Dan Marino is football royalty. Almost any quarterback would be flattered to be mentioned in the same breath as the legendary Hall of Famer.
But in Patrick Mahomes' case, such a comparison could be a cautionary tale.
It's been 34 years since Marino — he was in his second season in 1984 — took the NFL by storm, shattering passing records by the bushel while amazing his peers with a lightning release and a bazooka arm. His transcendent performance — he was named league MVP after throwing for a mind-blowing 5,084 yards and 48 touchdowns … in 1984 — fueled the league's top-ranked offense and helped carry the Miami Dolphins, who didn't play much defense or bother to run the ball with much commitment, all the way to Super Bowl XIX.
Now in his sophomore year as a pro, Mahomes has been a revelation in his own right. Is there anyone in the land with a stronger arm? When was the last time you saw a quarterback try — and complete! — a no-look pass during a game? With 45 touchdown passes in 13 games, he'll almost certainly post more scoring strikes this year than Marino did back in '84 and might even overtake Peyton Manning's five-year-old record of 55. And the 23-year-old Mahomes is also the front-runner to win league MVP honors for playoff-bound Kansas City.