Patrick Mahomes is ‘The One’ for the Kansas City Chiefs
The Chiefs won their second Super Bowl in four years in large part because quarterback Patrick Mahomes is “The One”.
There is a scene in The Matrix with Keanu Reeves where his character, Neo, is shot and slumps to the ground, left for dead as bad guys close in on his friends and all hope looks lost. It is a moment not unlike the closing minutes of the first half of Super Bowl LVII for fans of the Kansas City Chiefs.
On Sunday night, the Chiefs looked doomed and their hero, Patrick Mahomes was down and looked badly hurt. In the movie, Neo miraculously stands back up, faces the enemy, and simply says “No!”. Another character in stunned disbelief asks “How?” and Lawrence Fishburn’s character Morpheus answers him “He is The One”. That statement absolutely holds true for Mahomes as well.
The Chiefs search for “The One”
We’ll get back to Super Bowl LVII and the Chiefs’ historic win over the Philadelphia Eagles in a moment, but in order to put things in proper perspective we need to go all the way back in time almost 40 years to April 26th, 1983. That was the date of the 1983 NFL Draft. That was the day the Chiefs drafted quarterback Todd Blackledge in the first round over future Hall of Fame quarterbacks Jim Kelly and Dan Marino. Blackledge would turn out to be a bust. Scared by their failure, the Chiefs would not draft another first-round quarterback for 34 years.
The quarterback position is universally accepted as the most important in the NFL. If you can find a star at that position, your team is poised for success, but for 34 years, the Chiefs tried (and failed) to just get by at quarterback. They didn’t try to find “The One”; instead, they decided to try and build good rosters and just find a competent veteran starter who wouldn’t bust like Blackledge.
The end result was decades of Chiefs teams good enough to get your hopes up only to crush those same hopes in the end. The Chiefs were too scared to dream big. The risk of missing on another high-talent quarterback limited their ceiling—until 34 years later they made the bold decision to trade up in the first round and take Patrick Mahomes.
Finding “The One” in Mahomes
Credit Andy Reid if you want. Credit then general manager John Dorsey or current GM Brett Veach. Credit Clark Hunt for signing off on the move. Heck, maybe we should credit Matt Nagy for slipping Mahomes some Chiefs plays before his pre-draft meeting with the team so that he would impress them. The bottom line is the Chiefs finally took a chance on a big-time quarterback talent and the rest is history.
Yes, football is a team game. Yes, the credit for the success of the past five seasons deserves to be spread around more people than I have time to list here. Yes, there are stars on both offense and defense in both of the Chiefs’ Super Bowl wins not named Mahomes who made huge plays—plays that were essential to them taking home the Lombardi trophy. Yes, as I laid out last week, Andy Reid has a strong case now as a top-five coach of all time. That is all true, but none of it is possible without Patrick Mahomes as the centerpiece of this team. He is “The One”.
I have been watching football for decades. Like most of you, I dreamed of the day the Chiefs would have a great quarterback. I convinced myself that guys like Trent Green and Alex Smith were “close enough” when I knew deep down that, as much as I liked them, they weren’t those Hall of Fame caliber guys that I saw carry other teams to Super Bowl wins and football immortality. There can be no argument now. Mahomes is that guy. We are watching history.
No one else like Mahomes
Patrick Mahomes is only 27 years old. He has now won two Super Bowls, two Super Bowl MVPs, and two regular season MVPs. The three seasons as a starter that he didn’t win the Super Bowl ended in two overtime losses in the AFC Championship Game and a Super Bowl loss. The NFL has never seen five seasons of that kind of elite consistent success for a quarterback to start their career. Even the GOAT, Tom Brady, followed up his first Super Bowl with a 9-7 season and missed the playoffs. Plus, those early teams were heavily carried by the New England defense and it wasn’t until a few years later that Brady really started to carry the team on his own.
Not only has Mahomes won prolifically in every season as a starter, but he is also putting up unmatched numbers along the way. It seems like with every touchdown and yardage milestone, he reaches he becomes the youngest/fastest player ever to reach that number. Even saying that doesn’t seem to really do him justice. It’s somehow even greater than just winning and putting up stats. He routinely does things that just don’t seem possible.
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As a child of the 1980s, I grew up watching Michael Jordan play basketball. I’m not here to argue the Jordan vs. LeBron James argument, but when growing up, Jordan was “The One”. You had to watch him play, and when you did, you knew he was going to find a way to win no matter what. You were going to see something amazing in the process.
Brady and the Patriots put up success that may never be matched again in the NFL, but Mahomes is the only athlete that I have watched since Jordan’s Bulls that made me feel this way. There is just a feeling that no other player on the planet can do the things that he does. It’s special. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime athlete that we all need to stop and enjoy. He also happens to play for the team I have spent the majority of my life dreaming would find just such a player.
I already felt this way before this Super Bowl win, but I feel like this win makes the argument indisputable. I think this tweet from Ari Meirov sums it up.
Mahomes on one leg was still an unstoppable force in the playoffs. Yes, the defense bailed him out against the Cincinnati Bengals. Yes, Andy Reid and Travis Kelce are Hall of Fame legends in their own rights. That’s all true, but Mahomes is “The One”. He helped bring my favorite team another Super Bowl.
Just five years ago I still wondered if I would ever see the Chiefs win one in my lifetime. Now I’ve seen two. I regularly have to pinch myself to believe it’s real. The best part is that as long as Mahomes is playing quarterback for the Chiefs there is every reason to believe that this success will continue.
If this is a dream, if I’m actually in The Matrix, don’t wake me up. The Kansas City Chiefs are Super Bowl Champions again and as far as I’m concerned that is a dream come true.