What makes Patrick Mahomes MVP material?
By: Noah Nichols
Patrick Mahomes has probably the most successful beginning to his career of any player in NFL history. He went to the AFC Championship where he was an offsides penalty away from going to the Super Bowl. He won the Super Bowl the following year. And the year after that Mahomes went to another Super Bowl.
Mahomes has known nothing but success in the NFL. He was the unanimous league MVP in his first year as a starter. He threw for over 50 touchdowns, set passing records, and became the face of the NFL. Mahomes will probably not achieve the same success as the best quarterback in NFL history, Tom Brady. But Mahomes has the best chance out of anyone to reach that level of success.
How has Mahomes done it? Is it just pure talent that has rocketed him to these levels of achievements? Not entirely. A few other things have helped him. A Hall of Fame head coach, uber-talented weapons, and an era of the NFL that is designed to support the quarterback have all played a major hand in Mahomes victories. It is important to note that Mahomes elevates these factors around him as much as, if not more, than they elevate him. He is quite possibly the most talented quarterback ever to play the game.
You cant talk about Mahomes without mentioning some of his offensive weapons. Tyreek “Cheetah” Hill, the fastest player in the NFL, is the first that comes to mind. Hill forces defenses to fear the deep ball because Hill can blaze past any corner in an instant. This forces defenses to play cautiously, else they will soon find themselves watching Hill speed past them into the endzone. Hill also forces defenses to be wary of any motion that involves him, for fear of a handoff or a screen. Because Hill is so fast, opposing defenses cannot bite on screens. If they miss a tackle, Hill is fast enough to take it to the house. Hill essentially forces defenses to play slower, and react instead of attack. He is a game-changer and arguably the best receiver in the NFL.
Of course, Hill is not the only superstar receiver that Mahomes has the option of throwing to. Travis Kelce, who is at worst the second-best tight end in the NFL, is Mahomes’ clutch receiver. Kelce is a huge mismatch for most linebackers, his height, speed, and wingspan ensure that he will almost always come out on top with the football. He is a good blocker and a great route runner. Kelce is almost always open if Hill isn’t, and is Mahomes favorite target. The All-Pro tight end ensures that defenses cannot focus on just Hill, if they do, Kelce will take advantage of the single coverage and shred the middle of the defense.
Of course, the offensive mastermind that is Andy Reid cannot be left out of the discussion. Reid is probably the best coaching fit for Mahomes, except perhaps for Sean Peyton. Reid uses the offensive talent that he has surrounded Mahomes with to its full potential. His schemes are always evolving and he does not rely on his star players to win games.
An example of that is Damien Williams. In the Kansas City Chiefs win against the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl LIV, Williams was instrumental. He had 133 yards from scrimmage and two 4th quarter touchdowns, including the game winning one. Williams otherwise has been mostly quite during his career, but his best games have come under Reid, who uses talent to its potential like no one else.
Without Reid, it’s doubtful that Mahomes would have anywhere close to the success that he has had. If Reid had not fallen in love with Mahomes so that the Chiefs would trade up to draft him, he would probably be on some rebuilding team. Reid and Mahomes are perfect for each other, Mahomes can do everything that Reid wants his quarterback to be able to, and thus use his schemes to their full potential.
This era of the NFL is perfect for Mahomes
Mahomes arrived in the NFL when it was best suited for him. New rules were made that protect the quarterback from being hit after he throws a pass, or when he is running. Receivers and running backs have been getting faster and faster, leading to the pass overtaking the run as the best play call.
New rules that punish defenders from interfering with receivers have opened up the passing game, and encourage throwing the football, even if the pass is not caught, a penalty flag might be thrown. Schemes have evolved as well, to utilize these new rules and influx of speed. Talented players are also more likely to choose to play on offense than defense in high school and college, so more offensive talent exists than defensive talent.
This era of the NFL is truly the best situation for Mahomes. He can run out of the pocket, make amazing throws without being too worried that a linebacker might crush him after he throws a pass. And if his pass might fall incomplete, a penalty flag could be thrown and the pass might as well have been caught. Mahomes by himself is super talented, a huge arm, crazy accuracy, smarts, and big play ability are things he has in heaps and then some. But without the surrounding cast and situation that he has around him, there is no doubt that he would not have reached the success that he has.