Right now, the NFL waits with bated breath as Tom Brady will try to determine the team he’ll end his career with. Meanwhile, in the AFC West, Patrick Mahomes may have begun wrestling Brady’s “Greatest of All Time” title from him with his first Super Bowl win last season.
Brady and Mahomes have a lot in common — they’re both looked at as elite players, both started in their second year after serving a season as backups, and both took off with the opportunity. They also squared off in the 2019 AFC championship game, which Brady’s New England Patriots won over the Kansas City Chiefs.
After the game, Brady gave Mahomes some advice that may have propelled him to the 2020 Super Bowl. Let’s take a closer look at what that advice was.
Tom Brady and Patrick Mahomes’ epic matchup in the 2019 AFC championship game
Mahomes lit up the league in his first year as a starter during the 2018-2019 season, setting up a matchup with the legendary Brady and the England Patriots in that season’s AFC title game. The game went down to the wire, with the Patriots edging the Chiefs for a 37-31 victory.
How did the two quarterbacks play? Brady had 30 completions on 46 attempts with 348 yards, one touchdown, and two interceptions. Mahomes went 16 for 31 with 295 yards and three touchdowns. The referees waved off what would have been a late, game-sealing Brady interception after a Chiefs’ defender jumped offside.
The Chiefs were very close to advancing to the Super Bowl against the Rams last year, but the Pats eeked out a win like they always seem to do. It was good preparation for this year when the Chiefs and Mahomes got over the championship hump. Mahomes did it with a little counsel from Brady.
The advice Brady gave Mahomes following the 2019 AFC championship game
According to a Business Insider story about Mahomes and Brady’s words following that game, the two quarterbacks did more than exchange words at midfield. They met in the “bowels of Arrowhead Stadium” to talk.
There, Brady shared some insights with Mahomes that he’s learned over his two decades in the game. Mahomes recounted Brady’s message:
“The biggest thing he said was, ‘Stay with the process and be who you are.’ He didn’t want me to change at all. He wanted me to go out there and take advantage of every single day. When you hear it from a guy like that, who’s had the success at the level that he’s had for his entire career, you know you’ve got to take advantage of every single day if you want to be great.”
How Patrick Mahomes used Brady’s advice to win a Super Bowl
Mahomes took Brady’s words to heart and played largely the same style of game during the 2019-2020 season. Here’s what he was able to achieve this year:
- Win-loss record (including playoffs) of 14-3
- Completed 65.9% of his passes
- 4,031 passing yards
- 26 touchdowns
- Five interceptions
- 8.3 yards per attempts
Mahomes also dazzled during the postseason — he led the Chiefs to comeback victories over the Houston Texans, Tennessee Titans, and San Francisco 49ers. Despite trailing in all three games, Mahomes did not wilt under pressure.
After spending the majority of the year playing the same improvisational, free-wheeling style he played with in 2018-2019, it’s clear Mahomes listened to Brady, the quarterback whose 2020 fate is still undecided. He took advantage of every game and every play, always putting the Chiefs in a position to win.
Mahomes might not have had a markedly better season than his first year as a starter — it would be hard to top that — but he definitely had a stronger finish and he has Tom Brady to thank for that.