How Patrick Mahomes went from a high school baseball star to the most exciting player in the NFL and future of the league

David Eulitt/Getty Images

  • Patrick Mahomes has won an MVP, Super Bowl, and Super Bowl MVP in his first two years as a starter in the NFL.
  • Mahomes was a high school baseball and football star and nearly chose baseball, with an offer to turn pro.
  • Mahomes instead chose football, became a college star, rose up NFL draft boards, and broke out in 2018 to become the most exciting player in football.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Patrick Mahomes has been a revelation since becoming the starting quarterback of the Kansas City Chiefs.

The 24-year-old on Sunday helped the Chiefs win the Super Bowl and took home Super Bowl MVP. This, after winning MVP in 2018 with a 5,000-yard, 50-touchdown season in his first year as a starter.

Mahomes’ journey mirrors Stephen Curry’s in the NBA – Mahomes was the son of a major league pitcher and grew up with unbelievable arm talent. After an offer to play pro baseball, Mahomes chose football, rose to college stardom, climbed up draft boards, and got taken in the first round of the 2017 draft by the Chiefs.

In two short years, he has broken records, won at the highest level, and become the most exciting player to watch in the NFL with his huge arm and knack for creating highlight plays.

Here’s how Mahomes went from a possible baseball star to the face of the NFL.

In two years as a starter, Patrick Mahomes has broken records, won MVP, a Super Bowl, and a Super Bowl MVP. Not bad for somebody who could have played baseball.

Kevin C. Cox/Getty ImagesPatrick Mahomes.

Mahomes seems to have been born with a good arm. Mahomes’ father, Pat, was a major league pitcher, playing for six different teams.

Michael S. Green/APPat Mahomes played for 11 years in MLB.

Mahomes grew up in Texas with his mother (his parents split when he was six). He was a multi-sport athlete but excelled at baseball.

Kathy Willens/APPatrick Mahomes got on-field work with his dad’s MLB teammates as a kid.

According to ESPN’s Seth Wickersham, Mahomes was so good at an early age that he was traded – in tee-ball! He was moved up to play pitch-coach because he was so advanced.

Mahomes quickly outgrew the typical venues for kids to play sports.

via NFL NetworkPatrick Mahomes was a natural at throwing.

According to The Ringer’s Kevin Clark, Mahomes’ arm became too strong for backyard catches with his dad. By the time he was 10, he could throw from home plate over the centre field wall on a baseball field, a distance estimated to be 200-220 feet.

Mahomes was a football and baseball star in high school, though he considered quitting football to focus on baseball.

via Patrick Mahomes/InstagramPatrick Mahomes was a multi-sport athlete.

According to Sam Mellinger of The Kansas City Star, Mahomes thought his future was in baseball and was afraid of jeopardizing his career with a football injury. His mum convinced him to stick with it, however, because Mahomes liked football more.

He eventually won a competition for the starting quarterback job in high school over his good friend. He wowed teammates and coaches right away with his arm and improvisation.

Despite a 50-touchdown season his senior year, Mahomes was lightly scouted in football because of his raw talents, late start, and lack of participation in football camps.

via ESPNPatrick Mahomes won the quarterback job in high school and never looked back.

He told Wickersham that he never really got his name out on the football circuit.

Still, he turned down the chance to go play baseball. Mahomes told Mellinger that he told teams he wanted a $US2.5 million bonus to play baseball, a number he made up to dissuade teams. He still was drafted in the 37th round by the Detroit Tigers.

Mahomes ended up at Texas Tech and got some luck his freshman year when starting quarterback Davis Webb got injured. Mahomes had 16 touchdowns and 4 interceptions as a freshman.

Jerod Foster/Getty ImaggesPatrick Mahomes eventually set records at Texas Tech.

He broke out the following season, throwing for over 4,000 yards, 36 touchdowns, and 15 interceptions. He continued to improve his junior year, throwing over 5,000 yards with 41 touchdowns, and 10 interceptions. He set the NCAA record with 819 total yards of offence in a loss to Baker Mayfield and Oklahoma.

When Mahomes declared for the NFL draft after his junior year, he was projected as a mid-round pick.

Joe Robbins/Getty ImagesPatrick Mahomes’ draft stock rose during the draft process.

However, his draft stock grew throughout the process, as he was eventually considered a second- or first-round pick.

The Chiefs were enamoured with Mahomes, with Mike Veach, now the Chiefs GM, forming a tight bond with Mahomes’ agent before the draft. Veach kept daily tabs on Mahomes, gauging his market and figuring out ways to get Mahomes.

Gregory Payan/APThe Chiefs badly wanted to draft Patrick Mahomes.

Source: Yahoo’s Terez Paylor

On draft night, the Chiefs traded two first-round picks and a third-round pick to move up in the draft and take Mahomes.

Charlie Riedel/APThe Chiefs drafted Patrick Mahomes in the first round of the 2017 draft.

Mahomes didn’t show his incredible potential in his rookie year — because he didn’t play.

Ed Zurga/APPatrick Mahomes sat behind Alex Smith his rookie season.

Mahones was firmly behind veteran quarterback Alex Smith (who had one of his best seasons in 2017), playing just the final game of the regular season with the Chiefs’ playoff spot already locked up.

