We Have Never Seen a Football Player Like Patrick Mahomes

It all started with a daydreaming child in the backyard. It’s always like that. A 10-year-old boy named Patrick Mahomes II sent footballs and baseballs through the Texas sky and was good at it, so good that his father realized he was throwing so far they had to find another place to throw. So Big Pat clarified when we talked a few years ago that he was a professional baseball player, so it was already large backyard, but he could not support his son. They found a baseball field nearby where Patrick could throw a baseball off the plate over a 220-foot outfield sign. Shortly thereafter, Mahomes outgrew that as well, and then they found a soccer field where the kid could throw the ball. However, even that had its limits, as Mahomes could shoot so far during warm-ups as a high school football player that his coaches worried about opponents. player was in danger on the other side of the field.

This is the story of Patrick Mahomes: the scene gets bigger, the moment gets bigger, and so does Mahomes. He keeps finding bigger and bigger venues and has yet to find one he can’t conquer. The whole world is a stage for Mahomes—a place to erase double-digit deficits, or send fan bases into year-wrecking nightmares, defensive backs into a crisis of confidence, or just slam a high school player in the helmet with a pass. The through line for those tormented by the splendor of Mahomes is usually to keep their heads high. Even that might not work.

Mahomes won his second Super Bowl on Sunday night, defeating the Philadelphia Eagles 38–35 in the last second. He is the first player in NFL history to win two Super Bowls and two MVPs in his first six seasons. He’s won both by erasing late leads, which he does with incredible regularity. His career record of 14-10 trailing in double figures is not only the best ever by a wide margin, but also the best winning percentage of many starting quarterbacks in their careers under normal conditions.

Mahomes after this game, after analyzing what was wrong in the first half, said that his team did not play in their usual style. joy. It goes to the heart of the matter: Chiefs’ best football is joyous because Mahomes’ best football is joyful, as it was when the backyard was too small for him. There is an innocence in his playing that almost no one has. Mahomes has a childish wonder that pulses in his playing style combined with the ability of a grown man to actually do it. If a little kid could figure out how he wants to play this game, he’d specialize in the type of throws Mahomes does – throws on the run, or throws from the sack, or inventing a new arm angle, because you need to. But most quarterbacks lose that innocence because they have to: they get more boring because they just can’t be anyone else. In short, football is an exciting game that boring people often make boring. Not Mahomes. He so effectively combined football intelligence and maturity – already well developed and growing with each season – with the ideas of a man who believes he is capable of anything against the best players in the world. He lives every child’s dream; he keeps getting better and never has to give up what makes football fun. He will never have to grow old.

Mahomes isn’t the only story to emerge from the Chiefs’ Super Bowl victory. We have a long way to go before we stop talking about penalty kicks on defense by James Bradbury of the Eagles (who admitted before the penalty) that more or less decided the game before Harrison Butker scored a field goal, a shot that Butker knew was good from the moment it came off his foot. The Eagles have performed well and could become worthy champions by building one of the best squads in football and using it to take a 10-point lead at half-time. But the difference in talent wasn’t big enough to keep Mahomes from breaking their hearts in the fourth quarter.

But history now is that we’ve never seen a quarterback like Patrick Mahomes. Tom Brady is unquestionably the greatest player of all time, and quarterbacks like Peyton Manning and Drew Brees have had a huge impact on the sport. But Mahomes’ career will be unlike anything we’ve ever seen; he wins championships and at the same time changes what we think is possible about quarterback play, or makes us reconsider how big a deficit is (until Sunday, the only previous double-digit halftime deficit to be wiped out in the Super Bowl was a Patriots win over ” Falcons”). When it comes to Mahomes, I borrowed Walter Isaacson’s phrase about creativity many times: Isaacson said it was the intersection of art and science. And this is Mahomes. The person playing the position is like an artist who has tested his abilities so thoroughly and knows the game so well that the art is rooted in a cold, harsh reality. He has practiced his craft to such an extent that no one knows that the wild things he does are not wild at all, they are just perfected.

