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Graney: Where is Mahomes’ place among QB greats before Super Bowl 58?

I’m not sure what kind of post route George Washington would have thrown or how much savvy in the pocket Abraham Lincoln would have displayed, but they made Mount Rushmore just the same.

Those two faces, along with Thomas Jefferson and Theodore Roosevelt, are carved into granite in the Black Hills of South Dakota.

Let’s mix things up a bit and do the same with some all-time great quarterbacks. We’ll take a peak into the future while doing so.

Patrick Mahomes is in the conversation for the Mount Rushmore of the position. He may not have the career numbers of others yet, but no one has played the position like him.

Where does he sit among the best of the best now? Where should the player who has led the Chiefs to six straight AFC title games and now four Super Bowls in five years exist among such prodigious skill?

Here’s our rankings as things stand today, in descending order from how those presidential faces are lined up at the real Mount Rushmore:

Peyton Manning is Lincoln: Manning was just incredible. Period. The five-time NFL MVP and 10-time All-Pro won two Super Bowls, one with the Colts and another with the Broncos. He was the first to quarterback two different teams to a title. Manning, one of the smartest to ever play the game, won 200 games over 17 seasons. Few have ever been as prepared as him. Nobody was better at the line of scrimmage.

Joe Montana is Roosevelt: The decision between Nos. 3 and 4 was difficult, but it’s Super Bowl week and Montana was perfect in the most important games of his career. He was a three-time Super Bowl MVP. He also made eight Pro Bowls and was selected all-Pro five times. He led his teams to 32 fourth-quarter come-from-behind victories. He was a two-time league MVP. “Joe Cool” — as he was known — was the perfect fit for coach Bill Walsh’s West Coast offense, one that saw few rivals throughout the 1980s. He was considered the best of all time until a certain fellow named Tom Brady came along.

Mahomes is Jefferson: We know. We know. It’s early in his career to say he already exists among such historic talent. Again, few if any have played the game as he does. Few if any have been as magical with the ball in their hands. He’s a two-time league MVP and a two-time Super Bowl MVP. His playmaking ability is second to none. Perhaps this is also a look-ahead ranking, because if Mahomes continues down this path of greatness, Brady’s hold on the top spot will become more and more tenuous. The scary part: Mahomes has already fashioned a Hall of Fame career and he’s still just 28. You can only wonder what his numbers will be if he remains healthy and plays another decade. You can only wonder what sort of accomplishments it will take for him to overcome Brady. You know this: It will be fun to watch.

Brady is Washington: The best of the best is right. A seven-time Super Bowl champion and a three-time league MVP, he won 251 regular-season games combined with the Patriots and Tampa Bay. He had 35 postseason victories and was named Super Bowl MVP five times. This, the guy selected in the sixth round of the 2000 draft. The guy who threw for nearly 4,700 yards at age 45. He is the NFL record book in most cases.

Ed Graney, a Sigma Delta Chi Award winner for sports column writing, can be reached at egraney@reviewjournal.com. He can be heard on “The Press Box,” ESPN Radio 100.9 FM and 1100 AM, from 7 to 10 a.m. Monday through Friday. Follow @edgraney on X.

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