Yeah, Brady vs. Manning has nothing on Mahomes vs. Allen


Mahomes-Allen is now NFL’s main event.

Mahomes-Allen is now NFL’s main event.
Image: Getty Images

Surely many of you believe that Kansas City Chiefs vs. Buffalo Bills should’ve been the Sunday Night Football matchup. It’s arguably the two best players and best teams in the league, played in front of a crowd that would be worked up into a lather no matter the weather.

Surely many of you believe that Kansas City Chiefs vs. Buffalo Bills should’ve been the Sunday Night Football matchup. It’s arguably the two best players and best teams in the league, played in front of a crowd that would be worked up into a lather no matter the weather.

However, do remember that four of America’s top-10 television markets are located in the seven-hour stretch of I-95 between Boston and Washington. Combine that with the Dallas Cowboys being the reigning, defending world’s most valuable sports franchise, and both hated and beloved up and down that section of interstate, they get the primetime slot for the big matchup.

While Chiefs vs. Bills has none of the history of Cowboys vs. Philadelphia Eagles, they have the quarterback rivalry for Gen Z. Patrick Mahomes vs. Josh Allen.

The Tom Brady-Peyton Manning matchup was always the most-hyped regular-season matchup of the year when Manning was more famous for having the authority to call a timeout on the field instead of frantically making the motion in his basement. The matchup fed into some easily digestible sports narratives. The prodigy and No. 1-overall pick, with the NFL QB father, against the sixth-round pick, underdog story of underdog stories who can’t help but win Super Bowls.

There was plenty of fanfare, but rarely were the games that compelling — besides of course that time during the 2006 season when football’s ultimate winner surrendered an 18-point lead and ended the game with an interception.

Mahomes vs. Allen is so much different. Since Allen took possibly the biggest leap in quality of play in 2020, this is turning into more of a classic boxing rivalry than football matchup. What Triple G vs. Canelo (sans the most recent fight), Ward vs Gatti, and of course Ali vs Fraizer had was a natural energy. Of course there’s heavy promotion to sell it, but even the viewers at home, or the bar, could feel the magnitude. Then the fight starts and it’s one blow followed by another, the crowd hanging on every swing. It’s sports in its highest form.

Even though the only moment that Mahomes and Allen share on the field together is the postgame handshake, their games, especially the last two, play out like a boxing match. The action is a little slow as they feel each other out, and then boom, one rolls to one side of the field then throws the ball to the other and drops it effortlessly into the wide receiver’s arms.

Now it’s time for the counter. This particular one doesn’t require nearly seven seconds of scrambling, just a big strong guy rearing back and throwing a pass 44 yards in the air for a touchdown, while flat-footed.

Once the pace picks up, it’s big shot after big shot. Both quarterbacks can scramble, but that doesn’t mean they’re always going to take off and run. That being said, when Allen does, a defensive player better be on his toes, have his chin strap buckled, and mouthpiece in. Allen can run through him or around him, or in the case last night, over him, it all depends on what he thinks is most effective. Mahomes on the other hand, will make just enough players miss to reach that ball over the first-down line as he runs out of bounds, or slides.

Of course football is a team sport, and it was one of Allen’s teammates that helped him put the game away on Sunday. Of Mahomes’ last three drives, Von Miller ended the first two with a sack, and the final one was a pressure that resulted in an interception.

Score this fight a victory for Allen, just like their regular-season matchup last season, but Mahomes is still 2-0 in the postseason. There is a strong chance that they will see each other again in January, as they look like the two best teams in the NFL, and the Chiefs hope to not be missing two starting cornerbacks in a future meeting.

As big as Brady vs. Manning was, that just felt like football. Mahomes vs. Allen is something bigger. It’s got more horsepower, a higher wattage, and a piercing decibel level. It’s like Hagler-Hearns trying to knock each other’s heads into fourth row, except they’re doing it by throwing a football.

Energy. Pure, natural, sports, energy.





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