Which QB Benefits The Most From Winning Super Bowl LV?
There’s been no shortage of storylines and drama during the 2020-21 NFL season, and over the next couple of weeks, the battle for Super Bowl LV will be fought between four of the very best quarterbacks in the league.
In many ways, quarterback play has defined this unforgettable season, with the league’s most celebrated position only entrenching its standing in the modern game.
In fact, this year’s MVP discussion has been completely hijacked by quarterbacks. From Russel Wilson, to Kyler Murray, to Deshaun Watson, it seems like every couple of weeks a new name gleefully accepted the baton, while the likes of Baker Mayfield and Alex Smith also authored remarkable campaigns, albeit at vastly different ends of their careers.
And so, we're down to the final four. Tom Brady, Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen and Aaron Rodgers will jump into the ring this weekend, all vying to be the last man standing at the end of a famous season.
So who has the most to gain with just two matches remaining? Let’s take a look.
Thomas Edward Patrick Brady Jr is a man who needs no introduction. Six Super Bowl victories, 14 Conference Championship appearances, three MVP awards, it’s not as though 'TB12' has anything more to prove at the ripe old age of 43….. Yet try telling him that.
What could a player who's almost universally recognised as the greatest to ever lace up a pair of football cleats possibly gain from reaching his tenth Super Bowl, and lifting a seventh Lombardi trophy?
Well, he can once and for all dispel any ridiculous notions that he was something of a “system” QB in New England, reliant on Hall of Fame coach Bill Belichick along with some pretty outrageously good defences. To say nothing of having one of the greatest tight ends of all-time in Rob Gronkowski as his personal security blanket.
In his first season in Tampa, Brady's had to make do with a solid, but not spectacular defence, and while Bruce Arians is an exceptional coach, it’s not as though he's had the benefits of the almost two decades of synergy he developed with Belichick.
However, what he has enjoyed in Florida is some excellent offensive line play, with Brady sacked on just 3.4% of his drop-backs this season which was the second best figure in the NFL. He also benefited from Arians’ emphasis on letting it rip, with Brady completing 63 passes of at least 20+ yards this season, while his 4,633 total passing yards represented his best return in eight seasons.
While on the surface yet another Brady Super Bowl mightn't seem like a massive deal, doing so at 43-years years old, and with a franchise as success starved as Tampa Bay, would clearly be yet another feather in the cap of one of sport's greatest ever figures.
Tom Brady has not thrown an INT on the road in his last 368 attempts— PFF (@PFF) January 18, 2021
The longest streak in NFL history 🐐 pic.twitter.com/0nA55IHsrH
Tom Brady has not thrown an INT on the road in his last 368 attempts
The longest streak in NFL history 🐐 pic.twitter.com/0nA55IHsrH
Despite his wildly different play-style, the Kansas City magician may well be the best placed figure in the NFL to one day have a shot at getting within the vicinity of Brady’s extraordinary orbit of success.
In just his third season as a starting quarterback, Mahomes is looking to win his second Super Bowl ring, while doing so would absolutely push him even further along the conveyor belt of greatness.
While Mahomes already has Super Bowl and a league MVP to his name, a defining characteristic of true greatness is unadulterated greed, and you can rest assured the former first-round pick won’t be resting on any of his prior achievements. If this season’s insane 38-6 TD-INT ration wasn’t enough, he completed his passes at a ridiculous 67% clip which is even more impressive when you consider broad range of tricks he attempts.
Josh Allen entered this season with an almighty chip on his shoulder owing to his meandering sophomore season which culminated in a disastrous Wild Card performance last year where he fumbled twice, failed to toss a single touchdown and competed just 24 of his 46 passes in a narrow, overtime loss to the Texans.
Instead, Allen’s response has qualified as one of the most remarkable stories of the season, posting franchise highs for both touchdowns (37) and yards (4,544), while also piloting the most robust attack in Buffalo history which chalked up 501 points.
Getting to a Super Bowl, and perhaps winning one once there, would of course do wonders for the former Wyoming standout, and provide him with the confidence to take his game to an even higher level. Something else it’d help with is his position at the negotiating table, as Allen would look to tear up his current contract and perhaps replace it with a Mahomes-like deal which could well be in the neighbourhood of the $503 million the Chiefs committed to their young phenom.
Josh Allen is the first and only QB out of the 2018 draft class (Mayfield, Darnold, Rosen, Jackson) to make a conference championship game.— Buffalo Bills Daily (@dailybills_) January 17, 2021
Perhaps one of the most intriguing storylines coming into this weekend is Aaron Rodgers’ career arc; A player who’s in the conversation for most talented all-around QB in NFL history, Rodgers has just the solitary Super Bowl victory to his famous name.
Perhaps even more significantly, Rodgers and the Packers have lost the last three conference championships they’ve contested, with their most recent being a comprehensive drubbing at the hands of the 49ers last season.
A fourth failure may indeed sully his legacy, and perhaps keep him permanently out of the discussion where ranking the greatest QB’s to ever play the game is concerned.
On the flip-side, Rodgers has so much to gain from winning it all. With a resume that includes multiple MVPs (he’s the front-runner to win that award again this year) and (potentially) multiple SB wins, you’d be hard-pressed finding a quarterback greater than Rodgers who’s not named Brady or Montana.
Including playoffs this season, Aaron Rodgers has:— 🧀🧀 (@HailRodgers12_) January 18, 2021
1 INT for every 10 TDs. Do y’all realize how crazy that is 👀
That’s my MVP! 🧀 pic.twitter.com/S9XDeZ0DGE
Of these four, who benefits the most from coming out on top? Of the two younger guys, the nod likely goes to Allen.
Mahomes has at least already proven himself on the NFL’s biggest stage, and has many years to add to what could become one mighty resume. For Allen, bursting through from such relative obscurity would be a phenomenal story, while potentially setting him up for a glorious career.
Out of the two veterans, the answer has to be Rodgers. Brady’s accomplished everything he needs to accomplish, while for now, all the golden boy can do is add more space between him and the rest of the field.
Rodgers needs this conference championship win, and he needs this Super Bowl too if he’s to genuinely cement he’s position within the vanguard of untouchable NFL greatness.
Ultimately, it’s Rodgers who has the most riding on the season, with the 37-year old staring in the face of an extraordinary achievement, or yet another wasted, fruitless campaign.
While it would be unfair to suggest that Rodgers is running out of time (after all, he’s six years younger than Brady, who says he’ll play until he’s 50), it’s equally fair to argue he’s definitely on the back-nine of a brilliant career. Nothing is guaranteed in pro-sports, least of all any promises that you’ll get another tilt at the age of 38 and beyond.
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