Patrick Mahomes is going to enjoy a lot of visibility this season. Fortunately, his focus on football will give him the chance to thrive in the spotlight.
When the Kansas City Chiefs made the decision to install Patrick Mahomes as their starting quarterback it was clear he would get a lot of attention. The challenge, of course, was and is to keep his feet on the ground. Fortunately for Chiefs fans, it’s clear Mahomes is taking that challenge very seriously.
The big-armed gunslinger is so focused on football that he’s choosing to eschew endorsement deals for the time being. According to super agent Leigh Steinberg, they “intentionally didn’t do endorsements” last year because of his lack of playing time as a rookie. They didn’t believe it was wise to have the backup quarterback’s face plastered all over billboards around the city.
Steinberg may have given his client that advice, but it runs contrary to the usual operating procedure for agents. They are, of course, financially motivated to secure endorsement deals for their clients. That means it’s fair to assume Mahomes was the driving force behind the choice to keep his focus on football only.
That represents remarkable maturity for a player in his position. Most first-round quarterbacks walk into teams expecting to play a big role from day one. Mahomes, instead, chose to defer to Alex Smith whenever possible.
That gave him the chance to spend his first season working on his physical and mental development. Mahomes spent a lot of time in the weight room during his first season in the NFL. He came into the league with excellent arm strength, but it’s clear his body needed to fill out. His body is in a much better position to absorb the pounding required to be a starting quarterback now.
His mental growth was likely even more important. Mahomes could excel at the college level on talent alone. Even if he made the wrong decision, his electric arm allowed him to get out of trouble. That’s not a luxury he’ll enjoy playing on Sundays.
Instead of smiling for the cameras, Mahomes chose to bury his nose in a playbook as a rookie. That’s going to pay major dividends for the Chiefs this year. Andy Reid isn’t going to pare down the playbook significantly for Mahomes. He firmly expects his young signal caller to master whatever he throws at him. Anything less than a full season devoted to learning would leave Mahomes unable to master the mental side of the Kansas City offense.
It’s going to be a few seasons before we really know what Patrick Mahomes is capable of on the field. What we already know is that he’s willing to put in the work to become a top-notch NFL starter. Having the right mindset for greatness is more than half the battle for a young quarterback.