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Chiefs’ Patrick Mahomes continues to show he is in a class of his own

Once again, Mahomes has shown us he is unlike any other NFL quarterback.

NFL: JAN 29 AFC Championship - Bengals at Chiefs Photo by William Purnell/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

It has been a glorious time. During the past two weeks, 30 other NFL fan bases have been deep into conversations about next season and how their teams can improve. But we have been watching the Kansas City Chiefs prepare for their third Super Bowl in four years against the NFC Champion Philadelphia Eagles — and Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes win his second NFL MVP award.

But it didn’t always seem obvious that the Chiefs would get here.

I woke up on the day of the AFC Championship against the Cincinnati Bengals with a deep feeling of dread. My wife could tell I was worried about something, so she asked me what it was.

“The last three of these games have been decided by three points,” I replied. “This one probably will be, too. It will most likely come down to a gutsy performance by one team and a kick at the end to decide the winner.”

My wife has become quite the superfan herself, so we talked about it. We agreed that with Mahomes’ ankle injury — and tight end Travis Kelce suddenly appearing on the injury report with back issues — it was almost impossible to have deep confidence in the team. In three straight games, Cincinnati had been the team to win at the end.

But I had still picked the Chiefs to win by three.

Why? Because Kansas City has Mahomes. We keep thinking that we have seen him do it all, but he continues to surprise us.

When he scrambled for the first down and got out of bounds with just eight seconds remaining — setting up Harrison Butker’s game-winning 45-yard field goal — Bengals linebacker Joseph Ossai hit him late. After watching the replay at least a hundred times, I could not get over Mahaomes’ toughness and courage.

But I wasn’t the only one who was impressed. As Mahomes was walking back to the bench, Kelce was holding his arm across his quarterback’s chest. In subsequent replays with audio, you can hear Kelce telling Mahomes, “You are a warrior!

There is a side to Mahomes that we don’t get to see very often. While he’s doing interviews, he is a kind-hearted, “Aw, shucks” kind of guy. He never says the wrong thing. He is always respectful — and is quick to deflect praise and to his teammates and coaches.

I mean, after the game — when he and Cincinnati quarterback Joe Burrow met at midfield — Mahomes used the word “sir” after almost every sentence.

But I think Kelce was right. I have noticed that when Mahomes is on the field, he has the look of a warrior: someone who can lead his team to victory even when there is no hope. Someone who can succeed through sheer force of will. We have seen this look many times. The last offensive play against the Bengals was simply the most recent example.

After five full seasons of watching a player who will most likely go down as one of the greatest of all time, we have a problem: we have almost run out of adjectives and superlatives to describe the league’s best player. But after watching him at the end of the victory over the Bengals, I believe that he is like England’s King Richard II — who was called “Richard the Lionheart” for his noble bravery and leadership. Like King Richard, he is nothing less than a warrior — one who possesses the heart of a lion.

And I think he is going to show it one more time this season.

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