Rozner: Brady vs. Mahomes is a Super Bowl gift

  • It'll be the best of all time and the best of today when quarterbacks Tom Brady and Patrick Mahomes lead Tampa Bay and Kansas City in Sunday's Super Bowl.

    It'll be the best of all time and the best of today when quarterbacks Tom Brady and Patrick Mahomes lead Tampa Bay and Kansas City in Sunday's Super Bowl. Associated Press

  • Tom Brady sizes up the Bears' defense in the first half of New England's romp Dec. 12, 2010, at Soldier Field.

    Tom Brady sizes up the Bears' defense in the first half of New England's romp Dec. 12, 2010, at Soldier Field. Associated Press

 
 
Updated 2/5/2021 11:08 AM

Patrick Mahomes stands as a symbol of NFL greatness, that which you have already seen and that which you will watch for many years to come.

He also serves as the most gutting reminder of all that is wrong with the local football team, the one from Lake Forest that treats projects and reaches as Hall of Famers and superstars.

 

Scouting is an afterthought when you can rely on a special knowledge that only the Bears possess -- and that is how you miss out on a Patrick Mahomes.

But here's where you take a deep breath, crack open a cold one and enjoy this Super Bowl Sunday for what it is, the meeting of the GOAT and the GOT (Greatest of Today).

Mahomes vs. Tom Brady is a treat, despite the aggravation of the Bears' missed opportunity, and -- for some -- of Brady's repeated appearance in this game.

Funny how LeBron James appearing annually in the NBA Finals brings only cheers, but more Brady in the title game brings knives from those bored with his domination.

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Whatever.

Regardless of the outcome Sunday, this is the kind of matchup that will be remembered for decades, the way many still think of Terry Bradshaw vs. Roger Staubach, Joe Montana vs. Dan Marino, John Elway vs. Brett Favre and Brady vs. Russell Wilson.

Hall of Famer vs. Hall of Famer.

While the 25-year-old Mahomes has many chapters to write, the 43-year-old Brady is nearing the end of the book, an extraordinary history that will never be duplicated.

He has the most playoff wins (33) and more than double Montana, who is next on the list. In fact, he has more playoff wins since turning 35 (17) than any other QB has posted in an entire career.

His six Super Bowl victories are a record, and this will be his 10th title start in the last 19 years -- the next most is five -- and he missed one of those seasons with a torn ACL.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Absurd.

His 10 appearances are more than every team other than the Patriots (11), for whom Brady started nine times.

With 14 conference championship games, Brady has been in more than 26 teams. Only the Steelers, Cowboys, Pats and Niners have more conference title games than Brady.

He's been doing this for so long that when he won his first Super Bowl in February 2002, among the things that didn't exist were Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Skype, Square, bitcoin, Uber, Zoom, Tesla, Slack, PayPal, WhatsApp, Gmail, Airbnb, Spotify, Fitbit and the iPhone and iPad.

That's just a taste. The list is obviously much longer.

In that time, the memories he has provided NFL fans will live on as long as the game itself.

But if you'll indulge a personal favorite, it's from a Bears-Pats game at Soldier Field on Dec. 12, 2010.

It was brutal day with wind chills below zero, howling winds and a blizzard to boot. After each three-and-out, Jay Cutler sprinted to the heated bench, complete with ski jacket and hat, while Brady -- after each touchdown -- calmly walked to the sideline. He never took off his helmet and never put on a coat.

The Bears looked entirely miserable. The Patriots were on a business trip.

"We're very comfortable in whatever conditions we have to play in because we practice in it every day," Brady said postgame. "We don't go in our bubble very often. If it snows, we practice in it. If it's windy, we practice. If it rains, we practice.

"They don't cancel football games very often. This isn't baseball. You're out there in the elements and you've got to be mentally tough enough to play in them."

Brady was 27-of-40 for 369 yards and 2 TDs with a QB rating of 113.4. Cutler was 12-of-26 for 152 yards, 2 INTs and a QB rating of 32.9. It was 33-0 at the half, but the game was over much earlier than that. The final was 36-7 in favor of the visitors.

"It's one of those days that people would rather be cozied up near the fireplace, drinking hot chocolate," Brady said. "But we work on Sundays."

We work on Sundays.

For the love of Jack Concannon and all that's holy, how do you compete with that?

"It looked like the weather didn't affect them at all," said Brian Urlacher. "They came in here -- our field, our weather -- and they pounded us. We didn't expect this result."

I asked many of the Bears and Patriots -- including Brady -- about the weather postgame, and though many Bears were baffled, the Patriots were delighted.

"We love this weather," said New England receiver Deion Branch, who had 8 catches for 151 yards. "It kind of looked like (the Bears) were a little uncomfortable."

The Bears' defense was on the field for 39:41, just a few days after Urlacher had said the Bears were the better team.

"They were all bundled up," said New England corner Kyle Arrington. "The guys talked a lot about it this week, how we would enjoy it. We did. We enjoyed the weather."

The Patriots were just so professional, so insistent on embracing the rough conditions, physically and mentally, led by a quarterback who looked, dressed and played the part from start to finish.

You could say much the same about Brady's last two decades, and even if he doesn't win Sunday, against a better team with a better quarterback, there is no questioning his place in the history of the game.

Tom Brady is -- and will always be -- the GOAT.

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