Super Bowl 2024: Patrick Mahomes steps up Tom Brady chase as leader of NFL's new dynasty

Patrick Mahomes lifts the Super Bowl trophy
Patrick Mahomes is the first player to win three Super Bowl MVPs in his first seven seasons

If there was any lingering doubt about Patrick Mahomes' greatness, it was extinguished with three seconds of overtime remaining at Super Bowl 58.

That was when he threw the touchdown pass that took the Kansas City Chiefs to glory.

Many now feel it's just a case of when not if he can chase down Tom Brady's records.

That dramatic late pass to Mecole Hardman not only gave the Chiefs a 25-22 win over the San Francisco 49ers and back-to-back Super Bowls, but put the rest of the NFL on notice that if you want to win a Lombardi Trophy these days, you have to find a way of beating Mahomes.

And as the confetti rained down in Las Vegas, what should really worry the other 31 teams in the league is that this could, and perhaps should, have been a good year to beat the Chiefs.

Mahomes had some of his lowest output totals across the board this season, his receivers led the league in dropped passes and he had to go on the road for the first time in the play-offs, winning their last three games as underdogs.

What the Chiefs proved, though, is that with Mahomes on board, they're never beaten. As he put it himself: "The Kansas City Chiefs are never underdogs - just know that."

Why Mahomes can become NFL's greatest

Stats only tell some of the story, but Mahomes already has a tonne of those to back up his case for greatness - not least winning all three of his Super Bowls, overturning a 10-point deficit in each one.

That is some achievement, given there have been only seven Super Bowl comebacks of 10 points or more in NFL history.

Such an air of invincibility is the sign of a true great, while his desire on that winning drive in overtime, using his legs as well as his arm, just showed how much he wanted it.

Opta stats tell us that no quarterback in the past 30 years has completed eight passes or more and had 27 rushing yards in a single drive - in any game - until Mahomes did it. And he did it in overtime at the Super Bowl.

The stats back up what we saw in Las Vegas. As just the third played to win back-to-back Super Bowl MVPs and third player to win it three times, he now only has Brady above him in those standings.

Mahomes is only 28, has been to the AFC Championship game in every season as a starter and after six full campaigns has the same Super Bowl rings as Brady had, but more appearances and more play-off wins - and he is well ahead in terms of touchdowns and passing yards.

His trajectory is heading into the stratosphere.

The Chiefs cement their place as NFL dynasty

A third Super Bowl win - from their fourth appearance in five years - is undoubtedly dynasty territory now for Kansas City, and the scary prospect for the rest is that they did it the hard way.

They were plagued by receiver problems, missed out on a play-off bye and had the hardest-ever road to Super Bowl victory in terms of strength of opponents - they had to beat both number one seeds to lift the Lombardi Trophy.

The Chiefs win the Super Bowl
The Chiefs claim their third Super Bowl in five years

Brady's New England Patriots were the last back-to-back Super Bowl champions 19 years ago - and the fact that it's the longest ever gap between repeat winners shows how hard it is to dominate these days with the salary cap and draft system.

So the fact that Mahomes had the highest salary cap hit of $37m and the Chiefs still managed to build a championship side around him is impressive.

There's already talk of Mahomes restructuring his contract to free up money to sign other players, which is something Brady regularly did at the Patriots - just one way the Chiefs star is trying to emulate the consensus GOAT of the NFL.

The other is not resting on just winning back-to-back Super Bowls.

"We're not done," Mahomes said after lifting the trophy. "I know we're going to celebrate tonight, but we're not done. We've got a young team and we're going to keep this thing going.

"I'm going to celebrate tonight. I'm going celebrate at the parade. And then I'm going to do whatever I can to be back in this game next year and try to go for that three-peat.

Patrick Mahomes wins a third Super Bowl
Patrick Mahomes won his third Super Bowl at aged just 28

"I think Tom [Brady] said it best - once you win that championship and you have those parades and you get those rings, you're not the champion any more.

"You have to come back with that same mentality, and I learned from guys like that, who have been the greatest of all time at the top of the level and so that's my mindset."

Another frightening prospect is that the Chiefs found a different way to win in terms of playing style this year, behind a young, ferocious defence that faced four of the top six offences in the league in the play-offs, two on the road, and allowed just under 16 points per game.

A defence like that will always keep you in the game, and Mahomes has evolved his play this year from a flashy gunslinger to a more cerebral passer, pulling out the big plays just when they're needed.

With a veteran head coach in Andy Reid steering the ship, a front office that has shown they can build a team, and of course Mahomes, these Chiefs are not going anywhere any time soon.

If there's a player you'd back to win three in a row, it is Mahomes. They used to say you can never bet against Brady, especially in the play-offs. Now they are saying it about the man who looks primed to take his crown.