The Wait for Mahomes: Growth and Evolution in Football

The Wait for Mahomes: Growth and Evolution in Football

In a game where might is right, it’s safe to say the mental component of football is just as valuable. Whenever most people hear the word “Football” or NFL, they think of one thing, they think of concussions or the violence in the sport. Football is a game of immense aggression and the ultimate test of physical ability of the four major sports in the United States.

Every year heading into the NFL Draft, each of the top teams picking in that draft has a single question looming in their minds. Will this pick be a franchise player? In 2017 the Chiefs believed they found the next great Quarterback of the National Football League.

Following the 2016 NFL Season, Andy Reid and the Kansas City Chiefs once again failed to get past the divisional round. They fell to the Steelers after the Chiefs performed well enough to earn the second seed in the AFC and a first-round bye.

Every NFL Team has a scouting department, some of those scouts are for games, practice, and some are for the draft/college. The Kansas City Chiefs had a particularly gifted Big 12 Quarterback catch their eye heading into the 2017 NFL Draft. He’s the son of former MLB Pitcher Pat Mahomes. His name was Patrick Mahomes II, and soon, that name would be etched into football fans’ minds.

Sitting Behind the Veteran

The Chiefs fans were long tormented with disappointing play and the endless carousel of Head Coaches and Quarterbacks. Heading into the 2013 NFL Season, the Chiefs acquired former first overall pick Alex Smith and to go along with their new veteran Quarterback. They signed former Eagles Head Coach Andy Reid.

The future began looking up for the disgruntled football fans of Kansas City. In 2013 the Chiefs started 9-0 and looked nearly unstoppable. The Chiefs would eventually decline in the win column, then giving up a historic comeback to the Colts in the Wildcard round. The Chiefs missed the Playoffs in 2014 but made it the next two seasons. Following the loss to the Steelers, the Chiefs made a trade with the Buffalo Bills to acquire the 10th Overall Pick in the 2017 NFL Draft. With that pick, they selected Patrick Mahomes, Quarterback out of Texas Tech.

Learning Through the Art of Patience

To most of the Football world, this pick wasn’t only a shock. It was a significant risk for a team that didn’t have multiple years to develop a Quarterback, but it turns out they only needed one year. The Chiefs started the 2017 Season 5-0 defeating the eventual Super Bowl competitors, Patriots and Eagles.

The Chiefs would go on to go 1-6 in their next seven games, putting them at a 6-6 record and not in the conversation for Super Bowl Champions. Nonetheless, the Chiefs fought their way to 4 straight wins but secured the division after week 16, so rookie Quarterback Patrick Mahomes started the last game and defeated the Broncos 27-24.

The Chiefs won their division, and we’re set to face the Titans in the Wildcard round, but fell 22-21 after the Titans mounted a comeback. After going 1-3 in Playoff games, only defeating the Houston Texans using a backup Quarterback, and going 0-2 in Playoff games at Arrowhead Stadium, it was time for a change. The Chiefs traded Quarterback Alex Smith to the then Washington Redskins, and let the Patrick Mahomes era begin.

Time for the Mahomes Show

Patrick Mahomes quickly turned heads when he was selected 10th overall in the 2017 NFL Draft, but he had an upside. Mahomes’s arm talent at the time was second to none, and the throws he was capable of making showed remarkable ability to deliver the football anywhere in the field. Mahomes was quickly named the starting Quarterback following the trade of Alex Smith.

Many whispers were coming out of Kansas City that Mahomes was going to impress this season. Andy Reid was no stranger to making Quarterbacks with a lot of raw talent into a Pro Bowl Quarterback. He was around Brett Farve in the early days of his career and produced Quarterbacks like Donovan McNabb and Michael Vick. Andy Reid was known to be expanding his offense based on West Coast roots into incorporating more college concepts.

Andy Reid slowly added more and more college concepts. Still, once Patrick Mahomes assumed the starting role, Reid knew the possibilities of doing things on a football field offensively had no limitations. Starting in Week 1 of the 2018 NFL Season, the Chiefs played the Los Angeles Chargers, and Mahomes shocked everyone by showcasing his talents on a football field. Some people said it could be a fluke, but Mahomes proved it wasn’t following his six-touchdown performance in week two against the Steelers.

Once Mahomes threw for six touchdowns in week two, he was put on the national stage of the football world. Week after week, he impressed football fans with his arm talent, ability to extend the play, unorthodox arm angles, and much more. Unlike in past years, the Chiefs didn’t slow down for a minute.

The Chiefs had a league-high average of thirty-five points per game. Patrick Mahomes became the third player in NFL history to throw for five thousand yards and fifty touchdowns in a season. The Chiefs secured the first seed in the AFC and dismantled the Colts with ease. Then encountering Tom Brady and Bill Belichick, the Chiefs fell in a 37-31 overtime loss. The Chiefs would be back.

Conclusion

While some believed there’s no way Mahomes could follow up what he did last season, what changed that narrative wasn’t his injury or decline in weekly averages. It was when he got the top reward in an NFL Season. Mahomes rallied his team three separate times in the Playoffs, down 10 points in each game. He never wavered or thought for a second he couldn’t win.

Mahomes proved to the world what kind of leader he was, and he wasn’t going to be denied for a second straight year. The Chiefs rewarded that triumphant Super Bowl Victory with a ten-year 503 million dollar contract extension. Not every gamble in the NFL pays off, but the risk of trading up to draft the Quarterback out of Texas Tech sure as hell paid off for the Kansas City Chiefs.