Mahomes' hype off the charts

By Steve Sell
July 24, 2018

Enough already. My head is about to explode.

There was a story in today’s Kansas City Star that Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes is a darkhorse for the NFL’s MVP award.

The claim, which I consider outrageous more than anything else, was made by NFL columnist and CBS sportscaster Adam Schein. Here’s to hoping Schein’s far reach actually comes true, but I think he’s chugged a little too much of the Kool-Aid.

It’s time to pump the brakes on the Mahomes media circus as he’s being set up to fail. He’s started all of one game for the Chiefs, a meaningless season finale against Denver that had no bearing on the standings. While he was impressive in that game, pulling out a late win, Mahomes is still basically a green horn. 

I get it, though, why he is the subject of so much hype. He is big, strong and athletic, with an arm that resembles a cannon. He plays with an air of confidence, which you like to see in your quarterback. There’s more to being a quarterback, however, than the physical attributes, there’s the mental aspect and we don’t really know yet how long it will take him to develop those.

Of course, the adoring Chiefs fans are buying into the hype. After five years of Alex Smith, who was quiet, reserved and took few chances, the gunslinging Mahomes is a breath of fresh air. He's charismatic and has a sports pedigree in that he's the son of a former Major League Baseball pitcher.

Earlier Mahomes was anointed by one media report to be the NFL’s No. 1 breakout player of the year. Here’s to hoping Andy Reid and the Chiefs coaching staff is keeping him grounded and humbled.

Reid can go one of two ways. He can go conservative at first, with Mahomes relying on what should be a slam-bang running game with a stable of proven backs such as Kareem Hunt, Spencer Ware and Charcandrick West (with Anthony Sherman the blocking back). He can throw short passes to receivers like Tyreek Hill and Sammy Watkins, and then take a shot downfield with tight end deluxe Travis Kelce.

Or Reid can just turn the unbroken colt loose and let him improvise, which is what he did against Denver. Mahomes has such faith in his prized right arm that he believes he can throw into five defenders and make the completion. He also is going to learn that quarterbacks in the NFL don’t last long if they try to make too many plays with their feet. Just look how beat up Cam Newton is now.

Mahomes and his glittering cast of playmakers are sending Chiefs fans into a hyper-frenzy. They see all this talent and speed, perhaps not realizing an offense is only as good as its offensive line.

And don’t forget, the Chiefs’ defense has to get some stops. It can’t allow opposing teams to run all over them, which keeps the ball away from Mahomes and the offense.

I’m all for getting excited about Mahomes and what he can do. But let’s tamp down the expectations and give the kid some games to get his feet wet.