No one is to blame for Patrick Mahomes injury
By Matt Conner
No one deserves to be blamed for the fact that the Kansas City Chiefs lost their quarterback Patrick Mahomes to a knee injury on Thursday night.
It was a nightmare scenario for the Kansas City Chiefs. Star quarterback Patrick Mahomes was unable to get up on his own after a layered stack of 300-pound men were slowly pulled off of him after converting a quarterback sneak on a fourth down call.
It was primetime. It was a short week. Mahomes was already dealing with a sore ankle, one that had lingered for six full weeks. There, as he called for help, it was clear that something major was wrong, that the reigning NFL MVP wasn’t just going to shrug this one off as he did in Week 1 (and Week 5 and Week 6).
Unfortunately we were all awake; the nightmare was very real.
Instincts kicked in. These are helpful instincts. When something is wrong, when there is a victim, when an injustice has occurred, we begin to look for ways to make it right.
Is someone at fault? They deserve to be punished.
Is the system unfair? Let’s raise awareness.
Looking at Mahomes with his hands over his face as the Chiefs trainers attended to him on Thursday night, the instincts told us all to do something. Questions were asked. Blame was passed around.
In this instance, however, our instincts to pin all of these frustrations on something or someone should be ignored. It’s understandable to want to channel the aggression, the frustration, the sadness at a loss of such an incredible player in a tangible direction. We were all shocked. We needed an outlet.
Here’s the thing: sometimes these things just happen.
This can be hard to understand in the times we’re living in. A woman sued FedEx after she tripped over a package on her porch. She called it negligent placement. A nursing student sued her school after she failed a test twice citing a proper lack of help for her nerves. A little closer to home, a Missouri woman recently sued Lambert’s Cafe—literally known as the home of the “throwed rolls”—for getting hit by thrown food.
These lawsuits are the very definition of frivolous but they serve as examples of our propensity to look for someone to blame, a way to channel our anger, when we’ve been hurt. Instead of accepting pain and suffering as a natural part of life, we want someone else to hurt in the same way that we do.
Back to Mahomes. As the team called for a medical cart (that they wouldn’t need) and we all struggled to understand exactly what was happening, the blame machine began to fire up. How could Andy Reid call a quarterback sneak? The head coach suddenly became the lightning for everyone’s fears about Mahomes’ long-term health. He already had an ankle injury!
Here’s the thing. If pain and suffering are a natural part of life, they are especially so in the world of professional sports. Football is actually more toward the gladiatorial side of things, making it perhaps the most violent sport of all. Every week, players are lost to injury. The Chiefs were already limping into their Thursday Night Football showdown against the Denver Broncos.
It’s odd that no one was pointing fingers when, say, Martinas Rankin had to leave the game.
It’s fine to question the play calling of a head coach. Armchair quarterbacks do it every week for every coach from every fan base. It’s a part of watching and enjoying the game of football. But Mahomes was suited up and ready to play. If the Chiefs had reason to believe a long-term injury was waiting to happen, they could have left him inactive. They had every reason to explain to fans that he needed rest for the ankle already bothering him.
Instead, he was active and playing and, in that instance, of course you run a quarterback sneak.
We’re all frustrated that Mahomes is injured, and we’re all praying that the results of the scheduled MRI are as positive as they can be. One church is even scheduling some prayer meetings for the Chiefs beloved son. That said, there’s also no need to channel those emotions toward anyone or anything. It’s part of watching football. For Mahomes, it’s a part of playing football.
Sometimes nightmare scenarios play out and there’s simply nothing we can do about it.