Mahomes on path to immortality ahead of Super Bowl

Agence France-Presse
Mahomes on path to immortality ahead of Super Bowl
Patrick Mahomes

LAS VEGAS – Whether he wins or loses in Sunday's Super Bowl (Monday Manila time), Patrick Mahomes is already well on his way to NFL immortality.

Merely by reaching his fourth Super Bowl, the gifted Kansas City Chiefs star is already on pace to surpass the achievements of the greatest quarterback in the sport's history.

Still only 28, Mahomes is two years younger than Tom Brady was when he played in his fourth Super Bowl in 2007.

A victory against the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday would see Mahomes join Brady and Troy Aikman as the only quarterbacks to win three Super Bowls before their 30th birthdays.

If Mahomes ends up hoisting the Vince Lombardi Trophy for a third time this weekend, the idea of him one day matching or beating Brady's record tally of seven Super Bowl titles might not seem so fanciful.

Typically, the down-to-earth Mahomes, bats away comparisons with Brady, who put the pretender to his throne firmly in his place three years ago by leading Tampa Bay to victory over the Chiefs in Super Bowl 55.

"Tom got like seven Super Bowls, every single record in the book," Mahomes said.

"All I can do is be the best Patrick Mahomes I can be every single day, and that's what I'll continue to do."

Mahomes does hope to emulate Brady's freakish longevity, however. The former New England and Tampa Bay star retired at 45 after 23 seasons.

"I want to play as long as they'll let me play," Mahomes says. "Fifteen (more) years seems like a long time but Brady did it and some other guys have done it so I'm going to try to strive to see if I can do it as well."

Anyone paying attention to Mahomes' career trajectory would not be surprised if he manages that ambitious goal.

"The one thing about Pat is his competitiveness — he's never satisfied with where he is," says Mahomes's close friend and teammate Travis Kelce.

Courage under fire

Selected by the Chiefs with the 10th overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, Mahomes's career took off the following year when he was promoted to starter.

A remarkable season saw him finish with 5,097 yards and 50 touchdowns, only the second quarterback in history to post those numbers after Peyton Manning.

That stellar year, which culminated in a Most Valuable Player award, also made him one of only eight quarterbacks to throw for more than 5,000 yards in a season.

Blessed with natural athletic ability — he is the son former Major League Baseball pitcher Pat Mahomes — Mahomes believes his howitzer arm strength stems from playing baseball in his youth.

Yet it is his temperament and ability to thrive in adversity, as much as his sumptuous range of skills, that has set Mahomes apart through his career to date.

In both of his previous Super Bowl wins, Mahomes led the Chiefs to come-from-behind victories, recovering from double-digit deficits to beat the 49ers in 2020 and the Philadelphia Eagles last year.

That sort of courage under fire was in full display this season, when Mahomes led the Chiefs in back-to-back road wins against Buffalo and Baltimore to advance to Sunday's Super Bowl.

Former Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy said Mahomes relishes the opportunity to dig his team out of trouble.

"Players gravitate towards him," Bieniemy said. "He's not afraid to tell guys 'Hey, get on my back, I'm going to take you to the Promised Land.' That's the thing that stands out more than anything -- his willingness to make himself vulnerable. The kid has a beautiful mind."

Kelce echoed those sentiments.

"He's the reason why we're here and why we're able to keep coming back," the Chiefs tight end said this week. "He just gives his team a certain sense of urgency and confidence that we can go and get it. He's a once-in-a-lifetime player, man. And when you put that guy on a team, he makes everybody better."

Mahomes, meanwhile, says he is driven by a desire to make the most of his talent.

"I don't want to look back at my career and say I regret how I performed every single day," he said. "If I give everything I have I can be satisfied with the results and that's what drives me every single day."

A win on Sunday would arguably be the Chiefs' most notable win of the Mahomes era. The team struggled during the regular season but eventually built momentum before reaching a fourth Super Bowl in five seasons.

"To be in the Super Bowl when no one really believed in us — and no one really did believe in us — I think it's really cool.

"So let's go out there and finish the job."

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