Patrick Mahomes vs Joe Burrow debate: Why Carson Palmer's hot take has zero substance 

There's no debate between Joe Burrow and Patrick Mahomes

Every single NFL season, there is an early debate over which quarterback will challenge Patrick Mahomes as the best in the league. It's been Justin Herbert, Josh Allen, and right now it's Joe Burrow. There's one constant in this debate: it's always someone vs. Mahomes.

Since Mahomes came into the league and became a starter, he's been the best quarterback. He won MVP that year and has only gotten better. It's a hot take to say anyone is better, but that didn't stop Carson Palmer.

On his brother's podcast, he dropped one of the hottest takes in recent memory:

"I think Joe is the best quarterback in the league. I know Patrick [Mahomes] is phenomenal, but I just think Joe’s more consistent. He’s more consistent. He’s more accountable to run the system and the play that’s called and not feel like, 'Well, he didn’t win last time and get open for me, so I’m gonna do it with my feet,' and then before you know it, you’re sacked for a four-yard loss because you tried to make two or three guys miss."

He finished by saying:

"Joe is just... talk about not having a weakness. Mentally strong, physically tough, accurate, can throw it far enough, fast enough, gets the ball out quick, and then he can actually do a lot with his legs."

For a lot of reasons, this take is just wrong. Palmer is a former Cincinnati Bengals quarterback, so he is probably a little partial to the current Bengals quarterback, but if he's portending to be an analyst, some objectivity needs to be present.

There's no debate between Joe Burrow and Patrick Mahomes

With all due respect to Joe Burrow, who is an elite quarterback, there is no comparison between the two. The accolades, numbers and performances all give the edge (sometimes a major edge) to Patrick Mahomes.

The only thing Burrow has over Mahomes is a 3-1 record in their matchups, but the idea that a win belongs to the quarterback alone is absurd and should be dying out.

Patrick Mahomes winning Super Bowl MVP
Patrick Mahomes winning Super Bowl MVP

Even beyond that, Palmer's take has no substance. He tried to make it a deeper argument than the numbers by saying that Joe Burrow is consistent and has no flaws. He also added that he runs the plays in the system more often.

If Burrow is a flawless quarterback, then there isn't a word to describe Mahomes. If Burrow is consistent, then so is Patrick Mahomes and he's consistently great. Burrow has gotten better each season in the league, but that doesn't make him consistently better than Mahomes, who started out winning MVP.


Furthermore, "he's more accountable to run the system and the play that's called" is just a poor take. The best quarterbacks are able to adjust, audible and make plays out of rhythm and out of design.

Is Palmer saying Burrow doesn't do that? Yes, Mahomes does audible and make plays that weren't called. That's the mark of a good quarterback. The play call isn't the be all end all, which is the very reason audibles exist in the first place.

In Palmer's mind, Joe Burrow is going to get the play call in the huddle and go to the line and run it well. Mahomes, on the other hand, might do something else. Over his five seasons as a starter, he's earned the right to do that and has displayed the skill and IQ to do it well.


Palmer mentions that Burrow throws it far enough and is fast enough. He doesn't throw it as far as Patrick Mahomes, though. He's also a touch slower than Mahomes, who ran the 40 0.1 seconds faster and has a proven scrambling ability.

Palmer's hot take is just that - hot. It appears to use substance and provide alternative ways of looking at the debate, but even those don't really hold water. By Palmer's own metrics, Patrick Mahomes is still a better quarterback. That's nothing against Burrow, though.

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Edited by Zachary Roberts
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