Patrick Mahomes just won his first Super Bowl at the age of 24. The same age as Tom Brady when he won his first. Mahomes is now just eight Super Bowl appearances behind Brady for the most all-time. Can he possibly catch him? Could Patrick Mahomes really play in a decade's worth of Super Bowls?
No. Even if he is the greatest ever, no one will ever catch Brady in this category. Mahomes is more likely to play Major League Baseball than appear in 10 Super Bowls. Probably because there's a chance he plays in so many Super Bowls that he decides to play Major League Baseball. Here are some other reasons.
Patrick Mahomes was lucky enough to fall to a good team in the draft and start his professional career with a Hall of Fame coach. Just like Tom Brady. The big difference? Brady fell into the lap of a 48 year old Bill Belichick who wouldn't even turn 50 until after they won their first Super Bowl together. Reid will be 62 next month. The oldest coach to win a Super Bowl is Belichick at 66.
Mahomes' best shot is that all these teams passing on 50 year old Eric Bieniemy are missing out on Reid's worthy replacement. With Bieniemy and Mahomes, the Chiefs have had the No. 1 and No.5 scoring offenses in the NFL. They won this Super Bowl and were a quarter from last year's Super Bowl.
Tom Brady has played in nine Super Bowls in 20 seasons. John Elway made five in 16 seasons. Bradshaw, Montana, Staubach, Manning and Kelly all made four. Staubach and Kelly played the fewest seasons and still barely made one-in-three possible Super Bowls. Brady is the king of Super Bowls and he didn't even make it half the time.
If you want to be really optimistic about Patrick Mahomes making a bunch of Super Bowls, he'll need to play a long time. Like, 15 years or so just to reasonably expect five total appearances. Which would be the second-most ever. Second-most ever is really good. It's more than a lot of Hall of Famers and the same as another Hall of Famer, behind only one Hall of Famer. Five Super Bowl appearances would be incredible.
(Worth noting: nose tackle Mike Nodish appeared in six total Super Bowls with the Buffalo Bills and Denver Broncos. That is the second-most Super Bowl appearances by a player. Elway, along with Adam Vinatieri, Cornelius Bennett, Glenn Parker and Gale Gilbert, have all been to five.)
All That Other Stuff
This isn't even taking into consideration possible injuries or two-year work stoppages during his prime. Stuff like that he can't control. One thing he can control is the size of his contract. If he wants to win forever, like Brady, he's going to need to play for a discount. The Chiefs can't be tied up with the highest-paid quarterback if they want to sustain this level of success. Obviously, if Mahomes is the highest paid player, it doesn't mean the Chiefs can't win a Super Bowl, it will just make it that much more difficult. Especially, in consecutive seasons.
We can say with a decent amount of certainty that Mahomes isn't going to play in more Super Bowls than Tom Brady, but he could still end up second or third on that list. If he can stay healthy and play about 13 more seasons, while the Chiefs alternately spend money and navigate the cap, and Reid and Bieniemy can help him get there, then five or six seems possible. Since it's never a good idea to bet against Patrick Mahomes, let's go with six. That would be second-most ever and an incredible achievement. It would also be as good a case as anyone can hope for to be discussed as the greatest quarterback of all-time.