The Kansas City Chiefs are an unknown heading into 2018, but it’s a safe bet that they will sink or swim depending upon Patrick Mahomes.
If you take a trip into #ChiefsTwitter or read some of the current clippings about Patrick Mahomes, there is every reason to believe he’s going to be a superstar.
After being selected 10th-overall in the 2017 draft out of Texas Tech, Mahomes rode the bench for the first 16 games of last season behind Alex Smith before getting his chance against the Denver Broncos in Week 17.
On the surface, the numbers aren’t overwhelming. Mahomes threw for 283 yards with an interception in a narrow 27-24 win over the Broncos. However, the film shows a far different story, one of Mahomes threading passes from almost impossible angles and platforms to a bunch of no-name receivers.
Between the hype coming out of Lubbock and the tape from the regular season’s final week, Mahomes has been generating absurd buzz from the heartland. Kansas City fans have been waiting for a home-grown quarterback since forever (Len Dawson was with the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cleveland Browns first), and Mahomes appears to be that savior.
In fact, Mahomes’ victory over Denver was the first Chiefs win by a quarterback they drafted since 1987.
Now, Kansas City goes into the summer with expectations ranging from middling team to AFC contender, and it all rides on a 22-year-old.
Local to Kansas City, the Mahomes bandwagon needs reinforcement. Every quote is worth discussing. Every snap of film against Denver worth going over another time. It’s madness, but justifiable, considering where the fanbase has been, and how much pain they’ve endured.
The Chiefs have not won a playoff game at Arrowhead Stadium since Joe Montana beat the Steelers in Jan. 1994. Since then, they’ve had six opportunities and lost them all. In fact, since the ’93 season, Kansas City has exactly one postseason win.
Enter Mahomes, he of the cannon arm and seemingly endless potential to change it all.
Come September, the Chiefs begin their season with daunting six-game stretch that includes — in order — road games against the Los Angeles Chargers and Steelers, a home-opener against the San Francisco 49ers, a road tilt on Monday night versus the Broncos, a home date with the Jacksonville Jaguars and a contest on Sunday night in Foxborough with the New England Patriots.
With a rebuilt defense that sees the return of Eric Berry, the additions of Kendall Fuller and Anthony Hitchens, but also the departures of Derrick Johnson and Marcus Peters, the unit remains a complete unknown. The offense has starpower galore with Tyreek Hill, Sammy Watkins, Travis Kelce and Kareem Hunt, but it’s success is predacated on Mahomes being able to captain the proverbial ship. Ultimately, everything comes back to the kid.
All offseason, the crazed excitement around Mahomes has built. It could all come crashing down in that span, due far more to wild expectations of a first-year starter than the kid himself.
Then again, Mahomes could come out firing, and the Chiefs could be the hottest story in football.
Kansas City has long awaited someone with this amount of perceived ability under center, and with a slate such as the aforementioned ahead of him, Mahomes has a chance to set the City of Fountains gushing with enthusiasm.