Drew Brees: check.
Aaron Rodgers: check.
Patrick Mahomes: up next.
Tom Brady already has six Super Bowl rings in his overflowing trophy case. But he’s never needed to navigate a quarterback gauntlet quite like the one he’s faced this postseason.
In fact, if Brady’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers can defeat Mahomes’ Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LV on Feb. 7, he’d become just the second QB in history to take down three Super Bowl-winning signal-callers in a single championship run.
The only one to do so: Brees, who beat Kurt Warner, Brett Favre and Peyton Manning in the 2009 playoffs to win Super Bowl XLIV.
The version of Brees that Brady faced in this year’s divisional round was clearly diminished — he tossed three ugly interceptions in a 30-20 New Orleans Saints loss and is expected to retire — but Rodgers and Mahomes are likely to finish 1-2 in NFL MVP voting for this season. No quarterbacks were better in 2020 than those two.
Brady, who also dispatched Washington Football Team backup Taylor Heinicke in the wild-card round, faced a total of four Super Bowl-winning QBs during his six title runs with the New England Patriots:
(Manning and Mahomes had yet to win championships when they lost to Brady’s Patriots.)
Brady threw three second-half interceptions Sunday’s NFC Championship win over the Green Bay Packers but preceded them with three first-half touchdowns, including a 39-yard bomb to Scotty Miller with one second left before halftime. He completed 20 of 36 passes for 280 yards as Tampa Bay won 31-26 to advance to its first Super Bowl since 2002.
It’ll be the 10th Super Bowl for Brady, who played in nine during his 20 seasons with the Patriots. At 43 years old, he’ll become the oldest player ever to play in a Super Bowl, breaking the record currently held by Indianapolis Colts kicker Matt Stover (42).
Oh, and all three of Brady’s victories this postseason have come on the road, nearly equaling his total from his entire Patriots tenure (four road playoff wins).
To earn his seventh Lombardi Trophy, Brady will need to get past the defending champion Chiefs — and Mahomes, last year’s Super Bowl MVP.
The 25-year-old Mahomes recovered from a divisional-round concussion to light up the Buffalo Bills in the AFC Championship Game, throwing for 325 yards and three touchdowns with no turnovers in a 38-24 win.
“Being able to go up against one of the greatest — if not the greatest — quarterback of all time in his 150th Super Bowl, it’s going to be a great experience for me,” Mahomes joked after the game.