KANSAS CITY, Mo. — It wasn’t that way back the Kansas Town Chiefs questioned if Patrick Mahomes had been too just right to be true.
4 touchdowns within the season opener, adopted via six the following week and 3 extra the week after that. The physics-warping arm angles and the no-look lasers into impossibly tight areas. The unbridled pleasure and whole unaffectedness.
No means Mahomes may just stick with it, proper?
“That first couple of video games, we idea, `Is that this an outlier? Is that this one thing that’s going to final?’” Chiefs CEO and chairman Clark Hunt stated Saturday. “He actually has completed it each week.”
Simply 23, Mahomes has proved to be greater than a franchise quarterback on this, his first complete season as a starter. He’s been transformational for a staff whose postseason miseries are as long as they’re well-documented. The 31-13 victory over Indianapolis within the divisional spherical Saturday was once simplest Kansas Town’s 2d playoff win within the final 12 tries.
Kansas Town quarterback Patrick Mahomes. (Photograph: Mark J. Rebilas, USA TODAY Sports activities)
It additionally was once the primary playoff win at Arrowhead Stadium because the 1993 season, which, coincidentally, is the final time the Chiefs reached the AFC identify sport. And when Kansas Town hosts New England subsequent weekend, bringing the person who has carried the NFL the final 15 years head to head with the person who will elevate it the following 15, it’ll be the primary time the AFC Championship has been performed at Arrowhead.
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Thoughts-boggling, taking into consideration the winner of the sport is awarded the Lamar Hunt Trophy, named for the Chiefs’ founder and Clark Hunt’s father.
“We’re excited we get to play right here and feature a possibility to visit the Tremendous Bowl right here,” Mahomes mentioned.
A powerhouse within the outdated AFL, the Chiefs have had their moments because the merger. There was once the Joe Montana and Marcus Allen Technology, after all. Tony Gonzalez were given them to the playoffs a couple of instances. So did Jamaal Charles. Underneath trainer Andy Reid, Kansas Town has been a typical within the playoffs.
But it surely was once by no means slightly just right sufficient.
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Punter Dustin Colquitt, who has been in Kansas Town for his whole 14-year profession, recalls looking at the Chiefs’ next-door neighbors win the Global Sequence in 2015 and pondering there was once no reason why his staff couldn’t do what the Royals had been doing. They only wanted a couple of extra avid gamers.
Requested Saturday evening if they’ve the ones avid gamers, Colquitt smiled.
“I feel it’s tricky to argue now not,” he mentioned, his eyes mechanically glancing at Mahomes’ locker.
Mahomes was once one thing of an enigma popping out of Texas Tech. There was once no query he may just throw the ball – he handed for five,052 yards in his final season with the Pink Raiders and had a profession QB ranking of 152 – however he’d simplest began for 2 seasons. Seasons during which Texas Tech was once a non-factor within the Large 12.
However Mahomes was once additionally mature past his years, and rising up in Primary League Baseball clubhouses had ready him for each the grind of a professional profession and the pitfalls that may include superstar. With Alex Smith the established starter when Mahomes was once drafted, he turned into a sponge, finding out up to he may just with out getting beaten or boastful about his setting.
“I’m pleased with the best way he is going about his trade,” Reid mentioned. “It’s major your quarterback does that. He had an ideal instructor in Alex.”
The Chiefs parted techniques with Smith final offseason, as have been anticipated, and gave the keys to the franchise to Mahomes. He has but to disappoint.
He turned into simplest the 3rd participant with 50 touchdowns in a season, becoming a member of Peyton Manning and Tom Brady, whilst throwing simply 12 interceptions. He led the Chiefs to the No. 1 seed – and all-important homefield merit – and is the heavy favourite for NFL MVP.
“Trainer Reid and (offensive coordinator Eric) Bieniemy have completed an ideal activity of managing a deadly weapon,” Colquitt mentioned. “The cool factor is, he’s now not hanging the whole thing on his shoulders. He’s simply going out and doing precisely what the coaches inform him to do, and it’s amusing.”
And everyone seems to be in on it.
Despite the fact that Mahomes is the Chiefs’ undisputed big name, he has proven little interest in making it a one-man display. He’s fast to reward his teammates after video games. He’s taking it in stride when Reid and his teammates razz him about his coiffure and scratchy voice. (Offering a teachable second for all youngsters getting teased or going via an ungainly section, too.) He stays unfailingly well mannered, sprinkling conversations with “Sir” and “Ma’am.”
“That’s simply his persona and staff has truly rallied round him,” Hunt mentioned. “They consider in him. That’s an important high quality if you wish to win the AFC Championship and cross to the Tremendous Bowl.”
The speculation of that in truth going down would possibly appear too just right to be true for the Chiefs and their long-suffering lovers. However as Mahomes has already confirmed, there is not any such factor.
Practice USA TODAY Sports activities columnist Nancy Armour on Twitter @nrarmour.