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Patrick Mahomes and Andy Reid led Chiefs from 2023’s wilderness to Super Bowl

It didn’t seem Kansas City could have success in the playoffs — but with its head coach and quarterback, it did.

AFC Championship - Kansas City Chiefs v Baltimore Ravens Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

After Sunday’s 17-10 upset win over the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC Championship, Kansas City Chiefs’ quarterback Patrick Mahomes is getting ready to play in his fourth Super Bowl in five years.

When people talk about the greatest players in history, the first thing they mention is hardware — and Mahomes has an eye on adding another Lombardi Trophy to the case at Arrowhead Stadium.

From champs to underdogs

The Chiefs struggled during the regular season. Sometimes, the offense sputtered. Outside of the locker room, there were murmurs that the team might not have what it takes to run it back to the Super Bowl

But inside the locker room, it was a different story.

“We always had everything we wanted in front of us,” Mahomes told reporters after Sunday’s win. “We had that mindset... No one hung their head — and everybody was ready to go. And now we’re going to the Super Bowl.”

Mahomes believes that head coach Andy Reid’s ability to have a consistent approach — whether the team is winning or losing — has been a key factor.

“There’s no difference,” said the quarterback. “The only time I’ve seen coach Reid — like, kind of a little bit more excited — is after winning the Super Bowl. Other than that, it’s like [he’s] the same exact person.”

Poking the bear

As Mahomes was going through his pregame warmups on Sunday, Ravens’ placekicker Justin Tucker tried to play head games with the opposing quarterback — but Mahomes seemed unfazed.

This was just another incident in a week full of people doubting that the Chiefs had what it would take to beat Baltimore.

Kansas City general manager Brett Veach doesn’t understand the thinking behind that kind of play against Mahomes.

“Why anyone would do that — throw shade at him like that?” he asked reporters after the game. “Because you know he’s going to give you his best shot anyway; there’s no need to poke the bear.

“But if they want to do it... well, we certainly appreciate it.”

60-minute title fight

Before the game, many had wondered whether Mahomes and the Chiefs could win postseason games on the road. There is much less doubt about that now.

“Yeah, it was cool,” he said, “just going into two hostile environments, having to come together as a team and to win those games and hold that trophy. It really was special.”

Reid was especially impressed by how well Mahomes played early in the game.

“Pat Mahomes did a great job — as he normally does,” noted Reid. “But starting the game off with 11 completions? That’s something something special.”

Reid and offensive coordinator Matt Nagy came out on a heater, dialing up one of the team’s best drives of the season. It gained 86 yards on 10 plays — and culminated with an amazing 19-yard touchdown pass to tight end Travis Kelce.

As far as Mahomes is concerned, that’s all in a day’s work for Kelce.

“We heard about how great their defense was,” said the quarterback. “For Travis, that’s like, ‘All right, what can I do against this great defense?’

“So he has that mindset. He led us like that. [In] every single practice [and] every single walkthrough, he was focused in.”

Kelce had another big play early in the second quarter. On a third-and-5 (with the score tied 7-7), Mahomes scrambled in the backfield for what seemed like an eternity before floating a pass to Kelce back across his body. The tight end made a diving catch — but according to Mahomes, he was just trying to get open.

“I mean, of course, Travis ran the wrong route,” revealed the quarterback, “so he ended up getting the football... I was kind of trying to find a way to run, but they were doing a good job of containing me with the D-line. Then Travis just worked his way to get open... I threw the ball, and he made a heck of a catch. I mean, he’s a special player, man. And I always say it: when the lights get brighter, he plays better.”

This game, however, was all about defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo’s unit.

“Spags, it seems like when the games get bigger — when the challenges get higher — he performs even better,” marveled Mahomes. “The guys executed the game plan... they got timely turnovers...

“Whenever they’re rolling like that, I have to kind of manage my game... Even if we’re not having the success that I want to have, the defense is rolling and getting stops.

“Let’s just take the safe choice: get the ball to my hand, don’t turn the ball over, and let’s go win a football game.”

Unfinished business

This isn’t Mahomes’ first rodeo — but no matter how many Super Bowls you reach, you should never take one for granted.

“You never know how many you’re going to get to— or if you’re going to get to any, so it truly is special... But I’ve told them, I mean, the job’s not done.”

“He’s a legend,” said Veach of Mahomes. “So I mean, it’s a blessing that he’s part of this organization. He’s the best. And it’s hard to describe a player like him because he’s good in everything he does. He gives everyone that belief and hope... If we have No. 15 under center, we have a shot.”

It's Game Time.

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