Patrick Mahomes is an unprecedented talent seemingly destined to rewrite the NFL record book.
Troy Aikman is a three-time Super Bowl champion and Hall of Famer who most certainly did not rewrite the NFL record book.
On Monday, The Athletic Kansas City — in its understandable excitement over the Chiefs’ transcendent 24-year-old quarterback — propped up Mahomes accompanied by taking a random shot at the Dallas Cowboys great.
ICYMI: "Patrick Mahomes has thrown 36% of Troy Aikman's career touchdowns, in about 8% of the games" https://t.co/VAJmRm9gmT— The Athletic Kansas City (@TheAthleticKC) September 23, 2019
The hosts of the “Time’s Ours” podcast reveled in the fact that Mahomes has thrown 60 touchdowns over 20 NFL starts, comparing it to the career total of 165 touchdowns that Aikman tallied over the course of 165 starts.
If you’re doing the math there, that’s an average of one touchdown per game for Aikman, a rate that Mahomes will surely leave in the dust over the course of his career.
Aikman: Check out these rings
Lest one think that a gold jacket and fistful of rings would make Aikman immune to a random jab from a local podcast on a Monday evening, think again.
Aikman got wind of the tweet. And he was salty.
iCYMI: Talk to me when when he has 33% of my Super Bowl Titles https://t.co/Ba8kjPRnDs— Troy Aikman (@TroyAikman) September 24, 2019
“Talk to me when he has 33% of my Super Bowl Titles,” Aikman wrote.
OK, then. Play the ever-present rings card that’s familiar to anybody who’s ever engaged in a sports debate involving Eli Manning, LeBron James or Michael Jordan.
Aikman is not mad at Mahomes
Just to clarify that he wasn’t taking a shot at Mahomes — a beef could certainly raise a conflict for any Chiefs games Aikman calls in his duties as a Fox announcer. Aikman told USA Today on Tuesday that his issue was with the writer of the tweet, not the Kansas City quarterback.
“I love Mahomes,” Aikman told USA Today. “My tweet was directed at the writer.”
A ridiculous comparison
The entire debate is silly, of course. There’s no organic basis for comparing the two a la the NBA’s never-ceasing GOAT debate comparing LeBron and MJ.
The Athletic Kansas City just decided to prop up a common statistical punching bag to compare with Mahomes.
It’s no secret that Aikman’s numbers pale in comparison modern-day NFL quarterbacks.
He threw for 165 touchdowns and 141 interceptions while averaging 199.6 yards per game over the course of his 12-year career. He eclipsed the 20-touchdown threshold just once in his career. Those certainly don’t look like Hall of Fame numbers, especially when propped up next to Mahomes, who threw 50 touchdowns in his first year as an NFL starter.
The case against John Elway
But of course, neither do the numbers of any of Aikman’s contemporaries. NFL football in the 80s and 90s was a completely different game from the high-octane passing attacks today aided by rules that limit pass defenses and helmed by superior athletes who are products of the natural evolution of the game.
John Elway — considered by some to be the greatest quarterback of all time — also pales in comparison to Mahomes statistically.
Elway threw for 300 touchdowns and 226 interceptions while averaging 220 passing yards over 234 career games. His career completion percentage was 56.9.
That’s not a typo. Elway completed less than 60 percent of his career passes — a rate that would get him benched in today’s NFL. His touchdown average of 1.28 per game doesn’t stand up to Eli Manning (1.56 per game), much less Mahomes.
So why is this a thing?
Mahomes averages 328 yards and three touchdowns per game, with a better than 4-to-1 touchdown-to-interception ratio while completing 66.8 percent of his passes. The league has never seen anything like him.
It’s folly to compare his numbers to Aikman’s. Nobody’s doubting Mahomes’ greatness. Barring something tragic stunting his career, he’s on pace to be a surefire first-ballot Hall of Famer.
If somebody wants to argue the merits of Aikman’s Hall credentials, then that’s fine and completely unrelated. He punched his ticket to Canton via his ring count, a case that’s being made now for Eli Manning.
What any of that has to do with Mahomes is unclear.
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