He does all this for several reasons: he has one of the best offensive coaches in the history of football – Andy Reid. His organization provides him with a competitive roster every year and, above all, he is the best quarterback in the sport. With all these things put together, the word for the chiefs every year with Mahomes should be a conference talk, and even that can be disappointing. The Super Bowl is Patrick Mahomes’ stage and I feel very sorry for any AFC team trying to stop him from getting there.

“I wish I could make it easier, but I feel like I play better when we lose,” Mahomes said with a chuckle.

There’s a section of Bill Walsh’s classic The account will take care of itself where Walsh accurately outlined what it means to be on top at important moments. The answer is it doesn’t anything. Walsh said it was useless to tune in to the big game. More important, Walsh wrote, was to act with the usual preparation and be “so good that our opponents are the ones who will be distracted by the intensity and importance of the game.” No one, according to Walsh, will ever succeed if they say: “Now I will play well.” They just do what they have to do and the fittest win. That’s the essence of the Chief’s Miracle Factory: it’s not a miracle at all. Everything about it makes sense. Reid’s playfulness, his ability to create two touchdowns against the Eagles, doesn’t mean that Reed and Mahomes thought they were going to suddenly call. good plays in the big game; they just know enough to keep doing the same thing that has brought them five years of almost unparalleled success.

When it comes to football, Travis Kelsey said after the game, “This is not a fight for want.” Everyone wants it; few can actually get it like the chiefs. Reed, for his part, said he doesn’t have to do much to motivate his players into big positions. However, he said that after this game he told Mahomes that he loved him. So no, it wasn’t a miracle—hell, it wasn’t supposed to be a miracle. surprise. The Chiefs can generate yards very quickly, and the Eagles’ best chance of getting to Mahomes was with their historically nasty pass rush, which was mostly controlled by the Chiefs offensive line on Sunday without sacks. Thanks to General Manager Brett Wych for knowing how to fill holes and completely fix a team’s biggest weakness in two years, and to Mahomes himself, who is a master at not only avoiding pressure, but also turning these games into a positive yard. Steelers forward T.J. Watt told me midweek how frustrating it is when he gets close to Mahomes, or even wraps around him, and he throws the ball, usually with a little pass with a shovel under the arms of a defender – not just a shot, but good throw. Almost the same move came when Eagles DT’s Jordan Davis approached him on Sunday’s first pass at Kelch. Mahomes’ crucial 26-yard scrimmage was a perfect example of what makes him so difficult to win: a collapsing pocket against the defensive line, which had a historic scoring this year, and Mahomes, whose 4.8-second The 40m rushing yardage isn’t particularly impressive, and that’s when he’s not running with a sprained ankle – using the space he always seems to find to create a massive game.

But what struck me after the game was Mahomes’ reflection on how he got here. He “appreciates failure” and singled out two obvious ones: losing the Super Bowl to the Bucks two years ago with a damaged offensive line and losing last year’s AFC title game to the Bengals. In both cases, he learned a lesson. He told me last year that he watched the Tampa Bay game twice – not to Last dance– in the spirit of revenge patrons, but simply to learn. He saw that he was giving up reading too soon; he didn’t like the way he reacted to the pressure. After losing to Cincinnati, he was frustrated that the team didn’t keep up offensive pressure in the second half and told me at training camp that he coached simple things like final practice strong to make sure it doesn’t happen again. This is wrong. On Sunday night, he said he briefly told the team at half-time that everything they did was for this moment. And it was true. He appreciated failure and learned from it, but it wouldn’t matter if he couldn’t close.

Of course he did, and while the mood in the Chiefs’ postgame locker room was jubilant, it apparently took on a tone reminiscent of the Brady-era Patriots locker room in the Super Bowl, where no one seemed so shocked that Mahomes was able to lead…


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