In the first post-Tom Brady Super Bowl (unless he decides to come out of retirement AGAIN), the future looks bright for the NFL. Several of the Super Bowl LVII odds are centered on the matchup between Kansas’ Patrick Mahomes and Philadelphia’s Jalen Hurts. Both quarterbacks lead the way for the Super Bowl LVII MVP betting odds with Mahomes just edging it though that could change during the game. In this post, we will look at the contest of Patrick Mahomes VS Jalen Hurts, is this the future of the NFL?
Context of the Match-Up
During Super Bowl XXII, history was made by Doug Williams. As the first black quarterback to start the game, he also became the very first black quarterback to win the Super Bowl. Williams led the Washington Redskins to a comprehensive 42-10 victory over the Denver Broncos which included a stupefying 35-point performance in the second quarter.
Williams’ masterful performance was a watershed moment for the league and black men in the sport. Before Super Bowl XXII, black quarterbacks were largely sent to play in other, less responsible positions. Either due to the those at the top of the NFL believing that black players did not have the smarts to play as quarterbacks, or not strong enough leaders.
History will be made again for Super Bowl LVII when both teams will be led by a black quarterback. That both teams will have a black quarterback as the face of the team is also a telling step forward for the future of the NFL. Of course, both quarterbacks have earned their place in each respective team yet it does help counter any remaining anti-black bias, especially considering quarterbacks.
Current Achievements of Both Quarterbacks
Both quarterbacks ride into the Super Bowl full of confidence. Jalen Hurts has enjoyed a breakthrough coming-of-age season that has led the Philadelphia Eagles all the way to Arizona. That’s progress enough but compared to Mahomes, Hurts has some way to go. Mahomes has already won the Super Bowl yet if both quarterbacks carry on their current trajectories, the future does look good for the NFL and signifies significant progress.
Prospects for Both Quarterbacks
For some players, specifically quarterbacks, reaching a Super Bowl should be a milestone yet that seems to be just part of the journey for Mahomes and Hurts. Some have already anointed Mahomes as the NFL’s new GOAT, especially since Brady retired. However, Mahomes did not arrive on the scene until the draft back in 2017. That he has already won a Super Bowl, and been AFC Champion three times should be testament to his skill, but having won a Divisional Round against the Jacksonville Jaguars largely on one leg shows that he can go even further.
You could simply judge Patrick Mahomes’ season so far based on numbers, pretty undeniable ones too at 5,250 yards and 41 touchdowns. Something changed against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Where some players may have avoided the responsibility in the face of injury, Mahomes drove his team forward on one leg. Mahomes does have the numbers to back up the hype, he can also inspire his team to great heights.
For Hurts, the journey to the Super Bowl has been an arduous one. He has faced doubts from the very beginning, as a second-round draft pick from 2020. Then there were questions for why he was even picked as the Philadelphia Eagles still had Carson Wentz on their roster. Even at the start of this season, a few outside observers still remained unconvinced that he should even start.
Sure, compared to Mahomes, Hurts’ 3,700 yards is not in the same league. But there is more to football than just sheer numbers, even if they are helpful for calculating betting odds. Hurts excels at efficiency, he has substantially fewer throws than Mahomes and it worked for the Philadelphia Eagles, particularly due to his ridiculously low interception rate of 1.3%. On the occasions when Hurts did throw, he made it count as an 8.0 yards per attempt stat proves, second only to… guess who, Mahomes, with 8.1.
What Mahomes and Hurts Represent
Aside from having two black quarterbacks in a Super Bowl, Mahomes and Hurts represent so much more for the future of the NFL. Mahomes has shown how he can shoulder the responsibility of his team, even while suffering an injury which is a feature that does not get represented in any statistic. Hurts has demonstrated how consistency is key with few turnovers and few chances for barnstorming comebacks as the Philadelphia Eagles were so rarely behind.
While Mahomes is top of the throwing charts, Hurts can dominate when running the ball showing how diverse and devastatingly effective a quarterback can be at both facets of the game. That may mean that more quarterbacks become top of the throwing stats specialists like Mahomes while others become more rounded. Perhaps there is room for great quarterbacks that go beyond mere statistics.
Few could deny that both Patrick Mahomes and John Hurts come into the Super Bowl representing the future of the NFL. While it may prove difficult to judge who has had the better season, both quarterbacks are the fresh faces of promise for the league. Both teams can be said to rely on their quarterbacks and if that’s the case then expect the franchises with Mahomes and Hurts at the helm to excel.
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