by Jordy McElroy
When the Kansas City Chiefs selected Patrick Mahomes with the 10th overall pick of the 2017 NFL Draft, they could have never predicted the immediate impact he would have on the team. Two Pro Bowls, a league MVP, a Super Bowl title and a Super Bowl MVP—Mahomes was the Category 5 storm no one saw coming.
After engineering a fourth quarter comeback to defeat the San Francisco 49ers at Super Bowl LIV on Sunday, the 24-year-old quarterback hoisted the Lombardi Trophy with his teammates in a moment that lacked the finality of most recent Super Bowl winners. It was obvious, amid the raining confetti, the Chiefs are far from a one-and-done champion.
Mahomes doesn’t only have the potential to be abnormally great, but he is already chiseling out his spot on Mount Rushmore, alongside the league’s all-time great quarterbacks. There has never been a player with so many tools at the position. He’s a modern-day marvel; the next best thing after Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers.
Granted, the mountaintop still stands at nosebleed heights for the young quarterback, but time being on his side, along with the right teammates and coaches, gives him the opportunity to snatch the stars from the sky.
How many Super Bowls could Mahomes realistically win with the Chiefs?
It’s important to realize talent doesn’t always translate to Super Bowl wins. Dan Marino would make most top-five quarterback lists even though he never won a championship. Rodgers was proclaimed to be the most talented quarterback of all time before Mahomes came along, and so far, he’s only managed to win one Super Bowl over the course of his illustrious 15-year career. Manning only won two Super Bowls—one with the Indianapolis Colts and another with the Denver Broncos.
There is a tendency to assume it’ll start raining Lombardi Trophies for the Chiefs when there are too many external factors that could come into play along the way.
The Chiefs were fortunate throughout the year in avoiding any serious injuries that could have compromised their season. That isn’t going to be the case every year.
There is also the future record-breaking contract extension for Mahomes that will undoubtedly put a strain on the team’s cap flexibility, especially with the rumored number being in the ballpark of $200 million. Will the Chiefs offense eventually devolve into a below average unit buoyed by the best quarterback in football?
Rodgers has been living in that same purgatory for nearly a decade as the leading man in Green Bay.
The window for winning championships may never open wider than it is now for the Chiefs. Another consideration is All-Pro tight end Travis Kelce turning 31 years old next season. Although youth is predominantly on the Chiefs’ side offensively, Mahomes won’t always be surrounded by an elite cast.
There’s a strong likelihood he can drag the team to two or maybe even three more Super Bowls before hanging up his headband and calling it a career. But there are far too many hurdles to expect coach Andy Reid and Mahomes to turn into the next Brady and Bill Belichick with six Super Bowl victories and nine appearances. The salary cap was put into place to keep that very thing from happening.
It still won’t stop Mahomes’ relentless pursuit to be the greatest of all time.
That unrivaled hustle is ultimately what led him to ascending to the top of the league so quickly, and it could put him on the path towards achieving the impossible. The line separating what’s real and what’s possible has never been so blurred for a quarterback.