Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady reacts after winning the NFC championship Jan. 24.
Patrick Mahomes was all of 6 years old when Tom Brady won his first Super Bowl on Feb. 3, 2002 against the St. Louis Rams. The Rams are now in Los Angeles and Mahomes still looks like he is 6 years old.
Brady graduated from Serra High in San Mateo, Calif., four months before Mahomes was born in Tyler, Texas. Mahomes was a 1-year-old (for 11 days) when Brady made his debut for the Michigan Wolverines on Sept. 28, 1996 against UCLA. Mahomes was 13 years old when Brady married Giselle Bundchen in February 2009. And Mahomes will be 25 years old next Sunday when he faces off against a 43-year-old Brady in Super Bowl LV in Tampa.
The 18-year, one-month, 14-day difference in ages is the largest for starting quarterbacks in Super Bowl history. Yes, we fully expect Brady at some point next Sunday to yell at Mahomes, “Get off my lawn,” since the game, after all, is on Brady’s home turf.
Brady has beaten a young quarterback before in the Super Bowl. He was 17 years, two months and 11 days older than Jared Goff two years ago when he beat the Los Angeles Rams. Yes, it was the worst Super Bowl ever played as both Brady and Goff were awful in the 13-3 New England Patriots’ win.
We’ve also seen other old quarterbacks beat young quarterbacks in the Super Bowl. Peyton Manning of the Denver Broncos was 13 years, one month and 17 days older than Cam Newton of the Carolina Panthers five years ago. And the old guy (Manning) won again. Manning, though, was also awful in that game, completing 13-of-23 passes for 141 yards and an interception.
So if Brady wants to win next Sunday it has to be an ugly matchup of two underachieving, struggling quarterbacks wilting under the spotlight. If it’s a quarterback shootout, with plenty of touchdowns and commercials, the young guy with the stamina and energy (not Tom Brady) will win.
If Mahomes beats Brady you will hear and read a lot about how Brady passed the torch of quarterback greatness to Mahomes. The only time that sort of thing happened in Super Bowl history was in Super Bowl III when Joe Namath and the New York Jets beat Earl Morrall and Johnny Unitas of the Baltimore Colts.
Namath was nine years and 14 days younger than Morrall (the Colts starter) and 10 years and 24 days younger than Unitas (the reliever).
But that was more about the established NFL passing the torch to the young AFL than it was about the quarterbacks. If Mahomes beats Brady you can rest assured it will be only about the quarterbacks.
This will be the second time Brady has gone up against an Andy Reid-coached team in the Super Bowl. Brady’s Patriots beat Reid’s Philadelphia Eagles 17 years ago when Brady was 26 years old and Reid was 45 (just two years younger than Brady is now).
The last time a quarterback beat a head coach twice in the Super Bowl was Eli Manning of the New York Giants over Bill Belichick (and Brady) of the Patriots (2008, 12).
The only other times a quarterback beat a coach twice in the Super Bowl was Troy Aikman of Dallas over Marv Levy of Buffalo (1993, 1994) and Terry Bradshaw of Pittsburgh over Tom Landry of Dallas (1976, 1979).
The coaches Brady has beaten in the Super Bowl are Reid, Mike Martz (St. Louis Rams), John Fox (Carolina Panthers), Pete Carroll (Seattle Seahawks), Dan Quinn (Atlanta Falcons) and Sean McVay (Los Angeles Rams).
He’s lost to Tom Coughlin (Giants) twice and Doug Pederson (Philadelphia Eagles) once.
The quarterbacks Brady has beaten are Kurt Warner (St. Louis), Jared Goff (Los Angles), Russell Wilson (Seattle), Donovan McNabb (Philadelphia), Jake Delhomme (Carolina) and Matt Ryan (Atlanta). He’s lost to Manning (Giants) twice and Nick Foles (Philadelphia) once. A win over Mahomes and Reid would be the best Super Bowl coach-quarterback conquest of his career.
The Mountain West’s new COVID-based two-game conference series this year in men’s basketball has made the games a bit predictable. There have been 25 two-game series completed this year (through Wednesday) and 18 of them have resulted in a sweep. The Wolf Pack has been in five series so far and four of them have been sweeps.
In recent years Mountain West teams have played eight two-game conference series during the course of a season and the majority of them also result in two-game sweeps, but not at the nearly 75 percent sweep rate of this year.
The difference this year is that the games are played just two days apart and in the same arena and the rosters are the same for both games.
The Wolf Pack will host UNLV this Sunday and Tuesday. Wolf Pack coach Steve Alford has a long history of breaking the UNLV Rebels’ hearts.
The first time Alford met the Rebels he shredded the evil red empire for 33 points on March 28, 1987 in the NCAA Final Four semifinals in front of a Louisiana Superdome crowd of 64,959. The 22-year-old Alford drained 10-of-19 shots and was 11-of-13 from the line as the Hoosiers beat the No. 1-ranked Rebels of Armon Gilliam, Freddie Banks and Jerry Tarkanian. Indiana would beat Syracuse to win the national title two days later.
“He’s not big, he’s not strong, he’s not quick yet he scores a ton of points,” Knight said after his Hoosiers beat UNLV. “It’s hard to imagine how a kid like that can score like he does. He doesn’t post up, he’s doesn’t get rebound baskets and he doesn’t drive to the basket. He just works like hell to get the open shot.”
Alford, who beat UNLV twice last year in his first season as Pack coach, is 10-7 against UNLV in his coaching career.