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The Morning After…Chiefs comparisons to Patriots grow louder

Patrick Mahomes hoisted his third Lombardi Trophy on Sunday after knocking off the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl LVIII.

It marked the first time a team has gone back-to-back since Tom Brady and the New England Patriots did it in 2004. It also solidified the Chiefs’ dynasty by giving them their third Super Bowl victory in five years.

Sports fans are naturally prisoners of the moment, and there will be every attempt possible to unseat the Patriots’ greats to make room for the next contenders to the throne.

Some of the chatter out there deserves conversation, while some of it feels a bit premature. Here are some leftover notes from the Super Bowl in relation to the Patriots:

Mahomes is on track, but he has a long way to go to catch Brady

Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports
Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

Leading into the Super Bowl, Mahomes admitted he wasn’t buying into the Brady comparisons. Of course, many in the media will jump ahead in an attempt to proclaim him as the greatest quarterback of all time.

But to Mahomes’ credit, he took the high road when asked about Brady.

“I mean, I’m not even close to halfway, so I haven’t put a lot of thought into it,” Mahomes told the media. “I mean, your goal is to be the best player that you can be. I know I’m blessed to be around a lot of great players around me. And so, right now, it’s doing whatever I can to beat a great 49ers team and try to get that third ring. And then if you ask me that question in 15 years, and I’ll see if I can get close to seven. But seven seems like a long ways away still.”

Mahomes is clearly on track to doing some special things under center. At only 28 years old, he already has three Super Bowls under his belt, and the Chiefs are clearly positioned to keep racking them up as long as he’s healthy.

But that still doesn’t change the fact that Brady has seven Super Bowl victories and better signature moments in the postseason. He’s also 2-0 against Mahomes in the head-to-head playoff battles in an AFC Championship and Super Bowl. If anything, seeing how dominant Mahomes has been makes Brady beating him even more impressive.

Keep in mind, Brady was also only 28 years old when he won his third Super Bowl.

Where are the great quarterbacks to challenge Mahomes?

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

We clearly aren’t living in an era of all-time great quarterbacks.

When looking at the landscape, it’s hard to envision anyone rising up and challenging Mahomes.

Sure, Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson won MVP for a second time, but he has looked like a shell of himself in the playoffs. Nothing has changed for the perennial losing Buffalo Bills, even with Josh Allen at quarterback. That team can’t wait for an opportunity to throw up over themselves in big moments.

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts has been too up and down to stay in the conversation, and Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert can’t even get his team in the conversation.

Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow might be the only legitimate threat, and even he hasn’t won a championship yet.

The quarterback landscape in the NFL isn’t what it used to be, particularly when you begin comparing eras. Brady played at a time when there was Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers, Ben Roethlisberger and Kurt Warner.

An argument could be made the quarterback play in today’s NFL hasn’t been nearly as good. Brady and Steve Young even touched on the subject in a recent episode of the “Let’s Go!” podcast.

In many ways, Mahomes feels like a shark in a smaller pool than we’re used to seeing.

Andy Reid attempting to close the gap on Belichick

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Andy Reid is ranked fourth on the all-time wins list for NFL head coaches.

He’ll have an opportunity to close the gap on Patriots former coach Bill Belichick, who is expected to take a year off from coaching in 2024. Granted, he still has a ways to go to catch Belichick’s 333 wins. Reid is currently sitting at 284 wins with a team that has completely dominated the rest of the competition.

There has been so much talk about Belichick chasing and potentially even breaking Don Schula’s wins record. People often forget Reid is right there in the race as well. The Chiefs coach is only 65 years old and in position to add a lot more wins to his resume.

There are no certainties Belichick will even coach again. Sure, the expectations are there that he’ll interview for jobs and be in the mix in 2025, but there are no guarantees he’ll actually land one.

Is Kelce better than Gronk?

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The comparisons don’t just stop with the quarterbacks and head coaches. There is also a tight end debate raging on between Kansas City’s Travis Kelce and Patriots former All-Pro tight end Rob Gronkowski.

Kelce is a sensational player and arguably the greatest receiving tight end to ever play in the NFL. But when it comes to the overall position and everything it encompasses, it’s hard for me to put anyone ahead of Gronkowski, who was an absolute freak of nature on the field.

Not only was Gronkowski an elite receiver, but he was also an elite blocker up front. He was just as likely to pancake a defender as he was to haul in receptions in double coverage.

But there were also the runs after the catch. Gronkowski was a different animal entirely.

Gronkowski was the more complete player with a greater wow factor to his game. We’ve never seen a player standing at 6-foot-6 and 265 pounds do what he could do.

How can the Patriots get back?

Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

It would be great to say go draft a Patrick Mahomes, and things will go back to being on track in New England.

If only things were that easy.

But seeing what Mahomes and the Chiefs have been able to do should encourage the Patriots to be even more aggressive in their search for a franchise quarterback. They’re going to need to find the right guy under center to even have a shot at playoff contention.

There’s always the option of running it back with either Mac Jones or Bailey Zappe as the starter. They could also go after a veteran signal-caller in free agency. But nothing is truly going to change in New England until they land a franchise quarterback. Is that Caleb Williams, Drake Maye or Jayden Daniels?

The Patriots have likely gone through intense evaluations of the available quarterbacks in the 2024 NFL draft. But there needs to be a willingness to do whatever it takes, even if it means attempting to trade up, to get the guy they feel the strongest about.

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Story originally appeared on Patriots Wire