Just a year ago — as Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes was rocketing through a 50-touchdown, 5,000-yard season that landed him the NFL’s MVP award in only his first season as a starter, NFL writers across the country were scribbling about What It All Means.
“Could this be the end of defense in the NFL?” they asked — clearly unable to foresee the New England Patriots’ 13-3 victory over the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl LIII.
Now a year later — with Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson dominating not only the running lanes but the MVP conversation — the writers are all running the other way.
“Could this be the end of pocket passers in the NFL?” they wonder.
But while NFL writers may be sheep — albeit with fingers suitable for typing — they at least have the ability to pick out these amazing performances. And during the Chiefs bye week, all they’ve been able to talk about is Jackson’s performances in the last two games — in which the Ravens outscored the Houston Texans and Los Angeles Rams 86-10.
And so it came to pass that on Wednesday — when the local scribes once again had a chance to talk to last season’s MVP — they wanted to know what Mahomes thought about Jackson.
“The league in general — and the quarterbacks that are in this league right now and the quarterback play — it’s such a high level,” said Mahomes. “And so you see every single year, it seems like someone else is coming out and putting their stamp on the game and how you can go about [having] success here. Lamar’s playing at an extremely high level right now -- not only what he’s able to do with his legs, but the way he’s able to get in the pocket and hit these seam throws and hit these shots down the field -- and you understand that with the more and more experience he [gets], he’s really understanding what defenses are trying to do to him.”
Here we see yet another example of how perceptive and intelligent this young man really is. Even in the midst of all the madness swirling around him, he is able to recognize that each season, offenses find new ways to succeed on the field — but even so, that success is largely a product of how well they evaluate what defenses do to counter them.
“He’s playing at a great level right now,” Mahomes added. “Watson, Wilson, Brady — all these guys are playing at the top of the game — [and] Rodgers, so for me to be just a part of that and to go about it every single day, it’s exciting.”
Mahomes has world-class football IQ — combined with a healthy dose of humility — and yet, he’s still able to recognize how special the talent he possesses really is, and how important it is for him to utilize it properly.
The sheep are going to run in different directions every season. That’s just what they do. But Patrick Mahomes is running in just one direction. It leads straight to Canton, Ohio.