Are you ready to hear something funny? Kansas City Chiefs superstar Patrick Mahomes was not a top-five quarterback in 2021 according to Gregg Rosenthal of “Around the NFL.”
During a postseason top-62 list on the NFL’s website, Rosenthal ordered every quarterback that started a game this year and the Chiefs signal-caller came in at No. 7.
Considering Mahomes is rarely ranked outside the top five, this snub is a bit of a shocker. Granted, the former MVP didn’t have his best campaign but were there six others that were better? Let’s take a look.
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Mahomes Docked for Rocky Start & Abrupt Finish
Before we dive into this ranking, here is why Rosenthal put Mahomes at No. 7 in his own words:
This is a ranking based on this season alone. If I was picking one quarterback for next season, the next five seasons or the next 10 seasons, I’d take Mahomes. But this was an uneven Mahomes campaign. It was less of a roller coaster for the regular season (like Josh Allen’s) and more consistently ragged, mostly efficient ball with a few too many turnovers early and too few big plays, until the end. Let’s talk about that end.
Mahomes entered the Matrix for 10 nearly flawless playoff quarters, and then he became the primary reason the Chiefs self-immolated in the AFC Championship Game. He was set to reach another level, and I could not be more surprised by how suddenly and swiftly he fell.
The Chiefs star finished third in this order for the 2020 season and second in 2019 according to the article. His only first-place finish was noted in 2018.
If you’re big on trends, you’ll notice Mahomes has steadily dropped before this somewhat harsh fall in 2021. The question is — does he deserve it?
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The Top 6 QBs According to Rosenthal
Rosenthal made it clear that if he’s deciding on his QB of the future, he’d take Mahomes every time — so we can’t be too hard on him but there are still a few head-scratchers in the present. Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers are a fair one and two in whichever order, being that they were the main MVP finalists this season.
Then he put Josh Allen at three. Coin toss or not, Mahomes eliminated Allen head-to-head in the “grim reaper game.” He also had better regular-season statistics.
For all the criticism he gets about his turnovers, Mahomes actually finished with fewer interceptions on the year than Allen (13 compared to 15). The Chiefs QB also had more passing yards, one more passing TD and an extra win. Aside from rushing numbers, Mahomes was better across the board in this comparison.
No. 4 is even more of an insult, being that it’s AFC West rival, Justin Herbert. Don’t get me wrong, the rising talent had a phenomenal sophomore season but he was unable to finish greater than third in the division.
Rosenthal blamed his defense for that and while he’s not wrong, Herbert’s numbers are on par with Mahomes’. The Chargers youngster does have him beat by a narrow margin in passing yardage and touchdowns (one more TD), but Mahomes threw fewer interceptions, had a greater completion percentage and ran the ball more successfully.
This one is neck and neck but it’s hard to choose a non-playoff QB over the signal-caller that’s been to four-straight AFC championship games.
Finally, Matthew Stafford and Joe Burrow round out the top six. Unfortunately, I would have to agree that Burrow deserves a place above Mahomes being that he bested him twice. The Bengals QB also had tremendous numbers despite playing behind one of the worst offensive lines in football.
I can’t get behind Stafford though. Rosenthal admitted that he “struggled to sort out the QB ranks from Nos. 3-7,” noting that he gave Stafford “extra credit for playing so well in the playoffs.”
The problem with that is, you’re giving Herbert and Burrow points for elevating their squad but not taking some away from Stafford for having one of the top supporting casts? That doesn’t quite match up.
We get it, Mahomes is no longer the hot new quarterback name in the NFL, and sometimes that causes people to downplay his success. Despite the public narrative though, Mahomes had another incredible campaign for Kansas City.
My 2021 top-seven would be Rodgers, Brady, Burrow, Mahomes, Allen, Herbert, and Stafford — but hey, things could be worse. After all, Rosenthal dropped early-season MVP favorite, Lamar Jackson, down to 14th overall.