LAS VEGAS — If you can’t beat Patrick Mahomes, you won’t be Super Bowl champion. He is the one now who won’t let anyone near the Lombardi Trophy. He is the first quarterback to repeat since Tom Brady.
He is the one chasing Tom Brady.
Brady is the GOAT.
Mahomes is the young GOAT.
He is Michael Jordan in a helmet and shoulder pads playing above the rim and daring anyone to stop him.
He is the one halfway to Jordan with three rings now, tied now with Troy Aikman and one behind Joe Montana and Terry Bradshaw. He is the one four rings from Brady, and he is the one who plans on playing for 15 more years if he can.
He is football’s Taylor Swift on the big stage.
Magic Mahomes again. MVP Mahomes again.
Of course he was already thinking three-peat. A historic three-peat.
“I’ll celebrate tonight, I’m gonna celebrate at the parade and I’m gonna do whatever I can to be back in this game next year — try to go for that three-peat,” said Mahomes, who finished 34-for-46 for 333 passing yards, two touchdowns, an interception, and 66 rushing yards on nine carries. “Once you win that championship, and you have those parades and you get those rings, you’re not the champion anymore. You have to come back with that same mentality.”
Tom Brady’s mentality.
Brock Purdy had just marched the 49ers into the lead in overtime. Then it was Mahomes’ turn.
No one in Kansas City, and maybe no one in Taylor Swift’s suite, doubted him.
This was safety Justin Reid as OT loomed: “I was like, ‘It’s over, man. We’re going to get the ball back to 15.’ ”
Mahomes with the ball last is a heartbreaking proposition for the other guys.
These are the moments he lives for, the moments when the great ones see order and mortals see chaos, when a quiet mind and a fire in the belly conspire for The Perfect Storm. The Perfect Storm that rains greatness.
He beats you with his arm, his legs, his head and his heart.
“I’m gonna try to stop getting down 10 points in these games,” The Super Bowl Comeback Kid said.
Mahomes had matriculated the ball down the field and now the scoreboard clock was ticking down to six seconds and Mahomes yawned and found Mecole Hardman — Mecole Hardman! — all alone on the right side of the end zone for the 3-yard TD pass that gave the Chiefs dynasty a dramatic 25-22 victory. “Coach Reid, man, he knows when to call those plays at the right time,” Mahomes said.?
Mahomes had rambled twice on the drive, the first time for 8 yards on fourth-and-1, the next time for 19 yards prior to the dagger into San Francisco hearts, especially Kyle Shanahan’s, who can never finish.
Mahomes never ever flinches.
It never gets old for Patrick Mahomes. The thrill of victory, the addiction to winning, the joy and exhilaration of celebrating with family and teammates.
Mahomes always recognizes Winning Time, and he faced it in the fourth quarter. His quarter.
He found Travis Kelce twice for 29 yards and Justin Watson for 25 more, and soon it was first-and-goal at the 4. But he couldn’t find anyone open on second or third down, and settled for the field goal that made it Chiefs 16, 49ers 16 with 5:46 remaining.
He had been bewitched, bothered and bewildered in the first half by defensive coordinator Steve Wilks and the 49ers’ defense.
Mahomes was guilty of a first-half intentional grounding and a grievous interception to Ji’Ayir Brown on his first possession of the second half when he overthrew Kelce or underthrew Marquez Valdes-Scantling.
His best moment had come at the end of the first half when he flushed left and threw deep across his body downfield right for 52 yards to Hardman.
It preceded Kelce’s worst moment. Isiah Pacheco, first-and-goal at the 9, lost a fumble, and Kelce bumped and raged at Reid on the sideline. “Put me in, I’ll score,” Reid recalls Kelce telling him.?
Mahomes made it all better. Reid and Kelce and Swift were all smiles on the field when it ended. Because overtime is Mahomes’ quarter too.
“Our mindset was, ‘Go win the game right here,’ ” Mahomes said.
He won the game right there. He is only 28. He intends on tormenting defenses for another 15 years, at least one more year with Reid. Defenses won’t like it.
But we can like watching him. We should cherish him for as long as we can. We won’t see the likes of him anytime soon.