Patrick Mahomes is in a familiar place entering the 2022 postseason, but he might still be getting used to one surprising fact.
Of all AFC quarterbacks participating in the playoffs, the 27-year-old Mahomes is the oldest.
“It speaks to the talent that we have in the AFC,” Mahomes said Wednesday, via The Athletic. “The guys that I’m looking around at are going to be there for a long time, so I’ll be the old head in the AFC for a while now. I’ll try to use that experience to my advantage.”
Mahomes arrived to the NFL as a first-round pick who spent his first season sitting behind established veteran Alex Smith before launching what has already been a legendary career. In just his second season as the Chiefs’ starter (third overall), he led them to the Super Bowl and authored one of the most memorable comebacks in Super Bowl history.
Since then, Mahomes has proven to be a reliably explosive, highly productive quarterback who quickly cemented his place among the position’s elite in the NFL. His quick ascension convinced the football world he’d be a mainstay in the league for the next decade-plus, and he’s done nothing to suggest otherwise.
The group around him, however, has enjoyed a youth movement that has positioned the conference for plenty of exciting future battles.
Josh Allen’s rise to superstardom stands as the best example. Allen went from a first-round pick with a big arm and plenty of untapped potential to a dynamic threat who strikes fear in the heart of opposing offenses.
Add in the quick success of the likes of Cincinnati’s Joe Burrow, Los Angeles’ Justin Herbert, Baltimore’s Lamar Jackson (whose status for Super Wild Card Weekend is highly uncertain) and the significant improvement made by Jacksonville’s Trevor Lawrence, and you have your crop of new talent. The next generation has arrived.
At 27 years old, Mahomes is very much in the early portion of his prime. He isn’t going anywhere, and he’s already seen plenty with the powerhouse Chiefs, reaching four conference championship games and two Super Bowls, winning it in his first appearance.
That’s a ton of valuable experience for a quarterback who isn’t yet near his 30th birthday. It’s also a big reason why the Chiefs will remain a contender for the foreseeable future.
“Experience helps, (but) it is single elimination, so everybody’s got to be sharp,” coach Andy Reid said Monday, again via The Athletic. “It’s not just Patrick. We’ve all got to do our job and do it well. It sure doesn’t hurt Pat to have the experience that he has.”
With the single-season total yards record already in hand, Mahomes is almost certain to take home All-Pro honors at quarterback and is a favorite to win his second NFL MVP. That leaves one significant goal on his checklist: Win another Super Bowl.
“Winning the Super Bowl again, I’ll have a greater appreciation for it because I’ve been through the trials and struggles of losing,” Mahomes said. “Now that I’ve been in the struggle of losing the AFC Championship games, losing the Super Bowl, it builds a greater appreciation for the grind and that you have to come every single day to work not knowing that you’re going to be at the top at the end of the season.”
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