Head Coach Andy Reid and quarterback Patrick Mahomes are working together for a fourth season. In Mahomes’ first year with the Kansas City Chiefs, he was a backup to Alex Smith until the final game of the 2017 regular season.
After being selected in the first round by Kansas City, Mahomes’ agent lined up a number of local endorsements for the rookie signal caller.
Mahomes turned them all down.
His agent used all his sales skills to point out that his job was getting Mahomes gigs that paid money that they split.
Mahomes had hired his agent to negotiate his contract, and in addition the advertising engagements were expected to be accepted without controversy. Why not do the deals?
Mahomes had an answer.
‘This is Alex Smith’s team, he is the starting quarterback. I’m not interested in taking the spotlight from him. My time will come, but right now Smith has earned the undivided attention.’
Clearly this is not the way most rookies would handle this situation. Another tribute to just how special Mahomes is both on and off the field.
On the final day of the 2017 season, Mahomes moved into the starting role after the Chiefs had been eliminated from playoff consideration. He led a road win over AFC West Division rival Denver, 27-24.
In his first start after Smith had been traded to the Washington Redskins, Mahomes led a road win over the Los Angeles Chargers to open the 2018 regular season. He threw his first four professional touchdowns in a 38-28 win. By season end, endorsements for Mahomes had expanded to national ads not available before his rookie season. In short order, Mahomes’ time had come.
His season closing rookie season win and opening day victory the following season had similar scripts. In both games, the Chiefs jumped ahead, 24-10 against the Denver Broncos and 31-12 entering the fourth quarter versus the Los Angeles Chargers. In both games, they needed to hold on late to preserve the wins.
In his first AFC Championship Game, Mahomes matched skills against the confirmed best quarterback ever, Tom Brady. In this game, the Chiefs fell behind by two touchdowns early, and by 10 points in the second half, before taking a touchdown lead late by virtue of 24 fourth quarter points.
Had it not been for an off-side call against Dee Ford, the Chiefs advantage might have stood up. An apparent game clinching interception was wiped out because Ford lined up offsides.
After that game, which almost predictably ended with Brady capitalizing on his second chance with a game tying touchdown and another in overtime to clinch the win, the Patriots quarterback went to the losing locker room to offer words of encouragement to the Chiefs young signal caller.
Mahomes never got the ball after the game went to overtime, but a peg in the path to greatness was driven home in that overtime playoff loss. Brady saw it, and acknowledged the young QB with words of encouragement that in essence let Mahomes know that the best ever saw him as the best future QB.
The next year, Mahomes would lead the Chiefs to a Super Bowl win which included a regular season victory over Brady and his Patriots, 23-16. This November, these two quarterbacks tangled on the same field that will serve as Sunday’s venue, and the Chiefs built up a big third quarter lead, 27-10, and hung on for a 27-24 win over Brady’s Buccaneers. The game evened the Brady versus Mahomes matchups at two games each.
Brady has won the only postseason game in which he has faced Mahomes, and his move to the NFC Tampa Bay Buccaneers this year made next Sunday’s Super Bowl matchup possible.
Could this be a battle reminiscent of Muhammad Ali versus Larry Holmes, or does Brady have enough left in his 43-year-old body to beat the kid for a third time? Remembering, this is two years after Brady acknowledged Mahomes’ future greatness.
It would be just like Brady to compliment someone and then beat them; but the look of Super Bowl LV currently appears destined for a repeat.