Will easygoing Patrick Mahomes, whose Chiefs may very well be underdogs come Sunday, lastly lean right into a slight for motivation?

At 5 years outdated, Patrick Mahomes would shag pop-ups on the pregame infield of the Texas Rangers, the place his father, Pat, would guarantee teammates that his child may deal with it with out getting injured. Quickly he was getting coached up by a minimum of Alex Rodriguez.

“He would watch my swing and provides me pointers,” Patrick mentioned.

Rising up in Whitehouse, Texas, the tales of Mahomes’ athletic feats are infinite and never simply in soccer.

There have been 300-yard drives in golf, center faculty excessive leap victories and testimonials about how he may make a wiffleball bend like nobody had ever seen. He was an ace in ping pong, a no-look go specialist as some extent guard and he taught himself to change hit to keep away from boredom in Little League. As soon as, in tee ball, he fielded a grounder at quick and threw it so laborious it knocked over his first baseman (Mahomes was moved up an age group after that).

“I knew he’d be knowledgeable athlete when he was 7,” his mom, Randi, as soon as informed the Kansas Metropolis Star. “I’m critical. There was by no means a query.”

That is how Mahomes has all the time carried himself – filled with confidence, utterly snug with any problem in entrance of him, simply able to play. He belonged. He’s all the time belonged. Basketball. Baseball. Soccer. No matter. Nobody has ever doubted him. If he didn’t play within the NFL, he’s in all probability in MLB.

Tom Brady has seven Super Bowl titles and 9 figures of internet price and he’s nonetheless fueled by getting drafted 199th overall. Mahomes has by no means wanted the motivation-of-the-slighted to energy him.

Michael Jordan received six NBA titles and is a worldwide icon, but he spent his complete profession fuming about getting placed on the junior varsity … as a highschool sophomore.

On the similar age, Mahomes did not win the quarterback job for his highschool (Whitehouse Excessive had a senior who would play at Stephen F. Austin) and was moved to protection the place he performed security. Then the College of Texas, amongst others, recruited him for the defensive secondary, not QB. Offended? Hardly. He simply shrugged and located a college (Texas Tech) the place he may play quarterback … and pitch on the baseball staff.

Mahomes is seemingly too easygoing to even keep in mind, not to mention invent some affront.

Not less than thus far.

Patrick Mahomes has never wielded slights as motivation before. Could all the talk surrounding Joe Burrow, the Bengals and their 3-0 record against him change that? (Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports)
Patrick Mahomes has by no means wielded slights as motivation earlier than. May all of the discuss surrounding Joe Burrow, the Bengals and their 3-0 report in opposition to him change that? (Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports activities)

Sunday will likely be one thing new for Mahomes, he’s taking part in in an AFC championship sport the place his Kansas City Chiefs have been, for no less than a short time this week, the betting underdog. And it’ll comply with numerous pregame media dialogue about whether or not his counterpart in Cincinnati, Joe Burrow, not Mahomes, is one of the best quarterback within the sport.

Patrick Mahomes, underdog? It doesn’t make loads of sense. The query is that if it turns into some type of constructive motivating issue – because it has traditionally for thus many athletes.

“I don’t really feel like an underdog,” Mahomes mentioned on Wednesday. “Particularly at Arrowhead.”

The betting strains moved in Cincinnati’s favor on account of issues over the high ankle sprain Mahomes sustained in a victory over Jacksonville final Saturday. As reviews of full-health (or near it) and video of him shifting effectively at observe have emerged, it’s shifted again within the Chiefs favor (-1).

Nonetheless, a lot of the media chatter has been about Burrow and whether or not he may rightfully declare the title of the league’s greatest quarterback with a victory Sunday. It’s not with out advantage, particularly since he’s received his final three duels with Mahomes, most notably in final yr’s AFC title sport.

Loads of athletes would have heard all of that and seen purple. Their coaches would have posted it up on the bulletin board – or today simply despatched to their telephones a video mashup of analysts speaking up Burrow.

Mahomes isn’t these different guys, although. It would get to him. It may not. It’s laborious to say, the person strikes with such ease that it’s inconceivable to recall him ever getting rattled by something.

“I feel totally different guys use it in numerous methods,” Mahomes mentioned. “I simply attempt to go on the market and put together myself to play my greatest soccer. In case you are not fired as much as play a staff that is crushed you 3 times in a row within the AFC championship sport you then’re not going to be fired up for any sport.”

Mahomes was drafted tenth total in 2017 and spent his rookie yr largely sitting and studying. After that, he turned a famous person. He threw 50 touchdowns in his first yr as a starter and is 58-16 (playoffs included) total. Not solely has he reached no less than the AFC championship sport each season, he’s by no means performed a street playoff sport (simply two impartial website Tremendous Bowls).

Even the primary time he performed for the AFC title, a January 2019 loss to Tom Brady and New England, the Chiefs have been 3-point favorites. And whereas Brady was Brady, the sport was hyped as a lot as a potential passing of the torch as the rest.

So now that there’s the slightest trace of disrespect – hey, perhaps Burrow is best? – will Mahomes flip into some raging MJ clone and look to crush anybody who ever dared to doubt?

Most likely not.

“I’m excited to play up in opposition to an excellent soccer staff and put up my greatest effort to go on the market and get a win,” he mentioned.

Let’s-just-play has all the time been his fashion.

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