Patrick Mahomes continues to fill the custom trophy case built into his new home with accolades.
Alongside his pair of Lombardi Trophies and his two MVP awards, Mahomes' flashy new trophy case now houses a second trophy for being named the best player in the league by his peers in the latest NFL Top 100 rankings.
Mahomes lands the top spot in the survey of players across the NFL mere months after winning his second Super Bowl.
When asked by FanBuzz what makes Mahomes special, Las Vegas Raiders Pro Bowl edge rusher Maxx Crosby simply called the Chiefs quarterback "the ultimate competitor."
Witnessing Mahomes in action is akin to watching the creation of a future first-ballot Hall of Fame legacy, a spectacle that has garnered resounding respect and acclaim not only from his rivals, but also from executives across the NFL. But what sets Mahomes apart from the game's top quarterbacks? Which traits elevate Mahomes to the gold standard that quarterbacks across the league are measured against? FanBuzz spoke to executives and players around the league to find out what makes Mahomes special.
What Makes Patrick Mahomes Elite?
Mahomes' Chiefs have won the AFC West Division championship every year since he became the starting quarterback. Those who witness Mahomes' magic twice each season — especially those tasked with containing him, say it's easy to see why.
"I think Patrick does a great job managing the game," Los Angeles Chargers defensive end Sebastian Joseph-Day told FanBuzz. "He knows where his spots are. He knows where to put the ball. He doesn't hesitate very much. When he makes his decisions, he always makes the decision at full-speed"
Some of Mahomes' signature performances have been authored in the biggest moments of postseason games that have already etched a place in Chiefs (and NFL) lore.
From an enthralling 42-36 come-from-behind overtime victory past Josh Allen and the Buffalo Bills into the AFC Championship Game, to a frenetic second half that powered the Chiefs' Super Bowl victory over the San Francisco 49ers, Mahomes has forged a reputation for rising to the biggest occasions on the NFL's grandest stages.
Only Tom Brady's Patriots and Joe Burrow's Bengals have managed to vanquish Mahomes in the AFC Playoffs, with both losses coming in the conference championship game.
A defensive coach from one of those staffs told FanBuzz, on the condition of anonymity because he isn't authorized to discuss another team, that he's continuously awed by what Mahomes is able to do between the lines, and the influence he wields over his teammates.
"Patrick has all the arm strength you could ask for," the coach says. "But, he's creative vertically and horizontally. Him and Andy [Reid] aren't the least bit afraid to evolve as the season unfolds. He also has an elite football IQ, and rare mobility."
Last season, in addition to beating the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl 57, Mahomes passed for a career-high 5,250 yards with 41 touchdowns with just 12 interceptions.
Perhaps most impressive is the fact that those numbers came in the months following Kansas City trading away All-Pro speedster Tyreek Hill to the Miami Dolphins. It almost hasn't mattered who Mahomes' top receivers are, as he continues to consistently produce as one of the most prolific quarterbacks in the sport.
"You have to play through the whistle when you play Mahomes," an NFC Executive told FanBuzz. "His eyes are always staying down the field, even when the play breaks down."
Beyond possessing almost unmatched athleticism at the quarterback position that has helped Mahomes average 4,791 passing yards, 38 touchdowns and just under 10 interceptions per season through his first half decade as the Chiefs' starting quarterback, the two-time first-team All-Pro has had the luxury of playing for one of the game's most innovative playcallers in Andy Reid.
"When you have a quarterback who has all of those things, and obviously his coaches do a great job calling plays — Andy Reid is one of the best coaches in the NFL," Joseph-Day said. "When you have a great mixture of all those things, that's what makes him such a great quarterback."
Mahomes has been the driving force behind the Chiefs' run of five consecutive AFC West championships and three Super Bowl appearance over the past four years. No quarterback has more wins since 2020 than Mahomes' 40.
It isn't a stretch to suggest that as long as Reid and Mahomes are together, the Chiefs' will be the team to beat in the AFC on the road to the Super Bowl.
Both Mahomes and Reid have the rare and legitimate opportunity before them in coming years to cement their status as the greatest quarterback and greatest head coach in the history of the sport.
To Mahomes' teammates, it's the preparation from Monday through Saturday that has set the foundation for his legacy to be built upon on Sundays.
"It's a mix of three things that make Patrick special," Chiefs All-Pro center Creed Humphrey told FanBuzz. "His competitive drive, his love for the game, and his God-given talent."
As a new NFL season is set to dawn, Mahomes has the opportunity with every snap to author a new highlight, with every victory a new chapter of his legacy, and that trophy case of his will likely need to be expanded long before all is said and done.
"Hope is a powerful concept in this business," the coach says. "And Patrick inspires hope regardless of circumstances, and you can see that permeate to the Chiefs' offense, defense, and special teams.
"He truly is rare and revolutionary. I don't know if they were the best team in the AFC last year, but a quarterback is to football as 10 is to 1. Patrick elevates everyone around him."
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