But behind the scenes, Mahomes was making an impression on his teammates.

Colin E. Braley/APPatrick Mahomes impressed coaches and teammates in practice his rookie year.

Chiefs quarterbacks coach Mike Kafka told Clark:

“There were a couple of throws early on in his rookie year. There was one where he was staring at the sideline, and he just flicked it right over Justin Houston’s head. That was the big one. That was the one where other coaches started noticing. I was working with him, and [former Chiefs OC and current Bears coach Matt Nagy] and some of the other coaches had seen it. But once he started to do that everyone said, ‘Oh, he’s really doing this.'”

In the offseason, the Chiefs traded Smith to the Washington Redskins, ushering in the Mahomes era.

Joe Sargent/Getty

Mahomes impressed in training camp, but there were concerns about the high number of interceptions he was throwing. Perhaps an up-and-down rookie year was in the cards.

Charlie Riedel/APPatrick Mahomes concerned some observers with his interceptions in training camp.

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That perception changed almost immediately once the regular season began.

Adam Glanzman/Getty Images

In Mahomes’ first three games, he threw for nearly 900 yards, with 13 touchdowns, 0 interceptions, and a 137 passer rating, while leading the Chiefs to a 3-0 record. They began the season 9-1, with Mahomes throwing for 31 touchdowns to just 6 interceptions.

In the process, Mahomes produced some jaw-dropping highlights.

AP Photo/Ed Zurga

They included: an Aaron Rodgers-esque scramble and 20-yard bullet to the end zone, a left-handed pass, a no-look pass, a side-arm completion, clutch throws across his body, and plenty of deep bombs.

Those throws may look wild, maybe even lucky, but they’re not.

Kelvin Kuo/AP

Mahomes told Clark that he practices every throw he makes – that includes the side arms, lefty throws, jumping throws, etc.

“I know there’s a chance I could make those throws in a game,” he said. “You want to practice this stuff. You don’t want the first time you do it to be in a game.”

His arm also became the subject of fascination during the season.

Jack Dempsey/AP

According to Clark, Mahomes’ baseball training seems to have helped him become a different type of thrower than most other quarterbacks, from the way he throws to the trajectory of his arm and ball.

Mahomes warms up with the long toss, like baseball players. During warmups, you might casually see him throw 90-yard passes.

Read more >

Mahomes is also a next-level athlete in his ability to take in information around him.

AP Photo/Charlie RiedelPatrick Mahomes sees the entire field.

Chiefs backup quarterback Matt Moore told Sports Illustrated’s Michael Rosenberg that Mahomes has an uncanny ability to see the entire field.

“It’s something I’ve never done,” Moore said. “When the ball leaves my hand, I’m looking at the target and making sure we hit it. The ball will literally leave his hand, and he’ll just find where the other guys are. His spatial awareness is off the charts. He knows where everybody is at, at all times – with every concept, with every coverage. It’s really amazing.”

The Chiefs finished the season 12-4, 1st in the AFC, while Mahomes threw for over 5,000 yards, with 50 touchdowns, and 12 interceptions, and winning MVP.

David Eulitt/Getty Images

The Chiefs lost to the Patriots in the AFC Championship in 2018, but Mahomes still finished the game with 295 yards and 3 touchdowns.

Charlie Neibergall/AP ImagesPatrick Mahomes in the 2018 AFC Championship.

After the game, Mahomes got some sage advice from Tom Brady.

Steven Senne/AP ImagesPatrick Mahomes and Tom Brady.

Mahomes told NBC Sports’ Peter King:

“The biggest thing he said was, ‘Stay with the process and be who you are.’ He didn’t want me to change at all. He wanted me to go out there and take advantage of every single day. When you hear it from a guy like that, who’s had the success at the level that he’s had for his entire career, you know you’ve got to take advantage of every single day if you want to be great … I used that to just make sure that I did everything to prepare to be in this moment now – and not be sitting at home.”

Mahomes didn’t top his 2018 numbers in the 2019 season, but he heeded Brady’s advice and saved his best for last — the playoffs.

Charlie Neibergall/AP ImagesPatrick Mahomes dominated the 2019 postseason.

In the first two games of the playoffs, Mahomes helped the Chiefs back from double-digit deficits, all while playing nearly perfect, completing 65% of his passes for 615 yards, 8 touchdowns, and 0 interceptions.

Mahomes may have struggled in his first Super Bowl, but he came through in the end. Trailing by 10, on 3rd-and-15 with 7:13 remaining, Mahomes completed a game-changing, 44-yard pass to Tyreek Hill.

Patrick Semansky/AP ImagesPatrick Mahomes during Super Bowl 2020.

Mahomes threw for 141 yards, 2 touchdowns, and an interception in the fourth quarter, helping the Chiefs get the 31-20 win over the 49ers. He won Super Bowl MVP.

Maddie Meyer/Getty ImagesPatrick Mahomes led the Chiefs to the win in Super Bowl 2020.

Mahomes is off to an historic start to his career, and it’s only just beginning.

Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Now, catch up on the the last 49ers Super Bowl team…

Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP Images

WHERE ARE THEY NOW? The key players from the 2012 49ers, San Francisco’s last Super Bowl team >

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