Patrick Mahomes wouldn’t say he wants to play until he’s 45 and maybe longer the way his Super Bowl LV counterpart has, and probably will.
But at 25, Mahomes has plenty of football left and perhaps the time and talent to chase and catch some of Tom Brady’s records.
"I want to play as long as they let me," Mahomes said during a Zoom news conference Monday afternoon.
To that end, he said he will try to follow Brady’s lead in many ways, especially how he’s been able to take care of his body well enough to play at a high level in his 40s.
"You have to," Mahomes said. "If you want to play this sport for a long time, how physical it is, you have to invest as much time in your body as you do anything else."
Mahomes has had a dizzying start to his NFL career. In three seasons as a starting quarterback, he’s played in three AFC Championship Games, has led Kansas City to the Super Bowl the last two years and owns one Super Bowl title, one regular-season MVP and one Super Bowl MVP. Yet he marvels at what Brady has accomplished.
At 43, Brady led Tampa Bay to the Super Bowl in his first season in a uniform other than the Patriots’. It will be his 10th Super Bowl appearance and he’s trying to earn his seventh ring. If Brady leads the Buccaneers past Kansas City on Sunday, he will have more Super Bowl wins than every NFL franchise.
Mahomes was 6 years old when Brady won his first title. He said he always looked up to him and still does.
"If you’re a young athlete and you play any sport and you don’t look up to guys like Tom Brady, then you’re crazy," Mahomes said. "He’s a guy that’s had success year in and year out, continues to make himself better and isn’t satisfied with where he’s at. He’s the type of greatness that you strive to be like when you grow up.
"I grew up watching him play and he’s still here playing and he’s still at the top of the game. I just continue to watch him and watch the things that he does on and off the field in order to figure out the best way to make me the best player possible."
Many believe that if anyone can catch Brady’s ring total, it’s Mahomes. He’s a generational quarterback, playing on an ultratalented team that can compete for a Super Bowl for years if it stays together. It starts with Mahomes, though.
"He works his tail off," All-Pro tight end Travis Kelce said. "You can see he’s accountable with his hard work. And that’s just on the football field.
"Off the field, I don’t know if they make a better human, man.
He makes everybody in the room feel like you’re a part of the family, part of the brotherhood, and it’s fun playing with him. When you got a leader like that, it makes everything easier and everything contagious. You want to bottle it up and you want to play for him."
Still, as great as Mahomes is, he wants to be better and will work to become better. That’s a scary thought when you consider he has gone 25-1 in his last 26 starts and has thrown 60 TD passes and only 12 interceptions.
Mahomes said there’s "a ton" of things Brady does that he would like to emulate, including dissecting defenses before the snap, being able to "move within the pocket and reset my feet" and remain calm and make accurate throws under pressure. Mahomes already is good in these areas, but he will get better with experience the way Brady has.
"As I continue my career, I’m going to try and do whatever I can to watch the tape on him because he’s doing it the right way," Mahomes said. "You can tell by how many Super Bowl championships he has and the rings on his fingers."
Mahomes has one, and he’s far from done.