque potential, given he's played four NFL seasons and already has four championship game appearances. But the NFL version of Jordan already exists down in Tampa Bay. If anything it feels like we're in the early days of a long, long debate between Brady and Mahomes as the football GOAT where Brady is Jordan and Mahomes is LeBron. One guy was the ultimate winner and the other is arguably the better player but doesn't have the rings to match. Yet.
As silly as all that may feel, that's the beauty of sports debate in the playoffs. Any and all restraint goes flying out the window. No take feels too hot when we watch the best players in the sport deliver in the clutch time and time again. Let us bask in both the absurdity of the moment and the fact that Mahomes delivered a great enough performance that nothing seems too ridiculous.