Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes had such a spectacular season in 2018 that it’s hard not to wonder if anyone, even the uber-talented Mahomes, could possibly play at the same level in 2019.
Mike Clay of ESPN laid out the statistical case for why regression toward the mean is likely after the kind of outlier season Mahomes had last year: Mahomes was in the Top 15 seasons in NFL history with 13.3 yards per completion, 8.8 yards per pass and 8.6 percent of his passes going for touchdowns. Every other quarterback who has had a season in the Top 15 in any of those statistical categories has declined the following year.
It’s also inevitable that defensive coordinators facing the Chiefs will spend much of the offseason planning new wrinkles to throw at him. He won’t catch anyone by surprise this season. And with Tyreek Hill‘s status still in question, Mahomes may be without his best receiver.
The closest comparison to Mahomes may be Dan Marino, who in 1984 had a similarly spectacular season in his second year in the NFL. Marino was still a good quarterback the following year, but not as good: He threw for 947 fewer yards, 18 fewer touchdowns and four more interceptions in 1985. It’s easy to picture Mahomes likewise being good in 2019 — but not as good as he was in his MVP season in 2018.