The answer is simple.
As much as some “diehard” football fans claim to love defensive struggles, there’s nothing better than watching guys like these two tear up defenses with their incredible athleticism and smarts. It’s one thing to be physically gifted in a way others aren’t, but when you add their intelligence, the game slows down for them. Mahomes and Jackson are two of the most lovable players in the league because of this.
People love Mahomes because he can throw the ball to the moon, and Jackson’s electric speed and flick of the wrist to get the ball down the field are things that the next generation of NFL players will try to emulate.
That makes it hard to root for one over the other. Personally, I want to see both of these young, black quarterbacks cook when the ball kicks off Sunday at 1 p.m. ET. It’s one of those events like when the Williams sisters play in a grand slam. You hate to see one lose, but it has to happen.
So let’s figure out who to pull for.
WHY YOU SHOULD ROOT FOR PAT MAHOMES
1. He could end up becoming the best quarterback ever. Who doesn’t want to see that? Mahomes is a thrilling, generational player just at the beginning of his career, and he doesn’t play for a painfully annoying franchise (I’m not naming names; not interested in your emails). It’s hard to imagine a world where he repeats the numbers he put up in 2018 (5,097 passing yards and 50 touchdowns) for the next 15 years that he put up in his first year as a starter, but he also did that at 23 years old!
He’s going to get better, right? He’s young, and probably still has a lot to learn as a pro. At the very worst, he could remain the same. That seems not bad at all.
2. He might be the league’s most exciting quarterback when he’s hot. In case you missed the second quarter of the Chiefs’ game last week, Mahomes had a full game’s worth of stats. He had four touchdown passes, the shortest a 27-yarder to Travis Kelce. He also had 278 yards passing, the second-most in a single quarter over the last 40 seasons according to ESPN Stats & Info. The ball was moving well, which tends to happen when he’s playing football. He’s football’s version of Steph Curry: when he’s on fire, the other team looks absolutely helpless.
In Week 11 against the Rams last season in the best NFL regular-season game to ever be played, he was 33-of-46 passing for 478 yards, six touchdowns, and three interceptions. That game was like the Jon Bois playoff hockey tweet except football:
why watch overtime playoff hockey when you can simply snort cocaine and ride a motorcycle out of a helicopter— Jon Bois (@jon_bois) April 17, 2014
3. He throws no look passes. Nobody else is doing this in the NFL, and it takes a Different Guy to be able to even think about trying to pull something like that off in a game. He was working on it during training camp, pulled it off in 2018, and attempted one in Week 1 this season (though it didn’t go as well as it has in the past):
Patrick Mahomes try’s to no look and completely misses Travis Kelce for a TD. Chiefs offense still rolling though pic.twitter.com/siB1GdikGm— Bobby Skinner (@BobbySkinnerNFL) September 8, 2019
A quarterback with the guts to try that in an NFL game is a quarterback worth rooting for.
4. He can do this. I’m unbothered that this happened in the preseason. It happened, and that’s all that matters:
Patty slangs FDRs (dimes, y’all).
WHY YOU SHOULD ROOT FOR LAMAR JACKSON
1. He’s finally getting his opportunity to shine. The Baltimore Ravens were arguably the most frustrating team in the year 2018. Watching Joe Flacco be as average as a peanut butter sandwich was so frustrating, because we knew how good Jackson could be.
Flacco went 4-5 as the starter, completing 61 percent of his passes for over 2,400 yards, 12 touchdowns, and six picks — snoozer stuff. In Jackson’s seven starts, the Ravens went 6-1. Sure, he only completed 58 percent of his passes but at least that team became worth watching.
In 2019, he’s proven that he’s a good quarterback thus far with 596 passing yards and seven touchdowns while completing 72 percent of his passes.
2. People have been trying to bring this man down before he ever stepped on an NFL field. The “Lamar Jackson should play wide receiver” crowd has been unbearably ignorant. I’m not going to sit here and name names, or bring up old fart smellin’ takes because they’re a waste of time.
But it’s incredibly hard to not want to see this young man succeed. I can comfortably leave this reason at just that.
3. He also might be the league’s most exciting quarterback when he’s hot. Jackson is one of the most exciting football players to ever play the game. He’s got plenty of NFL career left to help back me up on that statement, but I’m fine making it today. There’s only a handful of guys who you could call the best or most exciting college football player you ever saw, and he’s one of them.
And this year he’s showed this year what he’s capable of at the professional level, including passing, which some have alleged that he couldn’t do:
Remember when John Harbaugh had him lining up at receiver in certain formations last year?
And no, I’m not going to put an asterisk on Lamar’s good games because they came against the Dolphins and Cardinals. We’re just not going to do that anymore. We’re going to enjoy good things, because life is better that way.
4. This. Exhibit A:
Aaaaand exhibit B:
Lamar Jackson is perfect pic.twitter.com/V39mbIxj2J— Richard Johnson (@RJ_Writes) September 12, 2019
BEST CASE SCENARIO AND WHAT YOU SHOULD ACTUALLY BE CHEERING FOR
Not a lick of defense is played and they break the game of football. When both players are at their best, it’s like watching a better version of Madden.
As long as both of these gentlemen stuff the box score, everybody wins.