With the full release of the NFL Top 100 players of 2020 list, many are questioning some of the rankings of certain players. In particular, the placement of Super Bowl 54 MVP Patrick Mahomes and 2019 MVP Lamar Jackson.
Mahomes wound up taking 4th, and Jackson landed the number 1 spot as the best player going into the 2020 season. Is this ranking fair considering Mahomes also won the league MVP two years ago and brought home the Lombardi Trophy, or was Lamar’s breakout season too recent not to push him ahead?
Either way, both Jackson and Mahomes deserve a place in the Top 5 considering they are the newest members of the NFL’s elite class of QBs. However, the true way to see who is more dominant is by comparing the MVP seasons of both players. Mahomes winning in 2018 and Lamar in 2019, let’s analyze each QB’s MVP-winning regular season to see who is better.
Patrick Mahomes’ 2018 MVP-winning Regular Season
Patrick Mahomes’ MVP-winning season back in 2018 was something no one could have expected. While Mahomes certainly had a talent for throwing the pig skin before the NFL, he was seen by many, including myself, to be just another QB with a big arm. How wrong we were! Mahomes lit up the scene as early as Week 1 against the Chargers, throwing for 256 yards and 4 touchdowns. He repeated in Week 2 against the Steelers slinging 326 yards and 6 touchdowns without throwing an interception in either game.
Mahomes would continue his onslaught with no interceptions until Week 5 against the Jaguars where he threw for 313 yards, no touchdowns, and 2 picks. Despite managing a win, Mahomes rebounded for the rest of the season throwing at least 2 touchdowns in every game following.
Helping his Kansas City Chiefs to a 12-4 season, Mahomes would finish 2018 with stats second year QBs could only dream of achieving. He ended 383 for 580 (66% completion percentage, 16th in NFL), with 5,097 passing yards (2nd in NFL), 50 touchdowns (1st in NFL), 12 interceptions (tied for 12th in NFL), 8.8 yards per attempt (2nd in NFL), 113.8 passer rating (2nd in NFL), 272 rushing yards, and 2 rushing touchdowns.
Mahomes’ 2018 season was simply extraordinary considering it was his second year in the NFL and his first season as a starter. There is a reason Patrick Mahomes is considered by many to be the best QB in the NFL right now. He can throw downfield better than most and while remaining somewhat mobile and not being a scramble-first QB. Accompanying terrific stats, Mahomes also had tremendous plays including crazy sidearm throws and no-look passes. Patrick Mahomes’ 2018 MVP season was just meant to be.
Lamar Jackson’s 2019 MVP-winning Regular Season
Being the successor to Patrick Mahomes’ MVP season, Lamar Jackson in some ways had a similar year to Mahomes. It was his second season, he lit up the league as soon as Week 1, and threw many touchdowns with a small number of interceptions. In addition to this, nobody expected Jackson’s jump from year 1 to year 2 to be as big as it was.
Opening up against Miami, one of the worst teams at the time, Jackson fired away all game long accumulating 324 passing yards and 5 touchdowns. Jackson would repeat in Week 2 against the Cardinals with 272 passing yards, 2 touchdowns, and 120 rushing yards. Jackson was off to a hot start which would continue till Week 5 vs. the Steelers where he would throw for 161 yards, 1 touchdown, and 3 interceptions. Similar to Mahomes’ 2018 season, Jackson would not look back on this performance acquiring at least 1 passing or rushing touchdown in every game after Week 5.
Jackson would end the 2019 regular season with a 14-2 record leading the Ravens to a #1 seed in the AFC. Lamar’s stats were especially revered considering he beat Michael Vick’s single season rushing record for a QB. He finished 265 for 401 (66.1% completion percentage, 9th in NFL), with 3,127 passing yards (22nd in NFL), 36 touchdowns (1st in NFL), 6 interceptions (tied for 27th in NFL), 7.8 yards per attempt (tied for 11th in NFL), 113.3 passer rating (3rd in NFL), 1,206 rushing yards, and 7 rushing touchdowns.
Lamar Jackson’s 2019 MVP-winning regular season was tremendous to say the least, and is one of the defining examples of what it means to be a dual-threat QB. Accompanying record breaking rushing totals, Jackson was a tremendous passer which some seem to forget. Only throwing 6 interceptions is no easy feat no matter who you’re playing. Along with great stats, Jackson’s flashy rushing plays and the ability to make an NFL defense look silly is what truly earned him MVP.
While both Patrick Mahomes and Lamar Jackson had incredible MVP seasons, who had the better campaign? Some would say Mahomes had the better season as 50 passing touchdowns is rarely achieved in a single season, and only 7 other QBs in NFL history have thrown for 5,000+ yards in a single season. Yet, some say Jackson had the better season due to achieving above average passing stats in addition to record setting rushing stats making him one of the best rushing QBs in NFL history next to Michael Vick.
Depending on which aspect of play someone values more, the debate of which QB is better will have to be put on hold. Until we see both QBs’ careers unfold completely, it is hard to make a definitive call. Despite this, it is clear Mahomes is the better overall passer, and Jackson is the superior dual-threat QB.
The battle for best QB in the league will continue between these two studs on Week 3 this coming September at M&T Bank Stadium.