Patrick Mahomes Recalls Eye-Opening Moment Against Patriots

'It was crazy, it was a game I didn't even play in'

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December 4, 2022

Given the heights he’s reached in the NFL in such a short amount of time, it’s easy to forget Patrick Mahomes wasn’t a Day 1 starter for the Chiefs.

Mahomes effectively red-shirted as a rookie in Kansas City, serving as a backup to trusted veteran Alex Smith. The star signal-caller’s first professional season kicked off with a game that came with tons of pomp and circumstance, and even though Mahomes didn’t play, the contest had a significant impact on the Texas Tech product.

The 2017 campaign began with the Chiefs traveling to New England to battle Tom Brady and the Patriots, who hung their fifth Super Bowl championship banner at Gillette Stadium before kickoff in Foxboro. That proved to be the premier highlight of the night for Bill Belichick’s team, as the Chiefs flattened the Patriots by two touchdowns.

During an appearance on the latest episode of the “New Heights” podcast, Mahomes looked back on that September night in New England and explained how it served as somewhat of a wakeup call.

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“It’s crazy, it was a game I didn’t even play in,” Mahomes said, as transcribed by ClutchPoints. “It was the first game we played we go to New England on Thursday night opening. They dropped the banner, all this different type of stuff. And I remember running out in the field and being like, ‘Holy? This is the NFL.’

“I was in pat-and-go and I was firing. We’re not patting everybody, just lobbing them. I’m throwing 50-yard seeds down the sideline. Everybody?s like, ‘What are you doing?’ I’m pumped up and then I sat and I got to watch the game. Obviously, we had a heck of a game, Kareem Hunt had a heck of a game and Alex, and so we ended up winning that game. 

“To me, that was the first moment of being like, ‘Man, this is the NFL.’ I watched Tom Brady my entire life. So, I’m like we’re playing Tom Brady, the New England Patriots.”

The Chiefs and the Patriots went on to have a few more memorable matchups before Brady left New England, including an overtime thriller in the 2018 AFC Championship Game. Brady and company outlasted Kansas City on that cold evening at Arrowhead Stadium, but Mahomes and the Chiefs responded the following season with a Lombardi Trophy.

Thumbnail photo via Denny Medley/USA TODAY Sports Images
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