In his first few years as a starter, Kansas Metropolis Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes completed feats by no means earlier than seen on knowledgeable soccer area.
After turning into the 2018 AP NFL MVP in his first yr as a starter, the Tremendous Bowl MVP in his second yr and piling up accolades like “quickest QB to throw 100 touchdowns” or “quickest QB to throw 15,000 yards,” many Kansas Metropolis followers had been speaking about him as if he was the following GOAT — that’s, the Greatest Of All Time. His meteoric rise allowed him to win as many Tremendous Bowls as Tom Brady had throughout his first three seasons with the New England Patriots — and maybe unseat him as the best quarterback of all time.
Simply eight months in the past — earlier than Tremendous Bowl LV in Tampa Bay — that was the narrative.
However that was earlier than Mahomes and the Chiefs suffered their first double-digit loss since he turned the starter: their 31-9 defeat by Brady’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Tremendous Bowl LV. As soon as Brady proved that on the age of 44, he may nonetheless carry out at an MVP degree — and win his head-to-head battle towards Mahomes within the league championship — Kansas Metropolis followers needed to set that narrative apart.
Now, the Chiefs discover themselves exterior the playoff image with a 3-4 file — and Kansas Metropolis followers are involved about one other narrative: that Mahomes may very well be the following quarterback to observe a profession arc like Aaron Rodgers of the Inexperienced Bay Packers. A gifted quarterback who has made dazzling performs all through his profession, Rodgers has solely a single Tremendous Bowl win from the early seasons of his profession — and since he lacked playmakers round him, he has additionally had many misplaced seasons.
Nevertheless it may be that Mahomes’ profession arc extra intently resembles the one Russell Wilson has had with the Seattle Seahawks.
In 2012, Wilson took over an underperforming staff and led them to the playoffs — profitable his very first playoff recreation towards the Washington Soccer Staff. The Seahawks’ protection was constructed with an emphasis nobody else had thought-about: size. The staff had taken possibilities on late-round draft prospects who would assist them to play bodily soccer. When Wilson turned the starter, it was a sensible, veteran staff — and he supplied the spark they wanted within the offense.
In 2018, Mahomes took over an underperforming staff and led them to the AFC’s No. 1 seed, profitable his first playoff look towards the Indianapolis Colts. The Chiefs had additionally been constructed on a particular emphasis — however this one was within the offense: pace. Kansas Metropolis had additionally taken possibilities on unheralded prospects who allowed them to get to locations on the sector that opposing defenses actually couldn’t cowl. As soon as Mahomes arrived — unlocking the play-calling of the inventive teaching employees — the staff was rolling.
However each quarterbacks misplaced their very subsequent postseason video games to the convention’s eventual consultant to the Tremendous Bowl.
Of their second seasons, each Wilson and Mahomes managed their respective divisions and conferences for a lot of the season. Each led their groups to playoff byes — and ultimately, to Tremendous Bowl victories. (Not like Mahomes, Wilson was wholesome all through the season — and didn’t turn out to be Tremendous Bowl MVP).
Of their third seasons, Wilson and Mahomes each completely crushed their schedules, incomes the No. 1 seed of their conferences. Each cruised via the playoffs to the Tremendous Bowl. However then, each groups met a Tom Brady-led contender within the championship recreation — and misplaced in heartbreaking style. Wilson threw an iconic interception to the Patriots’ Malcolm Butler that determined the sport, whereas Mahomes executed an iconic horizontal throw that struck Darrel Williams’ helmet.
The Seahawks entered Wilson’s fourth season because the betting favorites to avenge their Tremendous Bowl loss. However within the season opener, a division rival will get a stunning win towards them. That’s adopted by a loss to the Packers, avenging their playoff loss from the earlier yr. By the top of October, the Seahawks had been 3-4 — and had been the discuss of the sports activities media world. On each present, the narrative was that “the dynasty is over.”
Does that sound acquainted?
After that, the Seahawks turned it round, profitable six of their final seven video games and incomes a Wild Card spot within the playoffs — the place they defeated the Minnesota Vikings 10-9 in a really bizarre (and chilly) highway recreation. The NFC’s eventual Tremendous Bowl consultant — the Carolina Panthers — knocked them out within the Divisional spherical.
In his fifth season, Wilson’s huge contract lastly hit. He had signed a four-year deal that paid him a mean of almost $22 million per season — the NFL’s second-highest cap hit behind Aaron Rodgers. Seattle had paid different contributors, too — together with Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas, Kam Chancellor, Michael Bennett, Cliff Avril and Ok.J. Wright. They needed to make it work with low cost playmakers and contributors to the offensive line.
And between Wilson’s veteran savvy, the protection and the teaching employees, the Seahawks had been capable of once more make the playoffs as a Wild Card — solely to exit within the Divisional spherical.
Within the six seasons since Seattle’s loss to Brady and the Patriots in Tremendous Bowl XLIX, the Seahawks have made the playoffs 5 instances — however have by no means been previous the Divisional spherical. Defensive stars went to different groups as administration changed them with younger, extra cheap gamers — and simply as soon as, Wilson was named a second-team All-Professional.
Kansas Metropolis’s monitor?
The Chiefs and Mahomes may observe a really related path. Additionally they have getting older stars like Travis Kelce and Tyrann Mathieu on the staff. They’ve additionally paid numerous contributors who now not stay as much as their contracts. The entrance workplace made a transfer to go youthful on the offensive line — however within the course of, it used so many property that they didn’t have the assets to fill different holes.
After a sluggish begin this season, we’ve been pressured to re-evaluate our expectations for this Chiefs staff. And as uncomfortable as it might be to counsel, we could must re-evaluate our expectations for what the Chiefs might be — not simply on this yr, however within the years to come back.
They’re not going to be the Patriots. They is probably not the Packers. And in the event that they don’t flip it round quickly, they gained’t even be the Seahawks. It’s as much as the staff this yr — and the entrance workplace this offseason — to make the robust choices essential to preserve this staff competing for years down the road.
We’ll simply need to see the way it performs out.