Houtz Super Bowl Special: The better QB? Marino or Mahomes

“Montana was a product of the system; Marino was the system.”

For 20 years, the Miami Dolphins have been searching for their next great quarterback, searching for a QB that can fill the void left behind by The Right Arm of God, Dan Marino. And during that time, they’ve had the opportunity to land some legit NFL talent. In 2017, while the Dolphins waited patiently for their turn on the clock, several other teams were making moves to land their franchise signal-caller. One of those teams was Andy Reid and the Kansas City Chiefs.

The Chiefs moved up from #27 to #10 to land Patrick Mahomes. The price? A 2017 third-round pick, a 2018 first-round pick, and #27 overall.  And after just three NFL seasons, Andy Reid has Kansas City Super Bowl-bound. So, with the Chiefs and their prolific QB headed to Super Bowl LIV, it has opened up an interesting debate on Twitter. Patrick Mahomes or Dan Marino?

Yes, I realize that one plays in today’s NFL, where the rules heavily favor the passing game. I also understand that one had a 17-year NFL career while the other has only been in the NFL for three seasons—starting only two. But for someone lucky enough to witness Marino play football on Sundays, it’s hard not to project just how great Patrick Mahomes can be.

So, without further ado, let’s take a look at two QBs that –when all is said and done– will be remembered as two of the best to play the game.

Tale of the Tape

Dan Marino

Hometown: Pittsburgh, PA

Height: 6’4

Weight: 224 lbs.

Pick: 27th overall (1983)



Patrick Mahomes

Hometown: Tyler, Texas

Height: 6’3

Weight: 230 lbs.

Pick: 10th-overall (2017)


Stats don’t tell the whole story, but when comparing the two players’ first two seasons, things look eerily similar.

In 1984, Marino threw for 5,084 yards, 48 TDs, and 17 Ints. In 2018, Mahomes first full-season as a starter, he threw for 5,097 yards, 50 TDs, and 12 Ints. And then in year three, Mahomes threw for 4,031 yards, 26 TDs, and 5 Ints compared to Marino’s 4,137 yards, 30 TDs, and 20 Ints. Again, this is apples to oranges, but it gives you an idea of just how great both players are.


To have success in the NFL, a QB must be accurate, among many other things. And trying to figure out which of these two QBs was more accurate, is a tough feat. Marino had the quickest release the NFL has ever seen. He was also capable of putting the ball exactly where it needed to be, something that very few QBs since his departure have been able to replicate. However, Mahomes isn’t every other QB. And while Marino is a more accurate QB (IMO), the gap between the two is far from seismic. I give the edge to Marino, but it’s a lot closer than most fans want to admit.

Arm Strength

It is unfair to try and pick which of these players is better. Yes, I’m viewing things with Aqua and Orange shades, but it’s hard to overlook how good Patrick Mahomes is. If we’re going to give Marino the edge with accuracy, we might have to do the same with Mahomes and arm strength. Both QBs have tremendous arm-strength. No, they might not be able to throw the ball 70 yards into the stands on an HB screen like Josh Allen, but they both have cannons. Gun to my head, I’m giving the edge to Mahomes. 


Both quarterbacks are wired a bit differently, and when the game was on the line, took matters into their own hands. Sure, they both had elite arms, accuracy, and football IQ, but they are gamers. One of the greatest plays in NFL history was Marino’s fake spike, and last week, we saw Mahomes improbable run vs. the Titans. When a pass is needed to put a game away, few QBs did it better.


Both Mahomes and Marino are two QBs that will likely never be replicated. There will be excellent prospects like Joe Burrow and Tua Tagovailoa, but none will ever compare to two of the greatest QBs of all-time. For two QBs that are so different and unique, the similarities between the two are uncanny. Both QBs have a rocket attached to their upper body. Both players can manipulate the pocket and make throws that seem unimaginable. And both QBs have pinpoint accuracy, with the ability to place the ball exactly where they want.

It’s too early to sit here and claim Patrick Mahomes is better than Dan Marino–because he’s not. But when the history books are written, I don’t foresee many QBs, if any, as talented as Mahomes. Thankfully, for the Dolphins. The man that helped build the current roster in Kansas City and had a helping hand in selecting Mahomes is currently in Miami’s front office. Perhaps, Assistant GM Marvin Allen can once again find an elite QB and help turn this once storied franchise, into a winner.

Marino vs. Mahomes. Mahomes vs. Marino. There is no right answer. Both QBs are elite players, regardless of what era of football they played. But for now, there’s only one QB that can refer to themselves as the GOAT, and his name is Daniel Constantine Marino Jr.

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