Patrick Mahomes: the gem that changed the Chiefs' destiny
< /p> UPDATE DAY
PHOENIX | The Chiefs are gearing up for their third Super Bowl in four years with Patrick Mahomes at quarterback. The decision to select him in the 2017 draft changed the destiny of this organization, much to the delight of owner Clark Hunt, who returned with The Journal< strong> on this defining moment in franchise history.
The Hunt family has run the Chiefs since their beginnings in 1960, when the late Lamar Hunt founded the club in the AFL, before merging with the NFL 10 years later. His son, Clark Hunt, was involved in the family business for a long time before taking over the reins of the team in 2006.
His first years at the helm were not rosy. It took just one playoff appearance in six years and four seasons of four or fewer wins to see the light.
A Major Decision
If the first net of hope came with the hiring of head coach Andy Reid in 2013, the Chiefs really took off four years later by choosing Mahomes 10th overall in the draft.
“I can go back 60 years and a lot of good decisions were made back then. The Chiefs have been in two of the first Super Bowls, so there was something very good going on in the organization.
“On the other hand, on the talent side, no decision has had a greater impact in our history than that of drafting Patrick Mahomes. He transformed our franchise, ”assured Clark Hunt, approached on the floor of the Footprint Center, Monday, during the evening of the media.
Discussing the arrival of Mahomes with the big boss of the Chiefs, it's taking advantage of precious minutes to discover the genesis behind the decision to bet on Mahomes.
During the 2016 season, Brett Veach, current general manager, was co-director of player personnel. In his recruiting work, he was literally obsessed with the then quarterback at Texas Tech University.
It was he who ended up convincing Andy Reid to do everything to get his hands on Mahomes. That, of course, required Clark Hunt's approval.
“Brett was practically pestering Andy until he convinced him. Six weeks before the draft, Andy and our recruiting people asked me to sit down with them and watch videos of Patrick.
“I immediately fell in love. I still remember one play where he moved to his left, he turned his hips and threw a bomb 60 yards in the air against the current in the end zone.
“I had never seen anything like it. It was anything but a conventional approach, but to him it felt like a natural game. I knew in my heart that with Andy's creativity, we were going to take advantage of his unique talents,” said the owner.
At the time in the draft, Mahomes was far from being seen as a safe bet. His game was spectacular, but many feared that his disheveled style would hit a wall on the professional scene.
The Chiefs, at at the insistence of Brett Veach, ignored the fears and concluded that it was necessary to advance to the draft. They passed on their 27th pick, in addition to a third-round pick and a first-round pick in 2018 to the Bills in exchange for the 10th overall pick.
“Our scouts wanted to make sure I understood which player it was and why you had to move to get it. You could see his special talent and Andy was convinced he could take us to the next level. We held our breath so much on draft night! “, remembered Hunt, smirking.
At 27 years old and after only five seasons as a starter, Mahomes has already largely rewarded the audacity of the Chiefs. And possibly the best is yet to come.
People at Mass!
In 2020, the Super Bowl was presented in Tampa, on a much reduced scale in the midst of the COVID-19 period. Last year, it was easy to see in Los Angeles that life was getting back to normal, but that the usual big crowds weren't there yet. This time in Phoenix, the delusions of grandeur have indeed returned. Normally, a few days before the big match, it is possible to enjoy the rather quiet “Fan Experience”. This year, artifact displays and shopping in the convention center are already happening in heavy traffic. Yes, Super Bowl fever seems to have become more contagious than COVID again.
A coveted trophy
As every year, the Vince-Lombardi trophy, awarded to the winning team of the Super Bowl, is displayed as part of the “Fan Experience”. In this photo, he seems alone in the world on his pedestal. The reality is quite different! The queue to be photographed on the platform alongside the precious object stretches for a long time in the meanders of the congress center. The NFL has also indicated that more than 70,000 people had marched in the various activities of the “Fan Experience” during the first two days of the week. This is the highest total since February 2012, in Indianapolis.
True to his tradition, Commissioner Roger Goodell carried out his annual inventory yesterday. What raised the most eyebrows in his question and answer session with the media is that he believes that the refereeing is doing well. Many fans and analysts are complaining about questionable decisions during the current playoff games, but there will be no changes. “I think the refereeing has never been so good in our league,” said the big boss. There are over 42,000 games in a season. Are there any errors in this context? Yes, but arbitration will never be perfect. »
Patience pays off
Patrick Mahomes spent a season on the bench before taking charge of the Chiefs' offense in the final game of the 2017 season.
The Chiefs did something extremely rare these days when they got their hands on Patrick Mahomes six years ago. They left him on the bench for a season.
This is an approach that has been practically outdated for several years. The proof is that in the past 10 years, 27 quarterbacks have been selected in the first round of the draft. Only three of them, including Mahomes, didn't start more than one game in their rookie year.
In some organizations where the owner leads too wide, he may very well put his fist on the table so that the hoped-for prodigy quickly sees ground. Clark Hunt preferred to trust his football staff rather than excite the media and fans.
“I stayed patient because I knew that was the plan,” the 57-year-old replied when asked if he ever felt like rushing things.
In 2017, the Chiefs instead relied on veteran quarterback Alex Smith, who was effective despite his obvious limitations. Even though Mahomes was eye-rolling in practice, the team had the luxury of quietly teaching him the inner workings of the NFL.
He didn't start until the last game of the season, when the stakes were gone.
“We had a good quarterback in Alex Smith, who was a very good mentor for Patrick. There is only positive to say about his role in this story. Patrick would be the first to tell you that he would never be the quarterback he is today if not for this season learning from Alex Smith.
“I don't have to take anything away no more to Andy Reid. He was the one who made the plan. Together he and Patrick make each other better,” Hunt said.
And the ankle?
That's all well and good , but among the Mahomes faithful as the Super Bowl approaches, many are worried about the sprained right ankle he is still nursing.
The quarterback was reassuring yesterday.
“It’s really feeling better. I can move much better than last week or two weeks ago. I continue the treatments to be as close as possible to 100%”, summarized number 15.