That’s incredible. Yet, it has caught us all off guard. Shame on us.
Patrick Lavon Mahomes II will probably play another dozen seasons or so in the NFL. He is basically already a lock to enter the Pro Football Hall of Fame at the age of 28. No matter where his career heads from here (and it’s probably going to be even more stunning than it already has been), we will all look back at the 2023 season as one of his greatest achievements whether Chiefs can pull off the Super Bowl win or not in two weeks in Las Vegas after a 17-10 upset win at the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC Championship Game Sunday.
In truth, the Chiefs had no business being a Super Bowl team. But he’s Patrick Mahomes.
Still, his supporting cast betrayed him for much as the season as they roller-coastered their way to a 11-6 season, winning the AFC West for the eighth straight season. The Chiefs lost multiple games because Mahomes’ receivers dropped passes and made critical mistakes. Rookie receiver Rashee Rice flashed and had a nice season, but unlike the 2022 season, the Chiefs’ offense really missed the traded Tyreek Hill.
Mahomes’ favorite target, tight end Travis Kelce, swooned toward the end of the season and went seven games without scoring a touchdown.
The Chiefs’ offensive issues peaked in December where, at times, it looked simply woeful. Mahomes appeared to be pressing and it showed on his face. He was wearing the stress of having to do it himself.
The Chiefs’ problems were on full display on Christmas Day in a standalone game, when they looked totally anemic, losing 20-14 at home to the Las Vegas Raiders. It was just the Raiders’ second win at Arrowhead Stadium in a decade. It was the highlight of the Raiders’ season and was the final nail in interim coach Antonio Pierce getting the full-time head coaching gig in Las Vegas.
The Chiefs looked like they were headed toward a fast postseason exit.
Yet, fast forward five weeks later and the Chiefs are now preparing to spend a week at the Raiders’ Henderson, Nev. practice facility and will use the Raiders’ locker room at Allegiant Stadium in the Super Bowl.
Patrick Freakin’ Mahomes.
Despite the lack of firepower and lack of consistency, the playoffs began and the Chiefs looked like the Chiefs because of Mahomes. They easily dispatched Miami at home in the Super Wild Card Round and then Mahomes went on the road for the first time in his storied postseason career and beat both the Buffalo Bills and the Baltimore Raven as the underdog.
We are not used to seeing Mahomes as an underdog. He showed us all why by leading the Chiefs back to the Super Bowl.
While Mahomes was masterfully efficient Sunday (he completed 30-of-39 passes for 241 yards with a touchdown pass), it wasn’t all him, of course. Kelce had a monster game with 11 catches for 116 yards as he became all-time NFL postseason reception leader. The Chiefs defense put on a masterclass against likely NFL MVP Lamar Jackson and forced three turnovers.
It was an all-time win and it was all engineered by the best quarterback in the NFL.
If the Chiefs win the Lombardi and give Mahomes his third Super Bowl win at the age of 28, the chatter about him catching Tom Brady’s seven rings will be real.
That didn’t seem possible a month ago. Yet, it should have.
He’s Patrick Mahomes.