Mac Jones #10 of the New England Patriots takes the field before the game against the Miami Dolphins
Photo by Megan Briggs/Getty Images

Watching Mac Jones in the NFL is No Fun

Mac Jones had a very successful rookie year. The 15th pick in the 2021 NFL Draft threw for 3,800 yards and 22 touchdowns last season. His team, the New England Patriots, went 10-7 and made the playoffs. His career trajectory looks to be pointed upward, even if the Patriots overall talent is somewhat lacking.

The problem is watching Mac Jones play football is not fun.

Is he a fun person? It does seem like it. He even has some good trash talk. But neither of these things help his performance during regular season games, which to this point has been very low on exciting moments.

Can Mac Be New England's Entertainer?

Head coach Bill Belichick and Mac Jones #10 of the New England Patriots talk on the field prior to a game against the Miami Dolphins

Photo by Megan Briggs/Getty Images

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At the end of the day the National Football League is about entertainment, and the most entertaining moments typically come from a team's passing offense. The Patriots lack a true No. 1 wide receiver, which is not Jones' fault. However, Mac also lacks a certain "je ne sais quoi" that is required of a dynamic quarterback.

Here's how Mac compares to a few of the more exciting quarterbacks in the league during their first seasons as a starter.

Number of 300+ yard games:

  • Patrick Mahomes = 10
  • Justin Herbert = 8
  • Joe Burrow = 5 (only played 10 games)
  • Kyler Murray = 5
  • Jones = 2

Number of 3+ TD games:

  • Mahomes = 10
  • Herbert = 6
  • Burrow = 2 (10 games)
  • Murray/Jones = 2

This is, in some ways, an unfair comparison for Jones as Burrow/Murray were #1 overall draft picks and Herbert was #6. Still, Jones was a first round pick and will be viewed with the expectations that comes with such a high selection throughout his career.

Living In A Post-Brady World

Tom Brady #12 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers waves to the crowd as he runs off the field after defeating the New England Patriots in the game at Gillette Stadium

Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images

Patriots fans were used to prioritizing winning over individual statistics during the beginning of Tom Brady's reign in New England. However, when the 2007 team motivated the NFL to become the passing dominant display it is today, things changed.

Winning football games is still the overall preference for most NFL fans. But they also want an exciting path to get there. The problem for Jones is the rest of the team does not seem good enough for fans to expect double-digit wins. Mac's performance at quarterback will still be solid as it was in his rookie season. But "solid" doesn't excite fans anymore. 

Perhaps the best analogy for what it's like to watch Jones play is from the most popular sports video game ever. While there will always be jokes about how Madden has not included groundbreaking improvements in its annual update, it's still a must-buy each year for many football fans.

The best part about playing Madden is doing things even the real-life NFL superstars can't achieve. When I was in college I played a season where former running back Travis Henry rushed for 50 touchdowns. That's right, 50. A complete demolishing of LaDanian Tomlinson's 2006 record of 28. I have played games where my quarterback has thrown for 8 touchdowns or rushed for 300 yards. Games where my team scored 70 points and shut out the other team. While this is fun and exciting, there comes a point in every season when it's too easy and I need to up the difficulty to All Madden level.

Living On The All Madden Level

Mac Jones #10 of the New England Patriots gestures at the line of scrimmage during the first half against the Miami Dolphin

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This is when the fun disappears.

Yes, it's always good to challenge ourselves. Growth is important. But the change to All Madden typically means the video game stats shrink to a play-by-play grind where you're just trying for positive plays instead of big time moments.

Is this more realistic? Sure, but not more fun. And this is the issue with watching Mac Jones play. He's on All Madden mode every down. 

The entire Patriots offense operates like this, but the focal point is Jones and so his performance is the easiest to highlight. Patriots fans got spoiled as every time Brady would drop back to pass the question was who was going to catch his perfect pass. Now, it's more like on 2nd and 10 we're all thinking, "I wonder what they're going to call on 3rd down after this 4 yard completion."

Mac Jones has only started 19 games in the NFL. He has plenty of time to grow and develop into a quarterback fans get "excited" about. Right now though, Jones and the Patriots' offense is as "fun" as a 9-7 win on All Madden.

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