New England Patriots

FOXBOROUGH, MA - JANUARY 13: Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots runs through the tunnel before the AFC Divisional Playoff game against the Tennessee Titans at Gillette Stadium on January 13, 2018 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)

Now that Tom Brady is retired from playing professional football and headed to the next phases of his life, the landscape of the National Football League is finally looking quite different now that TB12 is no longer around at quarterback. Here are the new realities of the post-Brady NFL…

  • The Chiefs are the new Patriots

    KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI - FEBRUARY 15: Head coach Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes #15 of the Kansas City Chiefs celebrate on stage during the Kansas City Chiefs Super Bowl LVII victory parade on February 15, 2023 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Jay Biggerstaff/Getty Images)

    Jay Biggerstaff/Getty Images

  • The honeymoon’s over. Hopefully, Chiefs fans are ready to manage their persecution complex, because they are now the team to beat and the top of the mountain and the team everyone else hates. People are going to find ways to nitpick and criticize Patrick Mahomes, or his wife, or his brother (although that last one is easy). Travis Kelce will be a good target. Chiefs fatigue will set in.

    If the football world isn’t already sick of the Chiefs and all their success, they most certainly will be if Mahomes keeps getting them to the conference championship or further every year. They are now what the Pats used to be.

  • Mahomes-Burrow is the new Brady-Manning

    AFC Championship - Cincinnati Bengals v Kansas City Chiefs

    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    This analogy would help if Burrow won the Super Bowl two seasons ago, but it’s reasonable to expect that he will find championship success in this era of Bengals football. Burrow has shown enough that he’s passed Josh Allen as Mahomes’ real top rival in the AFC.

    At the moment, Chiefs-Bengals feels like the real Super Bowl, because of these two generational quarterbacks. So, we’re looking ahead to Mahomes vs Burrow the way we used to with Brady and Peyton Manning’s classic battles.

  • Aaron Rodgers is the new elder statesman

    FLORHAM PARK, NEW JERSEY - APRIL 26: New York Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers poses with a jersey during an introductory press conference at Atlantic Health Jets Training Center on April 26, 2023 in Florham Park, New Jersey. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

    Elsa/Getty Images

  • With Brady retired, the 39-year-old Rodgers now takes over as the NFL’s oldest starting quarterback. And he’s easily the QB with the most to gain in the next few years as he heads to the New York Jets. Rodgers is the only QB with a realistic chance to enter the conversation of the top 5-10 who ever played.

    Some may feel Rodgers is already there, but a second Super Bowl championship would launch him into another stratosphere. Brady is no longer the wily veteran to keep in the back of your mind. That’s Rodgers, and putting him on a new team in a massive market will make his narrative that much more intriguing.

  • The Patriots are the new has-beens

    LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - DECEMBER 18: Head coach Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots watches his players, including quarterback Mac Jones #10, warm up before a game against the Las Vegas Raiders at Allegiant Stadium on December 18, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Raiders defeated the Patriots 30-24. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

    Ethan Miller/Getty Images

    Bill Belichick can still turn things around for the post-Brady Patriots, but it’s surely been a rocky ride since 2019, in large part due to Belichick’s own missteps. The Patriots are now the post-dynasty 49ers, Cowboys, Steelers, etc. A team with historic levels of past glory stumbling into a new generation.

    The hiring of Bill O’Brien provides hope that quarterback Mac Jones can turn things around for himself and the offense as a whole, and the Patriots should have good defense and special teams units in 2023, so hope is not all gone. But the Brady-less Patriots are now in a position that they need to reclaim a status they no longer hold.

  • Josh Allen is the new Peyton Manning

    Dec 1, 2022; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen (17) throws the ball under pressure from New England Patriots defensive tackle Davon Godchaux (92) during the first half at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

    Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

    Mahomes-Burrow may be the most apt Brady-Manning comparison, but player-to-player, the Bills’ Josh Allen is the best comparison as a modern-day Manning. Allen is an extraordinary talent who has flashed greatness in some big games, but he has yet to reach the Super Bowl and until he does will continue to face questions about that.

    Allen is at the point that anything less than multiple Super Bowls could be looked at as a career underachievement. Until he and the Bills show more consistent excellence on the biggest stages, they’ll be looked at as more of a regular season team.

  • Bill Belichick is the new Bill Parcells

    LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - DECEMBER 18: Head coach Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots watches his players warm up before a game against the Las Vegas Raiders at Allegiant Stadium on December 18, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Raiders defeated the Patriots 30-24. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

    Ethan Miller/Getty Images

  • Speaking of past glory … Belichick initially tried to point to “the last 25 years” as a reason to have hope for the 2023 Patriots, but soon backtracked in a later report. The Patriots head coach knows as much as anyone – assuming he believes his own philosophies that he espoused publicly – that every year starts anew.

    The fact Belichick won six Super Bowls with Brady has nothing to do with his ability to win with Mac Jones or Bailey Zappe or anyone else. If he can’t get this iteration of the Patriots to take a leap forward from how they looked in 2020-22, he’ll become the elder coach struggling to reach the same heights he had in the past. If he’s not viewed that way already.

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    Matt Dolloff is a writer and podcaster for Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Yell at him on Twitter @mattdolloff and follow him on Instagram @realmattdolloff. Check out all of Matt’s content here.