It was this one moment that made fans of the Kansas City Chiefs doubt that they could defend their title. At the beginning of the second half, the Chiefs were trailing 3:10 against the San Francisco 49ers in the Super Bowl when quarterback Patrick Mahomes threw a pass into the arms of San Francisco's Ji'Ayir Brown. Of all people, Mahomes, the Chiefs superstar. “It was a stupid interception on my part and our defenders tried to set me up,” said Mahomes critically after the game. The defense held and Mahomes then did what he so often does - he gave the game his magic.
"The most remarkable thing about Patrick Mahomes is not what he does, but what he doesn't do. He rarely makes a bad decision," said the Washington Post a few days before the NFL final, probably the best quarterback of his time. And the 28-year-old impressively confirmed the nobility in Las Vegas: apart from the “stupid” interception, Mahomes made no mistakes.
On the contrary: Mahomes once again led his team to a comeback triumph. The Chiefs won 25:22 after overtime, making them the first team since the New England Patriots 19 years ago to successfully defend their NFL title. And Mahomes? He also managed to make up a gap of at least ten points for the third time in his third title - not even Tom Brady managed that in his illustrious and successful career. Mahomes once again underlined that he is a serious threat to Brady's title as "GOAT", the greatest player of all time.
The game against the 49ers was a "microcosm" (Mahomes) of the season of the Chiefs, who have had problems with their offense all year. Constantly under pressure, Mahomes couldn't find a pass, his receivers simply dropped balls, and in three of the first four possession phases, the offense of the reigning and new champions had to quickly leave the field. On the fourth possession, running back Isiah Pacheco lost the ball just before the end zone. “The defense kept us in the game and it took that one drop to spark us,” Mahomes said after the game. And the 28-year-old delivered this one drop himself in the middle of the third quarter. Not only did he connect with his star pass receiver Travis Kelce - you know, Taylor Swift's boyfriend - but Mahomes also took matters into his own hands, setting the stage for five scoring drives in the second Half time and extra time.
Anyone who talks or writes about Mahomes cannot avoid superlatives. In his seventh season, the playmaker was in the Super Bowl for the fourth time. No matter who you ask around the league, Mahomes has earned respect and recognition.
"I think I take it for granted now. But in every game I've played with him, regardless of the result or the time left, this guy has magic in his arm and he can just push us - with his legs if necessary " says Travis Kelce about his playmaker.
"I hate playing against him. But yes, he is an outstanding quarterback and will definitely be in the Hall of Fame," said Lamar Jackson, quarterback of the Baltimore Ravens, who was recently voted the most valuable player of the season.
"Pat Mahomes = GOAT! We've never seen anyone at this level," Dallas Cowboys linebacker Micah Parsons wrote on X, formerly Twitter, after the Super Bowl.
His ability to recognize coverage, pressure and specific alignments from different players allows him to act incredibly quickly. He just has all the answers," said offensive tackle Andrew Wylie, who played with Mahomes for five years.
"There is nothing Patrick can do to diminish my successes. Conversely, there is nothing I can do that would prevent his successes," says the man who is considered the best of all time: Tom Brady. One would like to add, because Mahomes doesn't have to shy away from comparisons with Brady. And that the 28-year-old, who was only a few months older than Brady during his third Super Bowl triumph, heard. "Of course you hear that, but for me these comparisons are difficult because Tom Brady beat me in the Super Bowl (with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in February 2021 editor's note). That's one thing that's always in my head is, but also motivates me to keep getting better," Mahomes explained in an interview with the NFL Network following the Super Bowl triumph. For most competitors, this will likely be seen as a threat for the future.
Mahomes combines creativity, ambition, adaptability, a strong throwing arm and his inimitable game intelligence on the field. The Chiefs playmaker has adapted to the squad over the course of the season. Because he lacked suitable pass receivers alongside Kelce (who was always weak), he became an administrator, a driver - also in the knowledge that there was a strong defense behind him. "I have the mindset that every time I'm on the field I want to score. But when your defense is playing that well, you have to find the best way to win a game. That's what I learned this year," Mahomes said Mid-January after the playoff opening win against the Miami Dolphins.
Mahomes provided proof of this inner calm throughout the entire playoffs. In the four games, Mahomes only threw a total of six touchdowns, but the interception in the Super Bowl was also his only loss of the ball. "Of course I was upset, but I wanted to stay calm. Even if things don't go according to plan, I don't want to force anything, I just want to let the game come to me," Mahomes explains his style of play.
"When you play against players like Tom Brady or Pat Mahomes, you should never be too confident with a lead behind you. These are two of the best players the NFL has ever seen," 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan admitted after the game. Shanahan had already lost a final with the 49ers to Mahomes for the second time - and was responsible for the offense in Superbowl 51, when the Atlanta Falcons blew a 28-3 lead against Brady and the New England Patriots in the most memorable final in NFL history .
And in the final on Sunday, Shanahan also experienced the greatness of an extraordinary player. With the Chiefs trailing in overtime, Mahomes took responsibility, led his colors down the field within seven minutes and also had the composure to throw the decisive touchdown three seconds before the end of the game. Mahomes was the first quarterback in 30 years to complete eight of eight passes in one game and also run for at least 27 yards - and that in overtime in the most important game of the year.
Mahomes' true greatness became apparent after the game, when he was named most valuable player and let his teammates go first in the celebrations - and in interviews he never tired of pointing out that the whole team played excellently, "from defense to... the special teams and Harrison Butker's field goal from what felt like 70 yards away. It was “only” 57 yards, but it was still enough for a new record in the Super Bowl.
With the Chiefs' third success in five years, the NFL has entered a new dynasty. After the New England Patriots dominated the league for 18 years and celebrated six championships, it is now the team from Missouri's turn. And it could achieve something historic: no NFL team has ever managed to celebrate three championships in a row. If Patrick Mahomes gets new receivers in the offseason, this mission is not unlikely. But even without reliable pass receivers, the goal seems achievable - because nothing seems impossible for Patrick Mahomes. Not even the seven championship rings that Tom Brady has collected in his career.
Quellen: LA Times, CNN, Sports Illustrated, Washington Post, NFL Network