Tom Brady vs. Patrick Mahomes: The key stats you need to know in the NFL’s GOAT debate

Patrick Mahomes is headed back to the Super Bowl.

This was supposed to be the first real down year in the Chiefs’ dynasty, as Kansas City lacked standout receiving talent and Mahomes had his worst season as a starting quarterback. On top of that, the Chiefs were forced to play on the road in the playoffs for the first time in the Mahomes era.

It still didn’t matter. All Kansas City did was shut down the high-powered Dolphins, outlast the Bills in Buffalo, and stifle the No. 1-seeded Ravens in Baltimore to punch its ticket to a second straight Super Bowl appearance and the fourth in five years for Mahomes.

This fourth Super Bowl appearance has fully sparked an early debate for Mahomes: Where does he rank in the GOAT (greatest of all time) conversation? Tom Brady is currently the undisputed GOAT, but Mahomes’ play and postseason success have propelled him into the conversation with Brady.

MORE: Sporting News experts make 49ers vs. Chiefs Super Bowl picks

Where does Mahomes actually stand in the debate with Brady? Here’s what you need to know.

(All stats current as of Jan. 28, 2024)

Tom Brady vs. Patrick Mahomes: Regular season stats

Let’s be clear, Mahomes is nowhere close to Brady in terms of counting stats. Brady is the all-time leader in passing yards, passing touchdowns, completions, attempts, and quarterback wins. 

When it comes to rate stats, Mahomes takes nearly all the edges. Mahomes is the current NFL record holder in yards per game, is second in passer rating, and ranks tied for seventh all-time in yards per attempt — all considerably above Brady, whose larger sample size will bring down those rate stats.

As for rushing, well, anyone who has seen Brady run knows how these numbers will look. To his credit, Brady was a standout quarterback sneaker and did amass a fair amount of rushing yards in his career, but Mahomes is a far more dangerous scrambler.

Tom Brady Stat Patrick Mahomes
335 Games 96
89,214 Passing Yards 28,424
649 Passing TDs 219
212 Interceptions 63
64.3% Completion Percentage 66.5%
251 QB wins 74
7.4 Yards per Attempt 7.9
266.3 Yards per Game 296.1
97.2 Rating 103.5
693 Rush Attempts 374
1,123 Rush Yards 1,936
28 Rush TDs 12

How about over the first seven years of their respective career? Mahomes might not be at Brady’s level in terms of his career just yet — Brady played 23 years in the NFL — but he has gotten off to a considerably better start.

Tom Brady Stat Patrick Mahomes
96 Games 96
21,564 Passing Yards 28,424
147 Passing TDs 219
78 Interceptions 63
61.9% Completion Percentage 66.5%
70 QB wins 74
7.0 Yards per Attempt 7.9
224.6 Yards per Game 296.1
88.4 Rating 103.5
239 Rush Attempts 374
435 Rush Yards 1,936
3 Rush TDs 12

The rest of the career is impossible to compare because Mahomes hasn’t reached that stage yet, but Brady was significantly better over the remaining 16 years of his career than he was over the first seven.

He averaged 283.1 yards per game, 7.5 yards per attempt, completed 65.2 percent of his passes, and had a 502-to-134 touchdown-to-interception ratio (3.7 compared to 1.9 to start his career).

Mahomes is off to a hot start, but finishing like Brady will be a challenge at another level.

Tom Brady vs. Patrick Mahomes: Playoff stats

Brady’s playoff stats would be a standout regular-season career for most quarterbacks, but Mahomes’ postseason run has been impressive, as well. He has never missed a conference championship game as a starter, and he has an impressive 14-3 all-time record in the playoffs.

His stats are good enough that had they been in a 17-game regular season, he’d probably have matched Brady with his third MVP. 

Tom Brady Stat Patrick Mahomes
48 Games 17
1,200 Completions 422
1,921 Attempts 626
62.5% Completion Percentage 67.4%
13,400 Passing Yards 4,802
88 Passing TDs 39
40 Interceptions 7
89.8 Rating 106.3
114 Rush Atts 81
133 Rush Yds 458
7 Rush TDs 5

MORE: Mahomes’ record in the Super Bowl

Tom Brady vs. Patrick Mahomes: Head to head

Football is a team game, but it’s inevitable that when comparing two players, particularly quarterbacks, it’s the head-to-head meetings that are most memorable.

They’ve met in six total games. Mahomes has owned the regular season with a record of 3-1 in those games, but in the playoffs, Brady takes the edge with a perfect 2-0 record that features a win in the AFC championship and a Super Bowl victory.

Neither player tallied a sack, interception, or tackle in the head-to-head meetings to impact how their teams played defensively, but here’s a look nonetheless at how each quarterback performed in the games against one another.

Tom Brady Game Patrick Mahomes
24-35, 340 yds, 1 TD Oct. 14, 2018: Patriots 43, Chiefs 40 23-36, 352 yds, 4 TDs, 2 INTs
30-46, 348 yds, 1 TD, 2 INTs 2019 AFC champ: Patriots 37, Chiefs 31 16-31, 295 yds, 3 TDs
19-36, 169 yds, 1 TD, 1 INT Dec. 8, 2019: Chiefs 23, Patriots 16 26-40, 283 yds, 1 TD, 1 INT
27-41, 345 yds, 3 TD, 2 INTs Nov. 29, 2020: Chiefs 27, Buccaneers 24 37-49, 462 yds, 3 TDs
21-29, 201 yds, 3 TDs Super Bowl 55: Buccaneers 31, Chiefs 9 26-49, 270 yds, 2 INTs
39-52, 385 yds, 3 TDs Oct. 2, 2022: Chiefs 41, Buccaneers 31 23-27, 249 yds, 3 TDs, 1 INT

Tom Brady vs. Patrick Mahomes: Accolades and awards

Brady has more awards and more rings than Mahomes in his career. He also got off to a hotter start in terms of winning rings. However, Mahomes has accomplished more personal accolades early in his career than Brady reached at the same stage.

Brady did not win an MVP until his eighth season in the league. Mahomes, through seven years, already has two MVPs. Brady had only two Pro Bowl nods through his first seven seasons. Mahomes has six.

Again, Brady’s longevity plays a major role in why he’s considered the GOAT, and to this point, he wins handily in the accolades department.

Tom Brady Accolade Patrick Mahomes
7 Super Bowl rings 2
3 MVPs 2
5 Super Bowl MVPs 2
15 Pro Bowls 6
2 OPOY 1

Who’s the GOAT: Tom Brady or Patrick Mahomes?

There are plenty of variables that will be factored into the discussion of who is the NFL’s GOAT. Mahomes will have the benefit of playing in a different era, with new rules in place that are beneficial to quarterbacks. He will also have the added benefit of an extra regular-season game each year to help bolster regular-season passing stats. He’s also playing in more of a Golden Age of Quarterbacks, where there are multiple QBs currently making a case to be his Peyton Manning- or Drew Brees-esque rivals.

Mahomes is off to a hot start, and to make it a conversation this early in his career speaks to the greatness he has displayed. The eye test might say he’s already a more talented quarterback than Brady at any point in his Hall-of-Fame career, but it takes more than skill to be the GOAT. To be considered the greatest of all time, Mahomes still has to build up that resume before he’s ready to really challenge Brady.

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