There was a regular-season shootout and a playoff masterpiece the first season that Patrick Mahomes and Tom Brady met on a football field.
Brady came out ahead in those two meetings, but Mahomes has gotten the edge the past two times they met.
Now as they are set to meet on football’s biggest stage of the Super Bowl, it’s time to look back at those first four games when they shared a field.
While their teams split those contests, Mahomes has put up the better numbers with his 109.2 passer rating and 11-3 touchdown to interception ratio outpacing Brady’s 86 rating with six TDs and five interceptions.
But the matchup features the most accomplished quarterback ever to play the game who is still thriving at age 43 in Brady against the young gun who is rewriting record books at age 25.
“Could you imagine if Michael Jordan had gotten his team to the (NBA) Finals when he was older against a young LeBron James?” CBS game analyst Tony Romo said. “It would be the greatest thing in the history of sports. ... I think we actually might have that game.”
Here’s a look at the past meetings between Brady and Mahomes:
Chiefs 27, Bucs 24 at Tampa, Nov. 29, 2020: Mahomes and Tyreek Hill jumped all over Tampa Bay early with TD passes of 75 and 44 yards in the first quarter. Hill had seven catches for 203 yards in the first period, the third-most yards in any quarter for a player in the past 40 years. Mahomes added a 20-yard TD pass to Hill in the third quarter to make it a 17-point game. Mahomes threw for 462 yards and three TDs, with Hill leading the way with 13 catches for 269 yards.
Brady threw two TD passes in the fourth quarter to cut the deficit to three points with 4:10 to play, but Mahomes then ran for two first downs and converted another on a third-down pass to Hill that iced the game.
“I learned a long time ago, you don’t give Tom Brady another shot,” Chiefs coach Andy Reid said. “That’s why he’s the G.O.A.T. So, don’t give them the ball back. That was the mindset there.”
Chiefs 23, Patriots 16 at New England, Dec. 8, 2019: Mahomes and the Chiefs clinched the AFC West and snapped New England’s 21-game home winning streak. Mahomes injured his hand on the second drive of the game yet finished with 283 yards passing and a TD.
Brady struggled, going 19 of 36 for 169 yards, a touchdown and interception. Bashaud Breeland sealed the win when he knocked away Brady’s fourth-down pass attempt to Julian Edelman in the end zone with just over a minute to play.
“You want to beat the best,” Mahomes said. “You want to go out and play against the best and give your best effort. It wasn’t pretty the whole time. It was just a tough, hard-fought win.”
Patriots 37, Chiefs 31, OT, at Kansas City, Jan. 20, 2019: The only previous postseason meeting between the star QBs was a classic, with Brady and the Patriots coming out victorious in overtime in the AFC title game to set up his sixth championship.
The Patriots took a 14-0 halftime lead when Brady connected on a 29-yard strike to Phillip Dorsett in the final minute of the second quarter. New England was up 17-7 after three, setting the stage for a dramatic fourth quarter that featured five TDs and one field goal.
Mahomes threw two touchdowns to Damien Williams to give Kansas City the lead before the Patriots responded with a 75-yard TD drive to go back ahead 24-21 with 3:32 to go.
Mahomes put the Chiefs back ahead with a quick TD drive and the Chiefs appeared headed to the Super Bowl when Charvarius Ward intercepted Brady with just over a minute to play. But Dee Ford had lined up offside and Brady capitalized with a 25-yard pass to Rob Gronkowski on the next play to set up Rex Burkhead’s go-ahead 4-yard TD with 39 seconds left.
Mahomes responded with two deep passes to set up a tying field goal, but the Chiefs lost the coin toss and Brady led New England 75 yards against an exhausted defense for the winning score.
“Overtime, on the road against a great team,” Brady said. “They had no quit. Neither did we. We played our best football at the end. I don’t know, man, I’m tired. That was a hell of a game.”
Patriots 43, Chiefs 40, at New England, Oct. 14, 2019: The first meeting between Brady and Mahomes was a shootout, with Brady staking the Patriots to a 24-9 halftime lead.
Mahomes responded with four TD passes in the second half and gave the Chiefs the lead with a 75-yarder to Tyreek Hill with 3:03 to play.
Brady responded with a 65-yard drive including a 16-yard pass to James White and 39-yarder to Gronkowski. That set up Stephen Gostkowski’s winning field goal on the final play that gave Brady his record 200th victory as a starting QB.
“It’s tough to slow those guys down, they’ve been scoring a lot of points all year,” Brady said. “They’re gonna be pretty tough to stop. Glad we had our last shot and glad we took advantage of it.”