Patrick Mahomes is the face of football's new generation, and he's received some high praise from the face of last decade's new crop of signal-calling talent.
Mahomes' Chiefs will face the New England Patriots on Sunday, which means the 2018 NFL MVP and reigning Super Bowl MVP will meet the 2015 NFL MVP, Cam Newton. The elder statesman of the two sees what the rest of the football world is witnessing.
"Man, he's changing the game," Newton said Thursday, via ESPN. "I think he's shining light on the new wave of quarterbacks. It's just fun to watch."
Game recognizes game.
But Mahomes and Newton, while both are more than capable in the mobility department, are two different quarterbacks. For one, Newton is a larger quarterback, which has allowed him to set NFL records for most career rushing touchdowns scored by a quarterback (62) and games with one-plus passing touchdown and one-plus rushing touchdown (40).
In his first season in New England, Newton is near the same pace that saw him win the 2015 MVP, posting similar efficiency marks in passing yards per game, pass yards per attempt and passer rating.
"I wish I could do some of the things he does, as far as how physical he is, and the way he's able to make plays happen. He's a great football player, someone I watched when he was at Auburn," Mahomes said of Newton, also via ESPN. "He's in a great spot now and he's playing really good football."
Mahomes, meanwhile, owns the NFL records for career passing yards per game (303.2), passing touchdowns per game (2.5) and passer rating (109.4). He's also the only quarterback to average 300-plus passing yards per game and a own a 100-plus passer rating versus Bill Belichick in his head coaching career.
Newton, who owned a 2-0 record against Belichick's Patriots during his time with the Panthers, knows a little something about beating the game's preeminent franchise since the turn of the century. He also knows how it feels to be the focus of the league as an innovative quarterback who is part of a highly successful team aiming to win a title.
"It's not like he's just back there and it's an arcade game," Newton said of Mahomes. "Sometimes it looks like it, but he knows exactly what he's doing and how he's manipulating the defense. That's the same thing that the Dan Marinos used to do. Obviously the Tom Bradys. The Aaron Rodgers. Those guys really have so much command of the offense that you dictate to the defense. That's what he's doing. He's playing the game at a high level."
The difference between the two: Mahomes owns a Super Bowl ring, which Newton's Panthers fell short of earning in Super Bowl 50, and something Newton's predecessor was able to achieve a record six times in New England.
Mahomes' Chiefs are again the favorites to win it all after an emphatic victory over the Ravens in Week 3. They'll meet another longstanding hurdle Sunday, but with a new face behind center.