By Tony Massarotti, 98.5 The Sports Hub
Here in New England, where we are understandably fixated on what might have been with Jimmy Garoppolo, we are nonetheless missing the point: Patrick Mahomes needs this game more than Jimmy G does.
For certain, we all wonder how Garoppolo will fare in Super Bowl LIV on Sunday, and we all know that Super Bowls provide an often-permanent narrative (rightly or wrongly) in the career of an NFL quarterback. Garoppolo enters this game with questions. Can he outgun Kansas City phenom Mahomes? Can he come through, on the biggest and grandest stage, when the San Francisco 49ers need him to? Can he avoid the careless mistakes that have at least speckled what has thus far been a solid NFL career?
All of those questions are fair.
Which is why nobody should be surprised if Garoppolo falters on Sunday, fumbles away a championship, throws San Francisco’s sixth Super Bowl title into the hands of a linebacker he did not see.
If and when then happens, roughly half of America – or New England – will have been right about Jimmy G, which brings us back to Mahomes: how many people are expecting him to falter? The indisputable answer is decidedly few, which means a failure by Mahomes on Sunday will be far more newsworthy and damning – at least in the short-term – to a player now universally regarded as the best in the NFL.
If you have a moment, try googling this: is Patrick Mahomes the best ever? Much of the talk in Miami this week has centered on Mahomes’ exceptional talents, his ability to move and create, his ability to see and throw. Some have already called him an amalgam of the greatest quarterbacks who have ever played the game, part Drew Brees, part Brett Favre, part John Elway and, yes, part Tom Brady.
Know what that is? Ridiculous. Downright stupid. Mahomes is 27-8 in his NFL career, which means he has started just seven more games than Garoppolo (23-5). Included in that is a 3-1 postseason record that includes 11 touchdown passes and zero interceptions, the kind of ratio that is downright Montana-esque. Mahomes has an excellent, innovative offensive coach. He has tremendous talent around him. He has unique abilities.
As such – and given America’s love for offense – he seemingly can’t lose. And so, if he does – particularly if he does so in any sort of spectacular, dramatic fashion – the fallout for him will be considerable.
And he will lose as much – or more – than Garoppolo would gain in victory.