As a fellow native Texan, Patrick Mahomes has a deep appreciation for Drew Brees and everything he’s accomplished during his Hall of Fame-caliber career. But the new face of the NFL has never had the opportunity to face his childhood idol as a member of the Kansas City Chiefs.
Luckily for Mahomes, the New Orleans Saints just gave him exactly what he wanted. And if both the Saints and Chiefs play up to their potential the rest of the way, he will have a chance to win back-to-back Super Bowl titles by taking down one a legend he grew up watching.
Patrick Mahomes has never gotten the opportunity to face Drew Brees
Patrick Mahomes used to tune in to see Drew Brees play on TV. Now, the 25-year-old calls the iconic quarterback his peer.
Both perennial Pro Bowlers call Texas home. As such, Mahomes followed Brees’ career closely, even dating back to his days in San Diego. The reigning Super Bowl MVP spoke about his appreciation for the future Hall of Famer during his press conference on Wednesday.
“I mean, it is truly special to be one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time and to be able to consistently produce every single year,” Mahomes said.
While Brees continues to play at a high level even at an advanced age, none of his recent production has come against the Chiefs. In fact, New Orleans hasn’t played Kansas City since October 23, 2016. The Saints lost by a final score of 27-21 thanks to big performances from Alex Smith and Spencer Ware, which just shows how much things have changed since then.
Even with the Saints matchup etched in stone, Mahomes entered the week with doubts about whether he would get the opportunity to face Brees.
“Hopefully, we get to go up against him; I get to go up against him,” he said at his press conference. “But if not, hopefully we’ll get to face him at some other time because you want to play against those great quarterbacks you watched growing up that were guys that you looked up to in the way they played the game.”
The Saints just gave Mahomes exactly what he wanted
Saints fans have waited patiently for Drew Brees to return to action. The 41-year-old hasn’t played a down since Week 10 due to cracked ribs and a collapsed lung. Taysom Hill led New Orleans to a 3-1 record during his absence.
Although the Chiefs would undoubtedly have better odds of beating a Hill-led offense, Patrick Mahomes clearly wants to a chance to play against the best of the best. And on Friday, the Saints just gave him exactly what he wanted.
Head coach Sean Payton announced that the team plans on starting Brees on Sunday. Instead of facing a “quarterback” who entered the season without a single career touchdown pass, the defending champions will travel to New Orleans to take on one of the best signal-callers to ever step foot on an NFL field.
Obviously, that swings the game in the Saints’ favor. Even though he’s expected to retire after the season, Brees still puts up better numbers than many quarterbacks with far more athleticism and youth.
Of course, Mahomes would be the exception to that.
The rocket-armed superstar deserves to win NFL MVP honors for the second time in three years. And thanks to his dominance, the Chiefs should capture the No. 1 seed in the AFC.
And whether Mahomes emerges with a victory on Sunday or not, he should get another crack at squaring off against Brees. Because if the Chiefs and Saints take care of business in the their respective conferences, they should meet again on the biggest stage of them all.
Will the two superstar quarterbacks meet again in Super Bowl 55?
You won’t find two teams with better balance than Kansas City and New Orleans.
Through 13 games, the Chiefs rank second in scoring and eighth in points allowed. They feature a devastatingly deep arsenal of playmakers who can turn an ordinary catch and run into a touchdown. Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill have set the standard for their respective positions and should make first-team All-Pro. And somehow, it seems like Patrick Mahomes is flying under the radar even though he currently leads the NFL with 4,208 passing yards.
The Chiefs aren’t a dominant defense, but they are opportunistic. Kansas City has recorded 15 interceptions, including six by All-Pro safety Tyrann Mathieu. Stud defensive tackle Chris Jones leads the team with 6.5 sacks and 22 quarterback hits.
Meanwhile, the Saints have assembled a championship-caliber roster of their own that features plenty of star power. When healthy (which is a major caveat) the Saints can roll out a starting offense that includes Michael Thomas, Alvin Kamara, Jared Cook, and Emmanuel Sanders. Tre’quan Smith has also stepped up as another reliable pass-catching option.
On the other side of the ball, New Orleans looks extremely dangerous. Trey Hendrickson has already recorded a career-high 10.5 sacks in a contract year. Malcolm Jenkins, Marcus Williams, Janoris Jenkins, Marshon Lattimore, and Chauncey Gardner-Johnson form one of the most complete secondaries in the league.
In reality, neither squad has any discernible holes that should prevent them from reaching Super Bowl 55. As long as Mahomes and Brees avoid any injury setbacks, they should get a second chance to face each other in a competitive setting.
And when that happens, the Lombardi Trophy will be on the line.
All statistics courtesy of Pro Football Reference.