Let’s get a simple truth out of the way: Patrick Mahomes is the best player in football right now.
Maybe someone does something this season that creates a counterargument, but for now, it’s clear. Mahomes just won Super Bowl MVP honors after carrying his team to a championship one year after dominating his way to an MVP award. His highlight throws are already the stuff of legend. He is the most accomplished player in NFL history through his first three seasons since Jim Brown, which is awfully impressive considering he basically redshirted his rookie season.
The market reflected that fact when the Chiefs gave Mahomes a market-breaking half-billion-dollar contract, a statement that he is not only the most valuable player in football, but will be for several years.
So the top spot of the NFL Top 100, the annual NFL Network poll in which NFL players vote on the 100 best players in football, seemed like a foregone conclusion. After coming in No. 4 last year, a Super Bowl ring would propel Mahomes to the top spot.
And then, well ...
Fourth. Mahomes was voted fourth. Same as last year.
Not only was he voted fourth, but he was also the third-ranked quarterback. Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson was ranked No. 1 while Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson came in at No. 2. Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald finished third.
Obviously, both of those other quarterbacks are extremely good. Wilson single-handedly carried a meager Seattle Seahawks supporting cast to the playoffs this year and Jackson just took home unanimous MVP honors after one of the best regular seasons in NFL history. But this just seems to be a matter of common sense.
No player has coupled regular season and postseason dominance like Mahomes has since the second he took over as starter in Kansas City. No player, save for maybe Jackson, has so clearly required defenses to overhaul themselves lest Mahomes hits Tyreek Hill or Mecole Hardman for a bomb. A Dee Ford offsides penalty might have been all that prevented Mahomes from winning back-to-back rings.
Mahomes appears to be quite aware of this.
No one should expect the NFL Top 100 to be truly objective, as a player electorate will have its biases. What Jackson did last season was unprecedented, but we thought something similar about Mahomes the previous season and then he went out and won the Super Bowl. It just remains baffling that a player with Mahomes’ resume, highlights and presence could be so low in a poll like this, even if it doesn’t really matter.
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