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Patrick Mahomes changed the way football is played

It’s a privilege to watch this man play football.

We’ve all heard the stories about how it was love at first sight, the moment Kansas City Chiefs general manager Brett Veach first laid eyes on quarterback Patrick Mahomes. Back in 2020, Veach appeared on the Ross Tucker Football Podcast and said that when he was scouting Mahomes prior to the 2017 NFL Draft, that he was the best football player he had ever seen.

“At the time, in regard to my volume of work and the quarterbacks I had seen, I’d never seen anybody like Pat Mahomes and never saw a better football player.”

And despite all of this, I don’t think the Chiefs knew what they truly had in Mahomes when they moved up to select him 10th overall in the first round. I’m sure they knew they had found their franchise quarterback— they might have even believed they had a future Hall of Famer on their hands— but nobody could have predicted the game-changer that Mahomes was going to be.

Making history

Here is a simple fact that some people aren’t ready to acknowledge— Mahomes is the greatest quarterback of all time. In only five seasons as a starter in the NFL, he has—

  • Made it to the AFC Championship game every season.
  • Appeared in three Super Bowls and won two of them.
  • Led his team to 13 fourth-quarter comebacks.
  • Been the only quarterback in NFL history to average at least 300 passing yards per game.
  • And he is only the third quarterback in NFL history to have a .800 winning percentage or higher for his career, and the only player to do it in the last 49 years.

Mahomes is so unfathomably great, that his own father (Pat Mahomes Sr.), who played professional baseball for 11 seasons, said to his son after his second Super Bowl victory that, “I ain’t never seen anything like you. You different.”

Think about that. If there was one person who should know how good Mahomes is. It’s his own father— I mean this is a guy who was on the same pitching staff with Roger Clemens and pitched against Barry Bonds. Mahomes Sr. was a teammate to six Major League Hall of Famers, and Mahomes still managed to shock him.

Understanding greatness

When you think about Mahomes, you have to think about him alongside the greatest athletes in human history: Michael Jordan, Mickey Mantle, Serena Williams, etc. Each one of these players was talented, but talent alone didn’t make them legends.

Take this story for instance:

In 1976, former heavyweight boxing champ George Foreman stepped into the ring against Ron Lyle. It was his first fight since his heartbreaking defeat to Muhammad Ali in the Rumble in the Jungle. The first three rounds were a flurry of haymakers that saw each fighter get knocked down. In the fourth round, Foreman had Lyle on the ropes, but Lyle fought back and landed a jaw-dropping right cross that dropped Foreman limp on the canvas.

Somewhere deep inside, Foreman found the resolve to get up and fight on. Foreman would go on to knock out Lyle in the fifth round. After the fight, Foreman said,

“...I was in the fight of my life. I had to get up and fire back when I was groggy and I’d never been in that position.”

That’s the difference between talent and greatness. Everyone has a plan until they get hit in the mouth. You have to be able to find the resolve to get up off the mat and keep swinging until you’re the only one left standing.

Mahomes has these types of moments in spades.

Jet Chip Wasp

Halfway through the fourth quarter in Super Bowl LIV, the Chiefs trailed the San Francisco 49ers 20-10 and were facing a crucial third-and-15 that they needed to convert. Mahomes went to the sideline and asked for the now-infamous play Jet Chip Wasp play that resulted in a 44-yard gain and a new set of downs. The Chiefs would go on to complete the comeback and win their first Super Bowl in 50 years.

13 seconds

When you’re Mahomes, 13 seconds is more than enough time on the clock to do something special — as it was in the 2021 Divisional Round playoff game against the Buffalo Bills. With 13 seconds left in the game, Mahomes drove the Chiefs down the field and set up the game-tying field goal. The Chiefs would go on to win in overtime 42-36. This game might go down as the greatest win of Mahomes’ career.

The ankle injury

In the 2022 postseason, Patrick Mahomes battled through a high ankle sprain that he suffered against the Jacksonville Jaguars in the Divisional Round game. His toughness and determination were evident in every limp and grimace as he gritted his teeth through the pain. This culminated late in the second half of Super Bowl LVII — with 2:55 seconds left in the fourth quarter, the Chiefs desperately needed him to pull another miracle out of his hat.

Mahomes faded back to pass, but when nobody was open and he saw the green grass in front of him, he did the unthinkable and decided to tuck the ball and make a run for it, scrambling up the middle for 26 yards on a bum ankle, picking up the first down.

Redefining the position

Prior to Mahomes, NFL teams coveted fundamentally sound quarterbacks who sat in the pocket and calmly went through their progressions. Now, players like Anthony Richardson are drafted in the top five picks and working on 30-yard jump passes in practice.

Mahomes has re-written the rules of what is acceptable, and even possible for a quarterback in the NFL. Beyond his athletic ability, it is his determination that is the connective tissue — the sinew and tendons that tie it all together in his body.

Mahomes is a game-changer because he literally changed the way the game is played.

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