Who can throw the football farther: Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen? Or Kansas City Chiefs quarterback and 2018 NFL MVP Patrick Mahomes?
In February, prompted by the guys at Barstool Radio, Allen challenged Mahomes to a throwing contest.
On Friday, April 5, Mahomes responded to Allen’s challenge while speaking at a charity event in Rochester, New York.
Josh is a great dude. But no one that I’ve known has been able to throw a ball farther than me. I’ve never seen Josh throw in person but maybe next offseason we can set something up. Hopefully I can get him to come down to Kansas City, and we can do something for charity. It’s going to take at least 85 yards to win.
Eighty. Five. Yards. That’s, like, almost an entire football field.
It’s doubtful that Mahomes and Allen will ever actually have their throw-off. And if they do, it likely won’t be till the 2020 offseason.
But that doesn’t mean bets can’t be placed on the event right now.
Patrick Mahomes vs. Josh Allen: Who Can Throw a Football Farther?
- Josh Allen: -150
- Patrick Mahomes: +110
Before jumping into the analysis, I should touch on a few items. First, I believe that in the contest all that will matter is distance: Neither quarterback has mentioned accuracy as a formal component of the challenge.
Also, the contest must happen before the 2020 regular season for action, which means that this bet would likely take over a year to cash. As a result, I wouldn’t actually bet on this now. I don’t want to give a sportsbook my money to hold for that long for an event that might not even happen.
If Mahomes and Allen actually agree to compete, then sportsbooks will release (or re-release) lines at that time, and you can place a bet then.
But I’m going to write about this hypothetical contest now. Why?
Because it’s the offseason, the Alliance of American Football is dead, the NFL draft is still weeks away and I’m in the mood to write about some football.
So let’s look at Mahomes and Allen.
Both quarterbacks have strong arms, but the market clearly favors Allen. And that makes some sense. Based on the velocity they exhibited as prospects at the combine, Allen has the stronger arm.
- Josh Allen (2018): 62 mph
- Patrick Mahomes (2017): 60 mph
Last year, Allen actually set the combine record. He might have the strongest arm in the NFL.
But the difference between 60 and 62 mph is not that great: It’s probable that on any given day, Mahomes could top out at 62 and Allen at 60. Perhaps Mahomes could have hit 62 at his combine but he chose to take some velocity off his throws to make them more accurate.
And it’s worth noting that Mahomes actually tied the combine record the year before Allen broke it. Mahomes can still sling it. When he was a prospect, Mahomes did a spot with NFL Media in which he and former NFL quarterback David Carr competed to see who could throw the ball harder.
After one warm-up throw, Mahomes threw three passes of 58, 58 and 62 mph even though Carr’s fastest throw was just 57.
When fully warmed up and competing against someone who could actually push him, it’s likely that Mahomes could throw even harder than 62 mph.
But none of this is to take anything away from Allen. During the season, he consistently showed off his arm, leading the league with his 11.0 intended air yards per attempt, while Mahomes was sixth at 9.2.
Additionally, Allen had the longest completion in the league last year, throwing a pass to wide receiver Zay Jones that traveled 63.9 yards in the air.
What’s perhaps most impressive about the pass is that Allen didn’t even have time to set his feet fully and step into the throw. As for Mahomes, he ranked eighth last year with a longest completion of 60.7 yards.
But don’t forget that in Week 2 of the preseason he launched a beautifully nice 69-yard touchdown to wide receiver Tyreek Hill against the Atlanta Falcons. In terms of air distance, that throw from Mahomes traveled 68.6 yards.
Based on what we’ve seen, I think it’s hard to say that Allen should be the prohibitive favorite. To me, this looks like a coin flip.
I’ll take Mahomes at plus money down to +105.
The Pick: Mahomes (+105), whenever the event is confirmed
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Pictured: Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen
Credit: USA TODAY Sports.