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Super Bowl 2024: Patrick Mahomes channels inner Derek Jeter, Michael Jordan with these five epic playoff stats

Patrick Mahomes can become the first player in NFL history with three Super Bowl MVPs in his twenties.
The Kansas City Chiefs superstar isn’t on the cusp of more history by accident. Somehow the greatest QB talent in NFL history manages to take his game to an even higher level in the playoffs, resembling some of the greatest playoff performers in sports history.
Here are five things about Mahomes’ playoff resume that will blow your mind and who it should remind you of:
1. Full season worth of playoff games like Jeter
At this point we have enough of a sample size to declare that Mahomes’ playoff numbers are out of this world. He’s made 17 playoff starts, or the equivalent of a full season worth of games.
His numbers in the playoffs: 14 wins, 39 touchdown passes and 4,802 passing yards. It’s even more impressive when you consider these QBs never hit all those marks in any 17-start span in their illustrious careers (regular season or playoffs): Ben Roethlisberger, Philip Rivers, Matt Ryan, Matthew Stafford, Steve Young, Brett Favre, John Elway, Jim Kelly, Troy Aikman, Warren Moon and Johnny Unitas.
Hat tip to Trey Wingo (@wingoz) who said Mahomes is to the NFL what Derek Jeter is to baseball.
Patrick Mahomes playoff career: 17 games, 14-3 record, 39 Pass TD, 7 INT, 4,802 Pass yards
Derek Jeter playoff career: 158 games, .308 average, 20 HR, 200 hits, 111 runs
2. Elevates from regular season to playoffs like ‘Playoff Jimmy’
Mahomes improves his playoff numbers across the board despite more at stake, playing better defenses and in tougher conditions (like one of the coldest games ever).
There’s 35 quarterbacks in NFL history with at least 10 playoff starts. Mahomes is the only one to improve his numbers from the regular season to the playoffs in each of these five categories: win percentage, completion percentage, touchdown percentage, interception percentage and rush yards per game.
So all he does is win more, complete more passes, throw more touchdowns, fewer picks … and run more, when the games matter most. That seems important.
Patrick Mahomes Career Regular Season Playoffs Win pct .771 .824 Comp pct 66.5% 67.4% TD pct 6.1% 6.2% INT pct 1.8% 1.1% Rush yards/gm 20.2 26.9
I say we call him “Playoff Mahomes” just like how NBA players have gotten nicknames, like “Playoff Rondo” or “Playoff Jimmy.”
The latter has made big jumps from the regular season to the playoffs in recent years to earn that nickname. Hat tip to Micah Adams (@MAdamsStatGuy), who pointed out last year that Jimmy Butler is the only player since Michael Jordan retired to improve his numbers from the regular season to the playoffs in: points, rebounds, assists, steals, blocks and effective field goal percentage.
3. Best closer since Jordan
Mahomes’ clutch play resembles the GOAT, Michael Jordan. I always enjoy the debate of who would you want with the ball in their hands at the end of the game.
Well, Patrick Mahomes is the best closer in sports since Michael Jordan.
The Chiefs have had 18 potential game-tying or go-ahead drives in the fourth quarter or overtime in the playoffs with Mahomes. They’ve successfully tied or gone ahead on TWELVE of those drives. That’s good for a preposterous conversion rate of 67 percent, which is the best by any QB since the turn of the century — way ahead of Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers, who are tied for second at 53 percent.
Mahomes has an NFL-playoff record three game-tying or go-ahead drives in the final minute of regulation. The best of which was the drive to force OT vs. the Bills that began with 13 seconds left. That was the latest start for a game-tying or go-ahead drive in playoff history and led to Kansas City’s 42-36 divisional-round win.
The parallels to Jordan? Forget the six Finals MVPs or that fact that he never went to a Game 7 in the Finals. Looking strictly at closing time, M.J. was 9 of 18 on game-tying or go-ahead shot attempts in the final 24 seconds of a game in his playoff career. Fifty percent! Kobe Bryant (25 percent) and LeBron James (37 percent) can’t touch that 50/50 split. Neither can any other MVP in recent memory: Kevin Durant (26 percent), Stephen Curry (24 percent), James Harden (27 percent), Tim Duncan (29 percent), Dirk Nowitzki (39 percent) or Steve Nash (23 percent).
Jordan hit two series-clinching buzzer-beaters: “The Shot” over Craig Ehlo in 1989 and another against the Cavaliers in 1993. He scored or assisted on five makes in the final 10 seconds of series clinchers, including his iconic crossover and jumper vs. Bryon Russell in Game 6 of the 1998 NBA Finals.
And a bonus comparison: Mahomes has been ring-blocking like Jordan. M.J. is one reason that Charles Barkley, John Stockton, Karl Malone, Patrick Ewing and Reggie Miller (among others) never won a ring.
Here are the six QBs Mahomes has beaten during his six-game playoff win streak: Trevor Lawrence, Joe Burrow, Jalen Hurts, Tua Tagovailoa, Josh Allen and Lamar Jackson. Someday we may look back at how Mahomes blocked some of his closest contemporaries from ever winning.
4. Comeback king like Brady
There’s rarely been a playoff deficit Mahomes couldn’t come back from. Mahomes is 4-2 in his playoff career when trailing by at least 10 points, while the rest of the NFL in 8-55 (.127 win percentage) since 2018.
Also consider that the collection of Kurt Warner, Steve Young, Jim Kelly, Aaron Rodgers and Peyton Manning were 4-30 in their playoff careers down by 10-plus points.
The only QB with more double-digit comeback wins in the playoffs is Tom Brady, who was 6-8 in those spots. The notable ones: a 28-3 comeback in Super Bowl LI vs. the Falcons, the 2017 AFC Championship vs. the Jaguars (down 10 in the fourth quarter) and a double-digit, fourth-quarter comeback in Super Bowl XLIX vs. the Seahawks.
5. Flawless like Tiger
Mahomes’ playoff numbers continue to rise because he has been virtually flawless in the last two postseason runs. He has gone six straight starts without an INT, the longest streak by a QB in playoff history. During that run he had a three-game streak with no sacks or turnovers, also a playoff record.
Tiger Woods comes to mind when I think of consistency and mistake-free streaks in sports. He holds or ties the PGA TOUR record for consecutive cuts made at the Masters (23), major events (39) and all events (142). His streak at the Masters is tied with Gary Player and Fred Couples for the longest ever. He could set the mark in April.
Add it all up and it’s no wonder why Patrick Mahomes is on a GOAT trajectory and already one of the best playoff performers in sports history.

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