The Kansas City Chiefs have once again been in electric form this season. Their 14-3 record saw them finish top of the AFC West by quite some margin for the seventh year in a row. They then went on to defeat the Cincinnati Bengals to claim their third conference championship in four years and pencil their name in for yet another Super Bowl Appearance. They recorded wins over last year’s Super Bowl winners the LA Rams, two wins over AFC south winners the Jacksonville Jaguars during the regular season with some highlight reel plays throughout.
Whilst head coach Andy Reid has put together a team full of franchise players like Travis Kelce, Chris Jones and more recently Juju Smith-Schuster, there is one who stands above them all. Patrick Mahomes has been the lynchpin of Andy Reid’s offense for five seasons now and he only seems to be getting better each year. His performances won the Chiefs their first Super Bowl in 50 years in 2019 and after February 12th will have brought them to three Super Bowl’s in four years. NFL Lines currently have the Chiefs as slight underdogs.
He has essentially become the next face of the NFL after Tom Brady as the latter looks to be slowing down in his career. His performances since his emergence as the starting QB under Reid have been nothing short of remarkable. Incredible arm strength and pocket presence as well as being a dual threat with his running capabilities, he was the first of a new era of quarterbacks and at just 27 has the best part of a decade left at the top barring a major injury.
A Texas Tech alumni, Mahomes actually split his college career between football and baseball at first. He spent his rookie season as a backup to Davis Webb before becoming a starter as a sophomore, which is where he started to show his promise. Overall, in the 2015 season, he led the Big 12 Conference with 364 pass completions on 573 attempts for 4,653 yards, 36 touchdowns, and 15 interceptions. Prior to his junior year he announce that he was leaving baseball to focus on football. It was here when we would start to see the Mahomes we now know. He finished the season leading the country in yards per game, passing yards, total offense, points responsible for, and total touchdowns. He was awarded the Sammy Baugh Trophy, given annually to the nation’s top college passer. At the end of the year he announced that he would forgo his last year of college eligibility and enter the NFL Draft, where he would later become the 10th overall pick.
He started just one game in his rookie season before becoming starter the following season in 2018. He had an exceptional first season, being named to the 2019 Pro Bowl and First Team All–Pro and winning the 2019 Best NFL Player ESPY Award as well as the NFL MVP, the first winner for the Chiefs in franchise history. After losing the AFC Title game to the Patriots that year, Tom Brady entered the locker room to speak to Mahomes. They would later face one another at Super Bowl LV, before which Mahomes recalled what Brady had said to him.
“Yeah, it kind of just reemphasized that I was doing things the right way,” Mahomes said. “That I was putting in the right work, and that I would have more opportunities to be in these games. I’ve been lucky enough to be in two more of them since and win both of those.”
Following his first year as starting QB, the Chiefs would have another storming season, winning their first Super Bowl since 1969. They appeared there again the following year, in a losing effort to Brady’s Buccaneers before having a year out and then most recently being led to their third in four years with Mahomes this season, when they beat the Bengals in the Conference championship game. This despite Mahomes playing at less than 100% with a pretty heavy ankle injury.
He surpassed expectations once again in 2022/23, leading the league for passing yards (5,250) and yards per game (308.8). His impact on the team is insurmountable and Andy Reid is under no illusions that he makes the Chiefs what they are. Speaking after the Chiefs’ comeback win over the Buffalo Bills in 2022, Reid said: “(I told him) When it’s grim, be the Grim Reaper and go get it.’ He did that. He made everybody around him better, which he is great at. He just does it effortlessly. When it gets tough, he’s going to be there battling.”
The season is of course not yet over for Mahomes and the Chiefs as they head to Arizona on February 12th, aiming to win their second Super Bowl in four years. Whilst they are slight betting underdogs, it would be hard to encourage anyone to bet against Patrick Mahomes II.
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