Following the Kansas City Chiefs dominating victory over the Baltimore Ravens on Monday Night Football, ESPN SportsCenter host Scott Van Pelt made a comment that the up-and-coming rivalry between Patrick Mahomes and Lamar Jackson could be this generation's version of Tom Brady versus Peyton Manning.
Over the course of their careers, Brady's Patriots faced Manning's Colts/Broncos a total of 17 times, despite the two quarterbacks never playing in the same division as one another. From 2001-2015, the world was treated with Brady vs. Manning on an annual basis (besides in 2002, 2008 and 2011). The yearly battle between the NFL's two best quarterbacks truly felt like another holiday.
Brady was victorious over two-thirds of the time, winning 11 of the 17 total matchups. However, in the playoffs, Manning's teams won three of the five matchups. Four of the five clashes were AFC Championship games, with Manning winning three of them. Each time Brady and Manning faced off in the playoffs, the winner represented the AFC in the Super Bowl and won four of the five times.
Of course, saying Mahomes-Jackson is the next Brady-Manning is a lofty comparison, especially because of how young both the quarterbacks are.
However, Mahomes, 25, and Jackson, 23, have already faced one another three times in their young careers. For comparison, NFC greats Aaron Rodgers, 36, and Drew Brees, 41, have only played one another five times, including this past Sunday.
But in terms of on-field success, the budding rivalry between Jackson and Mahomes is the closest thing we've had to Brady versus Manning since. Both quarterbacks already have MVP awards under their belt, with more likely to come.
Mahomes is locked into Kansas City through 2032. A contract extension similar for Jackson is also inevitable. Should both quarterbacks continue to lead their respective teams to division titles each year, we will continue to be gifted with an annual regular-season Mahomes-Jackson clash.
There's also an argument to be made that Mahomes-Jackson has yet to truly turn into a rivalry since the Chiefs have won all three meetings between the two. Several players on the Baltimore side admitted such following Monday's loss, with Jackson even calling Kansas City the Ravens' "kryptonite."
However, this isn't much different from the early stages of the Brady-Manning rivalry. In fact, Brady's Patriots defeated Manning's Colts the first six times the two quarterbacks squared off against one another.
Manning was finally able to get the monkey off his back and defeat Brady in January of 2007, a thrilling 38-34 victory in the AFC Championship game where Indianapolis came back from an 18-point deficit. The Colts would go on to win the Super Bowl.
From that point on, the rivalry between Brady and Manning was practically even.
So, for Baltimore fans worried that Jackson won't be able to get over the hump that is defeating Mahomes' Chiefs, stay patient. If Mahomes vs. Jackson ends up anything like Brady vs. Manning, the Baltimore signal-caller will have his own 2006 AFC Championship moment.