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  • Writer's pictureElijah Southwick

Super Bowl-Winning QBs Are An Endangered Species in Mahomes Era

Updated: Feb 14

Elijah Southwick

Patrick Mahomes is now a three-time Super Bowl champion. His improbable back-to-back Lombardi trophies in 2023 and 2024 have cemented his legacy as an all-time great quarterback. His ascension has been lightning quick. In his unmatched success, he’s left a major problem for the rest of the league’s quarterbacks in his wake.

Mahomes is the league’s only Super Bowl-winning quarterback under the age of 30. And while it’s fair to say that he’s still a young player, he’s already a seven year veteran who will turn 30 at the start of the 2025 season. The league’s list of active Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks is short: Mahomes, Aaron Rodgers, Joe Flacco, Matt Stafford and Russell Wilson. One of these things is not like the others. Mahomes is the only one among them with more than one championship, and Russell Wilson is the youngest among the one-time champions at 35 years old.

The fact of the matter is that Mahomes has made Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks a dying breed in just six seasons as a starter. No quarterback who’s entered the league after Patrick Mahomes has a ring yet. In fact, due to Mahomes and Tom Brady’s combined dominance, Mahomes is the only quarterback drafted after April 27th, 2012, to start and win a Super Bowl. That was the day Russell Wilson and Nick Foles were both drafted in the third round by the Seahawks and Eagles.

Six quarterbacks not named Brady or Mahomes have even made a Super Bowl appearance since the epic Patriots-Chiefs AFC Championship game in 2019. In order, those quarterbacks were Jared Goff, Jimmy Garoppolo, Matt Stafford, Joe Burrow, Jalen Hurts and Brock Purdy. Stafford is the only one who has hoisted the Lombardi in that timeframe, defeating Joe Burrow and the Bengals in 2022.

Aaron Rodgers and Joe Flacco are not long for the league at ages 40 and 39, respectively. Matt Stafford may have several good years ahead of him, but Russell Wilson’s future is uncertain. Anything is possible, but it doesn’t seem likely that any of those quarterbacks will ever win again. That leaves the task of dethroning Mahomes and the Chiefs to the new generation of quarterbacks. 

It’s a generation of extremely talented players. Some are even surrounded by excellent football teams. But other than Joe Burrow, who has handed Mahomes one of his only three career playoff losses in 18 games, it’s a generation of quarterbacks currently defined by postseason failures.

A bigger structural challenge for the ringless is the current balance of power between the NFL’s conferences. The AFC has been a clash of titans since Tom Brady’s arrival in 2001 to the present. The AFC has won 14 of the 23 Super Bowls since the start of Brady’s career, with Peyton Manning and Ben Roethlisberger both winning two each for the AFC during their careers. Today, the inequality of greatness at the quarterback position has only grown wider between the conferences. 

The AFC’s elite talent at quarterback goes deeper than Mahomes, Allen, Burrow and Jackson. C.J. Stroud looks set to be the next big thing at the position for years to come. Justin Herbert has yet to have his moment. Deshaun Watson has been a top five quarterback at times in his career. Tua Tagovailoa just posted a career season, and top draft picks Trevor Lawrence and Anthony Richardson both have bright futures and immense potential. Add in the fact that New England holds the No. 3 overall pick in a class with three top quarterback prospects and the AFC’s riches at quarterback are frankly ridiculous.

On the NFC side, there’s an argument to be made that there are zero elite quarterbacks among the conference’s 16 teams. Jalen Hurts is elite in my opinion, so I disagree with that as an absolute statement. But there is at least an argument to be made. In the next tier of quarterbacks, Brock Purdy, Dak Prescott, Kyler Murray and Jordan Love round out the list of players who have demonstrated their talent and have potentially bright futures ahead of them. But I think as of the end of this season, none of them are definitively elite.

I’m not counting out Justin Fields or Bryce Young yet, but they have a lot of work to do to turn their careers around. The NFC is far more populated with the league’s middle class of quarterbacks. It’s worth noting that the Bears and the Commanders hold the No. 1 and No. 2 picks in the upcoming NFL draft.

There’s already plenty of buzz about Mahomes and the Chiefs completing the league’s first ever three-peat next season. But the reality of the situation is it’s never happened for a reason. In Mahomes’ hands, it seems like nothing is impossible and everything is expected, so a three-peat is probably as real a possibility as ever in the history of the NFL. But Mahomes will not win every Super Bowl from now until the end of time, and one of the league’s young guns is probably most likely to get that next championship.

Unfortunately for the other 31 teams in the league, somebody in the AFC will need to knock off Mahomes in the playoffs to even have a chance at a Super Bowl. And the NFC is nearly devoid of bona fide elite quarterbacks. When the league reclaims the crown from Mahomes and the Chiefs, the story will look much different than the one that’s been written in Mahomes’ first six seasons. And much like the way Brady shut out his contemporaries for the better part of two decades, Mahomes and the Chiefs may only allow their rivals one or two real chances each to repopulate the NFL with Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks.

Elijah Southwick is the lead sports content writer for Degen Magazine. His work has appeared in several news and sports publications.

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