In a wide-ranging podcast interview with Associated Press reporter Rob Maaddi on Wednesday, Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes discussed whether his team can become the first repeat Super Bowl winner since Tom Brady and the New England Patriots notched a second-straight championship following the 2004 season.
But the league’s two-time MVP (and two-time Super Bowl MVP) recognizes that it’s not so easy to do.
“I think it’s so difficult because there’s so much player movement these days,” he explained. “I mean, you see so many different guys [from] free agency or trades — and you [have] guys coming into the draft that are great players. So every team is getting better and better each and every year.
“And it’s hard to win the Super Bowl. I think I’ve noticed that from my first win to my second. You can do everything the right way — and you don’t win. So to be able to repeat it, you have to just continue to work and work and work — and try to get yourself in a position to win those big games.
“I’m confident in us because we’ve had a lot of guys that are coming back now that have won a Super Bowl — [that have] been in that big moment. But at the same time, we got to go out there and prove it. It starts — literally — next week.”
One of those returning players is Travis Kelce, who is widely (if not universally) recognized as the game’s best tight end. In Mahomes’ mind, Kelce’s effort has placed the 11th-year pro on an even higher plateau.
“Obviously he’s got all the physical talent — and really can understand how to run routes for his different coverages,” observed his quarterback. “But he works his tail off to do that — and he prepares himself.
“Obviously, everybody sees the fun in the offseason (and at ‘The Match’ or whatever it is), but they don’t see how hard he works when he’s in the building. I think a lot of guys respect that. That’s why he goes out there and he’s the most-liked guy — but also, the best tight end of all time.”
Mahomes can make that judgment after six seasons as Kelce’s teammate. While he hasn’t yet played a full season with wide receiver Kadarius Toney — whom the Chiefs acquired in a midseason trade with the New York Giants last year — Mahomes admits he is still very excited about the possibilities Toney’s talent (and hard work) could bring to the Kansas City offense under head coach Andy Reid.
“Obviously, we’re gonna try to keep him healthy — and on the field as much as possible — because when he’s on the field, he’s a difference-maker,” declared Mahomes. “I think y’all saw that when he was with us this last year — and in the Super Bowl, especially. He’s one of those guys that [if] you can get the ball in his hands, he makes plays happen.
“So I’m excited for him to have a full season — not only with me, but [also] with Coach Reid and with Travis where he can learn how we do things. I think the sky is the limit. He can be one of the best receivers in this league.”
Mahomes believes Reid can get that kind of result out of Toney for a simple reason: because in large part, he credits Reid with his own success in the league.
“He’s meant the world to me,” said Mahomes of Reid’s influence on him. “He’s just the best. He’s the best coach, obviously — one of the best coaches of all time.
“[But] he’s [also] just one of the best people of all time. He’s learned how to get the most out of me every day. He doesn’t let me be satisfied with where I’m at. He teaches me a ton — not only the quarterback position, but how to be a leader and how to be a great dad and how to be a great husband.
“He lets me be who I am every single day. I think if I’d have went to some other places, I would’ve had to learn how to play the quarterback position a different way. He just lets me play the quarterback position the way that I want to play it. I think that’s what’s made me such a different type of quarterback in this league.”
Mahomes is not just a different type of quarterback, but a different type of champion quarterback. Chiefs fans aren’t the only ones thinking about what it will take for his legacy to overtake the one established by the recently-retired Brady, who now holds seven Super Bowl rings. But Mahomes said he is choosing to define it in a different way.
“I think everybody thinks about legacy and how they’re remembered,” he admitted to Maaddi. “But I think you have to think about that — [and] at the same time, evaluate every day how you can become better [and] how you can maximize every single day.
“Then — whenever your career’s done — you have no regrets. That’s what I’ve always preached: it’s not about success of that day. It’s about having no regrets at the end of your career.
“I think if you work hard every single day and put everything you have into the game, when you look back at the end of your career — however many trophies you have and however many Super Bowl rings you have — you’ll have no regrets.”
It’s probably not going out on a limb to suggest that if Mahomes can truly end his career with no regrets, there will be little concern among Kansas City fans about how many championships he was able to win.