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Three of the last four NFL MVPs are named either Aaron Rodgers or Patrick Mahomes. Rodgers or Mahomes (or Rodgers and Mahomes) have appeared in the Conference Finals in the last four consecutive seasons. There is no question that Aaron Rodgers and Patrick Mahomes are two of the best three or four quarterbacks in the NFL. 

Despite the fact that these two sure-fire future Hall of Famers are inarguably two of the best in the league, one wide receiver who has now played with both signal-callers says that one of these two luminaries “is on a whole ‘nother level” from the other. 

Sammy Watkins says Aaron Rodgers is on a different level from Patrick Mahomes

Sammy Watkins started his career catching balls from some not-so-great QBs. On the Buffalo Bills, he worked with Kyle Orton, EJ Manuel, and Tyrod Taylor before heading to the Los Angeles Rams and Jared Goff. 

Finally, in 2018, he hooked up with Patrick Mahomes on the Kansas City Chiefs. After three years working with the young, Super Bowl-winning signal-caller, Watkins moved on to Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens before signing with Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers this offseason. 

During his first Packers training camp, Randall Cobb asked Watkins — in earshot of reporters —who he would take, Aaron Rodgers and Patrick Mahomes. Watkins responded, “Pat is incredibly good, but A-Rod is on a whole other level.”

In a subsequent interview, the former Clemson wideout expanded on his thoughts about Rodgers and Mahomes. 

“He’s amazing, how he controls the ball, how he puts everyone in place. I’ve been with a lot of quarterbacks, and I never seen them carry themselves like Aaron Rodgers,” Watkins said. 

So, is Watkins right? Is Rodgers a class above Mahomes? Let’s look at the tale of the tape. 

Tale of the tape

Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers shake hands with Patrick Mahomes of the Kansas City Chiefs in 2019 preseason.
Patrick Mahomes, Aaron Rodgers | Quinn Harris/Getty Images

Aaron Rodgers Reveals Hidden Meaning Behind Arm Tattoo

Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes is about to turn 27 (September 17) and has played five NFL seasons. It’s unfair to compare their career numbers at this point as the Packers’ 38-year-old Aaron Rodgers enters his 18th NFL season

Still, just for fun, here’s what that career comparison looks like:

PlayerYrsRecordYardsCmp%TDINTQB RatingPro BowlsAll ProsMVPSB
Aaron Rodgers18139-66-155,36065.3%44993104.510441
Patrick Mahomes550-1318,99166.1%15137105.84111

To make the comparison more apt, here are Rodgers’ numbers through his first four seasons as a starter:

PlayerYrsRecordYardsCmp%TDINTQB RatingPro BowlsAll ProsMVPSB
Aaron Rodgers441-2017,03765.6%13137105.22111

As you can see, the averaged numbers between Aaron Rodgers and Patrick Mahomes are incredibly close, and the compiled numbers were also quite similar after Rodgers’ first four seasons as a starter. 

If Mahomes plays another decade or so, it stands to reason that he will surpass Rodgers in terms of numbers. The big difference, historically, will likely come down to how many Super Bowls Mahomes can win. If his numbers are similar, but he wins two, three, or more Big Games, he will likely slide ahead of Rodgers on the all-time QB list. 

That said, it makes sense that with his nearly 20 years of NFL experience, Rodgers runs an offense and affects WRs (like Sammy Watkins) in a much different way than Mahomes early in his career. 

The Aaron Rodgers vs. Patrick Mahomes debate will go on, and this season, if the two met in the Super Bowl next February, would anyone be surprised?

All stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference