How Patrick Mahomes went from a high school baseball star to the most exciting player in the NFL and future of the league
Patrick Mahomes has won an MVP, Super Bowl, and Super Bowl MVP in his first two years as a starter in the NFL. Mahomes was a high school baseball and football star and nearly chose baseball, with an offer to turn pro. Mahomes instead chose football, became a college star, rose up NFL draft boards, and broke out in 2018 to become the most exciting player in football. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.
Patrick Mahomes has been a revelation since becoming the starting quarterback of the Kansas City Chiefs. The 24-year-old on Sunday helped the Chiefs win the Super Bowl and took home Super Bowl MVP. This, after winning MVP in 2018 with a 5,000-yard, 50-touchdown season in his first year as a starter. Mahomes' journey mirrors Stephen Curry's in the NBA — Mahomes was the son of a major league pitcher and grew up with unbelievable arm talent. After an offer to play pro baseball, Mahomes chose football, rose to college stardom, climbed up draft boards, and got taken in the first round of the 2017 draft by the Chiefs. In two short years, he has broken records, won at the highest level, and become the most exciting player to watch in the NFL with his huge arm and knack for creating highlight plays. Here's how Mahomes went from a possible baseball star to the face of the NFL.In two years as a starter, Patrick Mahomes has broken records, won MVP, a Super Bowl, and a Super Bowl MVP. Not bad for somebody who could have played baseball.
Mahomes seems to have been born with a good arm. Mahomes' father, Pat, was a major league pitcher, playing for six different teams.
Mahomes grew up in Texas with his mother (his parents split when he was six). He was a multi-sport athlete but excelled at baseball.
According to ESPN's Seth Wickersham, Mahomes was so good at an early age that he was traded — in tee-ball! He was moved up to play pitch-coach because he was so advanced. Mahomes quickly outgrew the typical venues for kids to play sports.
According to The Ringer's Kevin Clark, Mahomes' arm became too strong for backyard catches with his dad. By the time he was 10, he could throw from home plate over the center field wall on a baseball field, a distance estimated to be 200-220 feet. Mahomes was a football and baseball star in high school, though he considered quitting football to focus on baseball.
According to Sam Mellinger of The Kansas City Star, Mahomes thought his future was in baseball and was afraid of jeopardizing his career with a football injury. His mom convinced him to stick with it, however, because Mahomes liked football more. He eventually won a competition for the starting quarterback job in high school over his good friend. He wowed teammates and coaches right away with his arm and improvisation. Despite a 50-touchdown season his senior year, Mahomes was lightly scouted in football because of his raw talents, late start, and lack of participation in football camps.
He told Wickersham that he never really got his name out on the football circuit. Still, he turned down the chance to go play baseball. Mahomes told Mellinger that he told teams he wanted a $2.5 million bonus to play baseball, a number he made up to dissuade teams. He still was drafted in the 37th round by the Detroit Tigers. Mahomes ended up at Texas Tech and got some luck his freshman year when starting quarterback Davis Webb got injured. Mahomes had 16 touchdowns and 4 interceptions as a freshman.
He broke out the following season, throwing for over 4,000 yards, 36 touchdowns, and 15 interceptions. He continued to improve his junior year, throwing over 5,000 yards with 41 touchdowns, and 10 interceptions. He set the NCAA record with 819 total yards of offense in a loss to Baker Mayfield and Oklahoma. When Mahomes declared for the NFL draft after his junior year, he was projected as a mid-round pick.
However, his draft stock grew throughout the process, as he was eventually considered a second- or first-round pick. The Chiefs were enamored with Mahomes, with Mike Veach, now the Chiefs GM, forming a tight bond with Mahomes' agent before the draft. Veach kept daily tabs on Mahomes, gauging his market and figuring out ways to get Mahomes.
Source: Yahoo's Terez Paylor On draft night, the Chiefs traded two first-round picks and a third-round pick to move up in the draft and take Mahomes.
Mahomes didn't show his incredible potential in his rookie year — because he didn't play.
Mahones was firmly behind veteran quarterback Alex Smith (who had one of his best seasons in 2017), playing just the final game of the regular season with the Chiefs' playoff spot already locked up. But behind the scenes, Mahomes was making an impression on his teammates.
Chiefs quarterbacks coach Mike Kafka told Clark: "There were a couple of throws early on in his rookie year. There was one where he was staring at the sideline, and he just flicked it right over Justin Houston's head. That was the big one. That was the one where other coaches started noticing. I was working with him, and [former Chiefs OC and current Bears coach Matt Nagy] and some of the other coaches had seen it. But once he started to do that everyone said, 'Oh, he's really doing this.'" In the offseason, the Chiefs traded Smith to the Washington Redskins, ushering in the Mahomes era.
Mahomes impressed in training camp, but there were concerns about the high number of interceptions he was throwing. Perhaps an up-and-down rookie year was in the cards.
Read more > That perception changed almost immediately once the regular season began.
In Mahomes' first three games, he threw for nearly 900 yards, with 13 touchdowns, 0 interceptions, and a 137 passer rating, while leading the Chiefs to a 3-0 record. They began the season 9-1, with Mahomes throwing for 31 touchdowns to just 6 interceptions. In the process, Mahomes produced some jaw-dropping highlights.
They included: an Aaron Rodgers-esque scramble and 20-yard bullet to the end zone, a left-handed pass, a no-look pass, a side-arm completion, clutch throws across his body, and plenty of deep bombs. Those throws may look wild, maybe even lucky, but they're not.
Mahomes told Clark that he practices every throw he makes — that includes the side arms, lefty throws, jumping throws, etc. "I know there's a chance I could make those throws in a game," he said. "You want to practice this stuff. You don't want the first time you do it to be in a game." His arm also became the subject of fascination during the season.
According to Clark, Mahomes' baseball training seems to have helped him become a different type of thrower than most other quarterbacks, from the way he throws to the trajectory of his arm and ball. Mahomes warms up with the long toss, like baseball players. During warmups, you might casually see him throw 90-yard passes. Read more > Mahomes is also a next-level athlete in his ability to take in information around him.
Chiefs backup quarterback Matt Moore told Sports Illustrated's Michael Rosenberg that Mahomes has an uncanny ability to see the entire field. "It's something I've never done," Moore said. "When the ball leaves my hand, I'm looking at the target and making sure we hit it. The ball will literally leave his hand, and he'll just find where the other guys are. His spatial awareness is off the charts. He knows where everybody is at, at all times — with every concept, with every coverage. It's really amazing." The Chiefs finished the season 12-4, 1st in the AFC, while Mahomes threw for over 5,000 yards, with 50 touchdowns, and 12 interceptions, and winning MVP.
The Chiefs lost to the Patriots in the AFC Championship in 2018, but Mahomes still finished the game with 295 yards and 3 touchdowns.
After the game, Mahomes got some sage advice from Tom Brady.
Mahomes told NBC Sports' Peter King: "The biggest thing he said was, 'Stay with the process and be who you are.' He didn't want me to change at all. He wanted me to go out there and take advantage of every single day. When you hear it from a guy like that, who's had the success at the level that he's had for his entire career, you know you've got to take advantage of every single day if you want to be great ... I used that to just make sure that I did everything to prepare to be in this moment now — and not be sitting at home." Mahomes didn't top his 2018 numbers in the 2019 season, but he heeded Brady's advice and saved his best for last — the playoffs.
In the first two games of the playoffs, Mahomes helped the Chiefs back from double-digit deficits, all while playing nearly perfect, completing 65% of his passes for 615 yards, 8 touchdowns, and 0 interceptions. Mahomes may have struggled in his first Super Bowl, but he came through in the end. Trailing by 10, on 3rd-and-15 with 7:13 remaining, Mahomes completed a game-changing, 44-yard pass to Tyreek Hill.
Tweet Embed: //twitter.com/mims/statuses/1224158737776238593?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw THAT WAS COMPLETE pic.twitter.com/RDdgrCYJAm Mahomes threw for 141 yards, 2 touchdowns, and an interception in the fourth quarter, helping the Chiefs get the 31-20 win over the 49ers. He won Super Bowl MVP.
Mahomes is off to an historic start to his career, and it's only just beginning.
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The Kansas City Chiefs ran clever trick play in the first quarter of the Super Bowl...The Kansas City Chiefs ran clever trick play in the first quarter of the Super Bowl that featured four players doing a synchronized spin before the snap to set up a run. After the game, Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy told reporters that the team took the play from the 1949 Rose Bowl and had practiced for some time. While the original play did not feature the spin move, it nonetheless was effective in helping the Chiefs set up their first score of the game. Read more of Business Insider's Super Bowl 2020 coverage here. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. The Kansas City Chiefs went deep in the archives for a red zone play against the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl 2020. In the first quarter, on 4th-and-1 on five-yard line, the Chiefs ran a a trick play that featured four people in the back-field, including Patrick Mahomes. Clearly setting up for a running play, the four players then did a synchronized spin move, shifting where they were lined up. The play was a direct snap to running back Damien Williams, who plunged his way to the first down, just short of the touchdown. According to James Palmer of NFL Network, Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy said the Chiefs had taken the play from the 1949 Rose Bowl. "I probably shouldn't be giving this away," Bieniemy said. "The Rose Bowl, Michigan vs. USC. And so, it's just a play that we've been working on and wondering when we can polish it off." Chiefs OC Eric Bieniemy on spin move trick play to convert 4th down vs. 49ers pic.twitter.com/wpOxC1DJMV — James Palmer (@JamesPalmerTV) February 3, 2020 Alex Kirshner of Banner Society dug up the play, and while it doesn't feature the synchronized spin, it did have a similar formation, including a pre-snap shift. Pretty cool. Chiefs OC Eric