Most Kansas City Chiefs fans figured that their quarterback Patrick Mahomes would stand atop the NFL’s Top 100 list when NFL Network finished its multi-day countdown on Wednesday night. They — and many around the league — were dumbfounded when Mahomes was listed the league’s fourth-best player behind Lamar Jackson, Russell Wilson and Aaron Donald,
But when they spoke with the press on Thursday, the reigning Super Bowl MVP’s teammates were more than happy to stand by their quarterback.
“I couldn’t believe it,” said safety Tyrann Mathieu. “[But I wasn’t] that surprised. Players are voting for these things. Pat has been handling his business since he’s got in the league, so maybe he don’t have that many fans in the league,” he chuckled.
But Mathieu said that the snub could give Mahomes some additional motivation — as if he needed it.
“I’m sure he’s motivated,” he said. “I know a lot of his teammates are motivated as well. We all feel like he’s not only the best player in the NFL, but one of the best teammates as well.”
That said, Mathieu explained that the voting process wasn’t exactly scientific.
“I feel like a lot of guys don’t watch that much TV, so when we do we can kind of get caught up into whatever ESPN is saying about who is having a really good season.
“To be honest, most of the time, when we vote for this is after practice; we don’t really want to be there. Guys are kind of looking at each other, like, ‘Hey, who’s having a good season?’ So we’re just kind of putting names down.”
Just the same, Mathieu thinks he wouldn’t change much about it.
“Obviously you want to kind of keep the players involved with that. I think it’s fun for the game. Obviously not everybody likes where they get ranked at — but I think that’s part of it. I wouldn’t change anything about it — [except] I’d probably get that list to the players before practice. That way, we could actually think about who [we’re] voting for.”
Wherever he might be ranked in the Top 100, right tackle Mitchell Schwartz is happy to be protecting Mahomes.
“It’s nice having him on our side — that’s for sure,” he said. “Obviously the new contract is more than justified. It’s exciting to know that he’s going to be here forever — and obviously the Royals ownership stake — he just keeps investing himself in the city; there’s a pretty special connection between him and the city. I think when I first got here, someone said that the last homegrown Chiefs quarterback to win X number of games or win a playoff game — or something — had been like 30 years [ago].
“Kansas City drafted Pat,” said Schwartz. “He’s the guy. He’s homegrown. Best quarterback in the NFL. Hopefully, he’s got 15 or 20 years left. It’s going to be really fun to see. I’ll be long gone [from the team] by the time he’s in his late 30s, but I’ll be rooting him on.”
“You can’t tell me there’s a better quarterback than him — that’s for sure,” said tight end Travis Kelce. “You can turn on whatever film you want. He’s the best player in the National Football League in my mind. He led us to a Super Bowl because he is that.
“I was very fortunate to have a great quarterback in Alex Smith; I’ve always thought very highly of him,” recalled Kelce. “I’m excited to see what he’s got going out in Washington right now. But when Pat got into the huddle, it was just a little bit different, man.
“I think he brought a different energy — a different style — to the game that even I was a little more accustomed to; just ‘going out there and playing ball in the backyard’ type of football. As he progresses — as he starts to learn more about defenses and gets into defensive coordinators’ minds — his game is just going to keep going up and up.
“It’s a fun time to be a Kansas City Chief,” concluded Kelce. “It’s because 1-5 is in the building, for sure.”