Every Super Bowl dishes up its fair share of narratives but not in the NFL's wildest dreams could they have come up with such an engaging storyline for the final match of the COVID-affected season.
When the Tampa Bay Buccaneers face off against last year's champions, Kansas City Chiefs, at Super Bowl 55 on Monday morning AEDT, many in the US sporting world are preparing for a historic night no matter who hoists the Lombardi Trophy.
In the lead up to the NFL's biggest night of the year all the talk has been about the game's most prolific winner against the brightest young star in US sport, who has a realistic chance of reaching or even surpassing the lofty benchmark set by the former New England Patriot, who is now widely considered the sport's GOAT.
The Tom Brady vs Patrick Mahomes match-up has captured the attention of frothing fans and media. The 43-year-old master v the rising star. The GOAT vs Baby GOAT. Mr Miyagi vs Daniel son. The young buck who's ascending, taking on the legendary icon who at 43, has proven he is greater than we initially thought, after taking a new team with plenty of moving pieces – without a preseason game – to the Super Bowl. It really does defy belief.
Even though both men will never actually face off against each other (quarterbacks do not play against each other, they play opposing defences) – the result will inevitably have a deeper meaning in terms of the legacy for both athletes.
Although he's not showing his age, Brady will be the oldest to play in a Super Bowl. A seventh title for the veteran would break the record for NFL championships he shares with three members of Vince Lombardi's great Green Bay Packers teams of the 1960s.
Brady's postseason record includes a 33-11 mark, 14 conference championship appearances and 10 trips to the season's biggest game. This week Brady even spoke about playing beyond age 45, although he's not really looking past this clash.
Mahomes already has one title and is the first quarterback to reach two Super Bowls before age 25. If he wins on Monday, that would make the Chiefs QB the youngest quarterback ever with two Super Bowl wins, reaching the mark a year before Brady and Pittsburgh's Ben Roethlisberger.
Mahomes' record as a starter is 44-9, combining both the regular season and the playoffs. His style and arm-talent – plus the complementary players around him – have turned the Chiefs into the most entertaining team in the NFL.
The general consensus across the league is that the son of Major League baseballer, Pat Mahomes, is Brady's heir. If he can win Super Bowl 55 that would keep Brady at six and lift Mahomes to two which would certainly keep the legend's extraordinary feats firmly in his sights.
With another 10-15 years in the league there's no telling how many titles Mahomes and the Chiefs could rack up, and with the rules catering more to quarterbacks than ever before, it would be difficult to rule out the Chiefs QB.
"The interesting thing is he's got a chance to go back to back and the last team to do that was Brady and the Patriots in 2003-04," said former NFL player Colin Scotts, the second Australian player to ever be drafted to the NFL.
"It's been nearly 20 years. To go back-to-back is extremely difficult. You don't get many opportunities. And for him to be in this position at such a young age to be going to his second straight Super Bowl, it puts him in good stead to eventually beat Brady or get even more.
"They've got a great coach in Andy Reid and a great organisation. Just his attitude and his athleticism, he's very hard to hit. Even though he suffered a concussion a few weeks ago he doesn't get injured easily.
"I can see him playing quarterback for a long time with that structure in Kansas City, right now there's no reason why he can't be better than Brady."
Such is Mahomes' trajectory, everyone from fans to pundits to rival players and teammates, believe the 24-year-old has the chance to reach icon status and even surpass Brady and be in the same class as Babe Ruth, Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods.
When asked on a Zoom call this week if he had thoughts about catching the greatest quarterback in the game, Mahomes smiled before giving the politically correct answer filled with cliche.
"I'm trying to find a way to repeat, find a way to win a second championship and find a way to do whatever I can to win with this team," Mahomes said. "You don't get these opportunities every single year … so you don't want to look back and have regrets."
In his short time in the league Mahomes has put together perhaps the best three-year stretch in the history of the game.
Including the playoffs, he has thrown for 15,922 yards since the start of 2018 with 131 TD passes, on his way to winning the 2018 MVP award and the Super Bowl MVP last season.
"Mahomes checks so many boxes. It's really hard to describe to people how special this guy is," CBS game analyst Tony Romo said.
"I can't think of somebody in history that you just go through and keep going because everyone has a weakness and you're trying to find everyone's weakness as an analyst or every team's scheme weakness and figure it out. I really feel like he's just the rare guy."