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Patrick Mahomes vs. Jalen Hurts: Why history of All-Pro QBs squaring off in the Super Bowl favors the Eagles

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There are a lot of reasons to be compelled by the matchup of Patrick Mahomes and Jalen Hurts.

It’s the first time two Black quarterbacks have started against each other in the Super Bowl, they’re helming to the two No. 1 seeds in their respective conferences, and stylistically they’re extremely different players.

Another reason to add the list: They’re the NFL’s first and second-team All-Pro quarterbacks, meaning it’s a matchup of two of the game’s best.

While one might think it’s not uncommon for this scenario to occur, in actuality this will be just the sixth time in the Super Bowl era. Historically this will favor Hurts, with the Eagles QB being named second team QB this season. The second team selection is 5-0 in the history of these matchups, of which there have been one per decade since the ’80s with the exception of the 1980s themselves (it happened twice).

History of First-Team vs. Second-Team All-Pro QBs in the Super Bowl

The first and second team All-Pro quarterbacks have played each other in the Super Bowl five times, with the first occurrence happening in the 1981 season. In that game it was the Bengals’ Ken Anderson serving as the first teamer vs. the second teamer, the 49ers’ Joe Montana.

The 49ers, of course, won that game 26-21 behind and MVP performance from Montana, who repeated the feat just three years later against the first team selection Dan Marino in the 1985 Super Bowl. Montana notched his second MVP in that game.

Since then, there has been one matchup per decade. In 1991 it was Mark Rypien defeating Jim Kelly for Washington; 2009 featured Drew Brees unseating Peyton Manning; 2016 was the infamous 28-3 comeback of Tom Brady over Matt Ryan.

In even more good news for Hurts, not only did the second-team QB win all of these games, he was also the MVP of the Super Bowl he won.

First Team All-Pro QB stats

1982 Ken Anderson 25/34 300 2 2 95.2
1985 Dan Marion 29/50 318 1 2 66.9
1992 Jim Kelly 28/58 275 2 4 44.8
2010 Peyton Manning 31/45 333 1 1 88.5
2017 Matt Ryan 17/23 284 2 0 144.1

Second Team All-Pro QB stats

1982 Joe Montana 14/22 157 1 0 100.0
1985 Joe Montana 24/35 331 3 0 127.2
1992 Mark Rypien 18/33 292 2 1 92.0
2010 Drew Brees 32/39 288 2 0 114.5
2017 Tom Brady 43/62 466 2 1 95.2

What stands out about these stats is that, for the most part, efficiency rules the day. The one exception is Super Bowl 51, where Matt Ryan was far more efficient than Tom Brady was, with Brady putting up eye-popping numbers as he played from 25 points behind. Otherwise, however, the first teamers generally have more attempts and lower efficiency than the second teamers.

That ties into what Hurts does well. He doesn’t turn the ball often much, he has a strong completion percentage, and he’s rarely baited into mistakes.

Patrick Mahomes vs. Jalen Hurts regular season stats

Patrick Mahomes 67.1% 5,250 41 12 105.2
Jalen Hurts 66.5% 3,701 22 6 101.5

Patrick Mahomes vs. Jalen Hurts playoff stats

Patrick Mahomes 69.9% 521 4 0 108.3
Jalen Hurts 63.3% 275 2 0 91.8

There’s a fascinating component to these two, which is just how well their numbers reflect their styles. Hurts is just as viable as a runner as he is a passer, whereas Mahomes loves to scramble but will always throw first.

Will this reflect in the Super Bowl, and will history continue to repeat itself? These numbers are by no means a guarantee. But if Eagles fans do want to put stock in ghosts of Super Bowls, it’s certainly a reason for optimism heading into this game. 


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