Super Bowl LVII: Jalen Hurts and Patrick Mahomes collide in a matchup for the ages

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Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, right, and Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts speak to the media during the NFL football Super Bowl 57 opening night, Monday, Feb. 6, 2023, in Phoenix. The Kansas City Chiefs will play the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

Throughout most of the 2022 season, Jalen Hurts and Patrick Mahomes were at the center of the football universe. Hurts, after an inconsistent 2021, has evolved into the most dangerous triple-threat quarterback in the game. Mahomes came into the season with the spotlight on him, just as he does every season.

These two played the best football out of anybody, and will likely finish first and second on the MVP ballot. Both players have overcome obstacles to become the youngest pair of starting quarterbacks in Super Bowl history. In a battle of elite offenses, the quarterback who performs the best will likely hoist the Lombardi Trophy.

The Best of the NFC vs the Best of the AFC

Hurts and Mahomes is one of the most exciting Super Bowl matchups in recent memory. Both quarterbacks have won 16 games this year, including the playoffs. Mahomes has started every game, with a 16-3 record, while Hurts is 16-1, having missed those two games towards the end of the year. Availability isn’t usually a problem for either player, but they are banged up coming into this game. Hurts is still working through the shoulder injury that has limited him somewhat through the air for the last month.

Patrick Mahomes suffered a high ankle sprain in the divisional round against the Jaguars. At first, it looked like his season was done when he limped off the field, but he has come back and been able to manage the pain while still being effective. Both players are as tough as they come, so no matter what I don’t see injuries having much effect on their game, especially after 2 more weeks of rest. 

Statistically speaking, Mahomes does hold the edge in most categories, but that does not diminish Jalen Hurts’ ability in any way. Through the air, Patrick Mahomes is the most dangerous player in football. He threw for a career-high 5,250 yards, as well as 41 touchdowns to 12 interceptions. Despite the lack of a true number 1 wide receiver, Mahomes was able to average over 300 passing yards per game to lead the league, completing 435 of 648 attempts, good for a completion percentage of 67.1%.

Jalen Hurts was less prolific through the air but was just as effective when he did throw it. He amassed 3,701 yards, with 22 touchdowns compared to 6 interceptions. Hurts only averaged 246 yards per game, but the Philadelphia offense operates much differently than Kansas City’s.

The foundation of everything the Chiefs do comes from being able to pass the ball effectively. To contrast, the Eagles’ offense is fundamentally built around running the football, so Jalen Hurts wasn’t given the opportunity to throw the ball as much. He completed 306 of his 460 pass attempts for a similar completion percentage of 66.5.

The difference Hurts

The place where Jalen Hurts pulls ahead of Patrick Mahomes is in the running game. Hurts more than doubled Mahomes on the ground, with 760 yards compared to 358. In addition to his 22 touchdown passes, Hurts scored 13 rushing touchdowns, which led to him breaking the Eagles’ single-season total touchdown record with 35. While Mahomes can run, he doesn’t have the pure strength and athleticism Jalen Hurts has to make him a true dual-threat quarterback. He also may be the best ever at QB sneaks.

No matter how the Super Bowl plays out, these quarterbacks will perform. Their statistics are different but they dominate the game equally. Patrick Mahomes is deadly when he can move out of the pocket and scramble to find receivers downfield. Jalen Hurts is lethal when he leaves the pocket because he can gash you on the ground. Both quarterbacks want to cement their legacies and neither one will back down from the challenge.

AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin