You get one freebie year in life, when successes are untainted by expectation. This was that year for Patrick Mahomes, who became Football Steph in 2018, throwing for 5,097 yards and 50 touchdowns and leading the Kansas City Chiefs to the AFC Championship game.
It was a great season, and there is no shame in losing to Tom Brady in overtime. It’s just that from now on, Mahomes will be expected to win that game, every time, for the rest of his career.
Mahomes is about to become one of the most exposed athletes in American sports.
He’s possibly about to win the MVP award and word is he’s going to sign a $200 million contract with the Chiefs. That would be the first $200 million contract in league history. And then Mahomes already has a whole slew of endorsement deals inked, an untold number of Mahomes commercials centered around his arm strength undoubtedly headed our way.
Mahomes is now subject to all the narratives that drive discussion of quarterbacks.
Is he a leader?
Can he win The Big One?
Does this style work in the postseason?
And so on and so forth. When the year began, Mahomes was measured against Alex Smith, and by the time it ended, he was up against Tom Brady.
Life comes at you fast, and Mahomes, 23, is entering full adulthood.
There is no reason to think Mahomes won’t handle this well, but the world is changing on him fast. Like every young star quarterback before him, his career is instantly now all about the Super Bowl.
And getting past the friggin’ Patriots.