While the Detroit Lions were facing off against the New York Giants last Friday night the eyes of NFL fans around the league were focused on what was happening in Atlanta. The Kansas City Chiefs were in town for their Week 2 preseason game, and their newly anointed starting quarterback Patrick Mahomes did this:
The quarterback fired off a pass that traveled 69 yards through the air off of one foot while climbing the pocket. I’ve watched football for my entire life and even rewatch around a hundred games a year for my weekly film breakdowns, and I don’t think I’ve seen a pass that great before.
Social media was buzzing as clips of the throw made the rounds and it led to Pro Football Focus’ Sam Monson to pose this question:
I'd love to see some kind of NFL strongest arm competition at the Pro Bowl this year. Josh Allen, Cam Newton, Patrick Mahomes, Aaron Rodgers. Lot of cannons in the league all of a sudden.— Sam Monson (@PFF_Sam) August 18, 2018
There is a very obvious exclusion on Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford, who was known to injure his receivers fingers with how hard he would throw the ball when he was at the University of Georgia.
With Mahomes and rookie Josh Allen set to take on starting roles this season, joining the likes of Stafford, Cam Newton and Aaron Rodgers this may be the best collection of arm strength the NFL has ever seen.
But who’s arm is truly the strongest in the NFL?
My answer: I really have no idea.
There is no empirical way to truly test out quarterback arm strength while watching them on film. We could do what Monson suggests, and hold a sort of combine for pro quarterbacks to showcase their skills but it’s unlikely that the NFL could ever put that together.
All of the five listed quarterbacks above have incredible cannons attached to their shoulders. Every single one of them have shown that they can make deep, accurate throws on the run and don’t need to set their feet properly before letting balls cannon downfield.
If I had to put my money on someone, though, it would probably be Allen. The rookie phenom wowed scouts at his Wyoming pro day, and many around the NFL believe that his arm is so strong that it is good enough to make up for the many flaws he carried into the NFL as a passer.