Kansas City Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes is the eighth different quarterback in NFL history to play the same team twice in the Super Bowl. Tomorrow’s game features the seventh rematch between two teams, the Pittsburgh Steelers and Dallas Cowboys accounting for two.
Mahomes can become the fifth quarterback to beat the same team in the Super Bowl twice. The Steelers’ Terry Bradshaw defeated the Dallas Cowboys and Roger Staubach in 1975 and 1978. Joe Montana and the San Francisco 49ers defeated the Cincinnati Bengals in 1981 and 1988. In consecutive seasons, Troy Aikman’s Dallas Cowboys defeated Jim Kelly’s Buffalo Bills in 1992 and 1993.
Tom Brady’s Super Bowl career featured two rematches that did not go well for him. He lost twice to Eli Manning and the New York Giants in 2007 and 2011. After beating the Philadelphia Eagles in 2004, he lost many years later in 2017 to backup Nick Foles.
The last time Mahomes played the San Francisco 49ers in the Super Bowl, Jimmy Garoppolo started against him in 2019. Garoppolo threw two interceptions as San Francisco blew a two-score, fourth-quarter lead. The Chiefs put up three touchdowns in the final seven minutes, including passes from Mahomes to Travis Kelce and Damien Williams.
Mahomes is already in rare air, and joining the company of Bradshaw, Montana, Aikman, Brady, and Eli Manning hardly tips the scales in an already Hall of Fame career. He enters this Super Bowl tied with Bradshaw for the third-most postseason victories at 14. He is two behind Montana’s 16 and quite distant from Brady’s gaudy mark of 35.
Should the Chiefs win the Super Bowl, Mahomes would then become just the fifth quarterback with three rings as a starter. Bradshaw came first, followed by Montana, Aikman, and Brady. Many ended their careers stuck on two, however, including the Steelers’ Ben Roethlisberger.
Given that Pittsburgh is nowhere near the Super Bowl this year, we might as well reminisce. The Steelers of the 1970s achieved many firsts, including being the first team to three Super Bowls, and then the first to four and the first to repeat as champions against the same team.
What Mahomes and the Chiefs are doing in the Super Bowl is not novel, but that doesn’t make it any less impressive. As many grew weary of the Steelers’ success in the 1970s, the Chiefs are dealing with the same blowback today.
But those who appreciate the game must recognize greatness when it smacks them in the face. Made all the more remarkable is the fact that Mahomes had a “down” year in 2023, yet here he is, back in the Super Bowl for the fourth time in the past five seasons. His grip on history grows ever tighter. All we can do is watch, with varied responses to what we’re seeing.