Rozner: How the Chiefs found a Super quarterback

  • Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid, left, and quarterback Patrick Mahomes speak during a television interview after defeating the San Francisco 49ers in the NFL Super Bowl 54 football game Sunday, Feb. 2, 2020, in Miami Gardens, Fla.

    Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid, left, and quarterback Patrick Mahomes speak during a television interview after defeating the San Francisco 49ers in the NFL Super Bowl 54 football game Sunday, Feb. 2, 2020, in Miami Gardens, Fla.

Updated 2/3/2020 6:04 PM

So how do you find a quarterback like Patrick Mahomes?

Great scouting, apparently.


Seems simple enough, but Mahomes was not the first quarterback selected in the 2017 NFL draft, lasting until the 10th selection in the first round.

And Mahomes didn't even start his rookie year in the league, becoming MVP in 2018 in his first year under center.

Chiefs coach Andy Reid told the story Monday morning -- while holding the Lombardi Trophy -- of how Kansas City came to know that Mahomes would be their guy.

General manager Brett Veach, director of player personnel at the time, was the man who determined that Mahomes was the answer to their prayers.

That was in 2014, when Mahomes became the starter at Texas Tech midway through his freshman season.

Reid said Veach was insistent that this would be their quarterback, even though Alex Smith was only in his second season of five as the starter in Kansas City, and Mahomes was three years away from the NFL.

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The next year, it was just more of the same.

"Brett Veach wore out (then GM) John Dorsey and I on Patrick Mahomes when he first became a starter (at Texas Tech)," Reid said. "He said, 'This is the greatest player I've ever seen.'

"I'm going, 'That's a pretty bold statement.' He's seen a few guys. He's laying the tape on my desk and I'm going, 'This is the greatest player I've ever seen.' It was one of those deals."

Three years later, at the age of 24, Mahomes is the youngest player ever to win a regular-season MVP and a Super Bowl, and he and Peyton Manning are the only QBs to ever throw for 5,000 yards and 50 touchdowns in a season.

In two years and 31 starts, Mahomes has amassed 9,412 passing yards and 76 TDs against 18 interceptions.

"He was making throws (in college) like he did (Sunday night)," Reid said Monday morning. "Then you go, 'Well, let's see how he does this in the NFL. He can't do all that stuff and do it so well.'


"But he came to us and he started doing all that stuff and it just kind of came natural to him. Although he works on it, it's easy for him."

Reid says Mahomes has a rare ability to see everything that's happening on the field, and whether he makes a great play or a bad one, he knows exactly what happened.

A lot of coaches say that about their quarterbacks, and sometimes it's obvious the coach is saying it to pump up a player who doesn't have that football intellect.

"(Mahomes) sees the field, which I appreciate. You could see that in his college tape," Reid said. "You say all quarterbacks see it. No, they don't. Not like he does.

"He comes off the field and he can tell you accurately what he saw that play. There's video evidence if you're right or wrong every play. After a bit, you go, 'This guy's unbelievable.' He can take it all in.

"He challenges you as coach to give him more. His aptitude is ridiculous. As a coach you love that. You're able to feed him new plays and he gobbles those things up and makes them look even better than they did on paper."

Mahomes also has a knowledge of the offense that allows him to position his teammates quickly on the field, even though there's a lot of shifting and he's changing plays at the line.

"He's a great leader," Reid said. "He has this innate ability to make everyone around him better."

And now Mahomes is the Super Bowl MVP after three stirring comebacks in three straight postseason games, including outscoring San Francisco 21-0 in the final seven minutes Sunday, stealing a ring in a game that appeared to be over with 10 minutes left to play.

"I got this young quarterback over here that makes life easy every day," Reid said. "Every day it's a pleasure to come to work and know that you have an opportunity to coach him and his teammates.

"(GM) Brett Veach understands what it takes to win, but also the kind of people that we enjoy working with, so he brings in those kinds of guys and makes it enjoyable."

So you combine a GM who can identify talented players with a head for the game with a coach who can teach them, and then place those athletes on the field with a game plan and allow them to execute.

Sounds like a great formula for winning a Super Bowl.

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