Bieniemy said they stole that first TD play from Michigan in an old Rose Bowl vs. USC. I looked, and yep. This is from New Year's Day 1948. Fritz Crisler = visionary pic.twitter.com/bcWp5BEf0h — Alex Kirshner (@alex_kirshner) February 3, 2020 Mahomes ran in a touchdown two plays later for the Chiefs first score of the game. Mahomes took home Super Bowl MVP, helping to rally the team from a 10-point deficit in the fourth quarter to win the game. Perhaps Bieniemy and his encyclopedic knowledge of offensive plays should get just as much credit. Read more: The biggest play of the Super Bowl came down to a narrow review over whether a Chiefs running back stepped out of bounds before breaking the end zone plane Chiefs Super Bowl hero Damien Williams paused his celebration to exchange jerseys with 49ers standout RB Raheem Mostert Andy Reid interrupted his Super Bowl celebration to compliment Randy Moss on his parenting and ask for his son to play for the Chiefs How Patrick Mahomes went from a high school baseball star to the most exciting player in the NFL and future of the league Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: 5 things about the NFL that football fans may not know
Patrick Mahomes once again proved he is the king of NFL comebacks, erasing a 10-point 4th quarter deficit to win Super Bowl LIV
The Kansas City Chiefs defeated the San Francisco 49ers 31-20 on Sunday in Miami to win...The Kansas City Chiefs defeated the San Francisco 49ers 31-20 on Sunday in Miami to win Super Bowl LIV. Trailing 20-10 with 10 minutes left in the game, quarterback Patrick Mahomes led the Chiefs on three successive touchdown drives to erase their deficit and lift the Lombardi Trophy. Mahomes would later be named Super Bowl MVP. It was the third time this postseason that the Chiefs had erased a double-digit deficit to win. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. The Kansas City Chiefs are Super Bowl Champions. With their 31-20 win over the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday night in Miami, the Chiefs took the title for the first time in 50 years. The Lombardi Trophy didn't come easy, with Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs erasing a 20-10 deficit in the final eight minutes of the game to come back and beat one of the best defensive teams in the NFL. But for the Chiefs, the dramatic comeback was nothing new, having pulled off similarly impressive mid-game recoveries in their two previous postseason outings. The drama began in the divisional round, when the Houston Texans jumped out to a 24-0 lead early against the Chiefs, leaving the home crowd stunned. But Mahomes rallied his offense in the second quarter and wound up retaking the lead before the whistle sounded for halftime. Somehow, Kansas City would win the game by 20, with Mahomes finishing with an astonishing 321 yards and five touchdowns. The next week, the Chiefs would come out with a similarly slow start against the Titans in the AFC Championship. After trailing 10-0 and 17-7, Mahomes again would erase the deficit before halftime and eventually put Tennessee away with a 35-24 win to punch the Chiefs' ticket to the Super Bowl. On Super Bowl Sunday, Mahomes magic would come through yet again, though this time in slightly more dramatic fashion. The 49ers stout defense seemed poised to finally be the one to hold off the Chiefs' charge, holding Kansas City's prolific offense to a paltry 10 points through 52 minutes of football. But those final eight minutes were all Mahomes would need, leading the Chiefs down the field for three straight touchdown drives to take the lead and eventually put a 49ers comeback out of reach. Mahomes finished the day with 286 yards and two touchdowns, but his impact went far beyond the box score. Listening to Mahomes' teammates, it's clear that his brilliance inspires the rest of the Kansas City roster to believe that no game is out of reach, regardless of how dismal their prospects of victory may seem. "That No. 15 man, and that offense is real special," Chiefs defensive end Terrell Suggs said of his quarterback. "The game is just too slow for him. He can make any play wants, he never panics, he never gets rattled. We were down 20-10 in the fourth quarter, and he routed off 21 points. That kid is special." The Chiefs' faith in Mahomes is clearly well-founded. With their Super Bowl win, the Chiefs became the first team in NFL history to erase double-digit deficits in three straight postseason games to win a championship. Chiefs’ QB Patrick Mahomes was 5-0 when trailing by double-digits this season, including 3-0 in the postseason. He is the first QB in NFL history to lead three double-digit comebacks in a single postseason. — Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) February 3, 2020 When the final whistle blew on Sunday, Mahomes and the Chiefs were once again victorious, with Mahomes being named MVP of the game. Teams aren't supposed to be able to come back again and again like this, but as he proved on Sunday, anything is possible when Mahomes is on the field. Read more: Trump mistakenly congratulated 'the great State of Kansas' after the Kansas City Chiefs' Super Bowl win The biggest play of the Super Bowl came down to a narrow review over whether a Chiefs running back stepped out of bounds before breaking the end zone plane 16 photos of a Super Bowl tailgate sum up just how passionate America really is about football Fox debuted a new NFL score graphic during the Super Bowl and fans had a lot of strong feelingsJoin the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: 5 things about the NFL that football fans may not know