Super Bowl LVIII is now less than 55 hours from kickoff and everyone is emptying the chamber on their takes. It's a glorious football Friday and excitement is in the air so you can understand if some people go a bit overboard. Which is probably what Dan Orlovsky did this morning on Get Up when he claimed that if Patrick Mahomes wins on Sunday that it'll be the greatest start to a career in the history of sports.
Here's his reasoning.
Let's dispense with the obvious. Mahomes has crushed it during his seven years in the league. He's won the regular season and Super Bowl MVP twice. This is his fourth trip to the Super Bowl. The stats he's putting up are ungodly. Then there's the art to his game. Anyone who thinks, for even a second, that he cannot be as good or as accomplished as Tom Brady is unserious. It'll be superhard and it'll be interesting to see how that type of body ages, but he's a straight-up winner.
But the greatest start to a career in the history of sports? Let's just run his case against the first three athletes that came to mind as a rebuttal.
First, Tom Brady. He won the Super Bowl three out of four years after attempting just three passes during his rookie campaign. Mahomes is still searching for his third ring (possibly for a few more hours). The Patriots quarterback did not put up eye-popping numbers or attract a ton of individual honors. He was like a fine wine people had to realize was world-class. Brady did take quite a break between his third and fourth Lombardis so reasonable minds can disagree about which of them set forth a higher trajectory.
Then there's Bill Russell. All he did in his first seven years was win six of his eventual 11 titles while grabbing over 25 rebounds per game in dominating the game more than any quarterback has ever dominated a game. The Celtics big man won four MVPs and finished second two other times during the stretch. If the main metric here is winning — and it seems to be based on the contingency of Mahomes winning on Sunday — how do you not give Russell the nod here?
Which brings us, finally, to Tiger Woods. Golf is a sport. The first year Tiger played with any regularity on the PGA Tour, he won the Masters by 12 strokes and three other tournaments. He'd go on to win a total of 37 times during his first seven years, including eight majors. To say nothing of how he transformed the sport. I will simply not sit here and stay silent when someone says Patrick Mahomes' arrival and ascendence has anything on Woods'.
Could be wrong, though. Mahomes crucially plays a sport in an era with the most parity. Some people really value that. But hey, it was a strong take — and not exactly that far off from my reality.