Every generation has one, an athlete who takes your breath away with their complete mastery of the sport. In the NFL — in case anyone needed a reminder — the reigning master is Patrick Mahomes, who once again left us all breathless Sunday night in Super Bowl LVIII.
In leading the Kansas City Chiefs to their third Super Bowl title in five years, Patrick Mahomes only provided further evidence of what we should have already known to be true about him.
Patrick Mahomes, only seven years into his NFL career, belongs on the Mount Rushmore of quarterbacks — right next to Tom Brady and Joe Montana.
In the Kansas City Chiefs’ 25-22 overtime victory over the San Francisco 49ers, Mahomes officially carved his image into the stone with a game-winning drive on the NFL’s grandest stage, one so beautifully orchestrated that it will go down as one of the lasting testaments to his excellence.
Just as Joe Montana has “The Catch” and the Super Bowl-winning drive capped by his TD pass to John Taylor. Just as Tom Brady has the comeback from a 28-3 deficit against the Atlanta Falcons.
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Patrick Mahomes set himself apart once again
Down 22-19 with 75 yards between him and more Super Bowl glory, Patrick Mahomes showed why he is regarded with such reverence among his peers and why anyone who foolishly dares to bet against him ends up losing money every time.
All Mahomes needed to do was move the Chiefs within range of a game-tying field goal, something that could be done easily, considering the strong right leg of kicker Harrison Butker, who boomed a Super Bowl-record 57 yarder in the third quarter.
Maybe a tie game in that instance would have been acceptable for some quarterbacks, but not when you’re Patrick Mahomes. Not when you are better than any other player on the field. And one of the best ever at your position.
So, Mahomes saved his highest form of artistry for this time, for this moment, and for this place, an Allegiant Stadium field in Las Vegas where he’s never lost a game. To a talented 49ers defense that chased him and knocked him down all night long, Mahomes suddenly became a cruel nightmare as he marched the Chiefs down the field with unstoppable ease.
Mahomes completed 8-of-8 passes for 39 yards to five different receivers, and he ran twice for 27 yards — one a dangerous 8-yard run on what was potentially a game-ending, fourth-and-one play and another on a 19-yard scamper on third-and-one.
By the time Mahomes was done, tossing a simple-looking, game-clinching, 3-yard TD pass to Mecole Hardman, it was almost as if he’d been toying with all of us the whole time, just to keep the world in a state of suspense before he decided to end it appropriately — with the heroics of a true champion who would hoist his third Lombardi Trophy.
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Patrick Mahomes’ third Super Bowl MVP was predictable
In the week leading up to the game, no one could have faulted the NFL for secretly etching his name on the Super Bowl MVP trophy — his third to tie him with Montana for second all-time. But then conspiracy theorists would have accused the NFL of creating and following a pre-written script, one connected to the mega-popularity of Taylor Swift and her boyfriend, Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce.
And yes, the Swift-Kelce romance has drawn more non-NFL fans to the sport to watch every Swift cutaway — from manic finger-biting to beer chugging to wild celebrating — in her stadium suite. What these new fans likely found out is that Mahomes is to the NFL what Swift is to pop music. He’s both the premier talent and the main attraction.
Mahomes doesn’t need any scriptwriting help from Swift or the league. And he obviously wasn’t about to take a backseat to the “Cinderella” story that would have been completed if he’d lost to 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy.
Instead, Mahomes put that fairytale ending to rest with 399 yards of total offense — 333 of those yards coming through the air at 333 Al Davis Way, the Las Vegas address for Allegiant Stadium.
Mahomes is fashioning his own epic story as a generational superstar and the NFL’s ultimate winner of the moment, one that won’t be ending anytime soon.
Now that Mahomes has made the Chiefs the first repeat Super Bowl champions in 19 years, the thought that someone could challenge Brady’s record of seven Super Bowl victories doesn’t seem so unrealistic anymore. Not after what we saw Sunday night in Mahomes’ latest Super Bowl masterpiece –one he created at the expense of the San Francisco 49ers for the second time in five years.
Patrick Mahomes is only 28 years old, and to the chagrin of every NFL quarterback who aspires to win a Super Bowl someday, he could play for at least another 10-12 years.
By then, the mythical Mount Rushmore of quarterbacks could be renamed Mount Mahomes.