Patrick Mahomes grew up in Texas and enjoyed watching NFL quarterbacks such as Brett Favre, Aaron Rodgers and Matthew Stafford.
And what was it about Stafford — who two years ago led the Rams to a Super Bowl title — that impressed the young Mahomes, who is aiming to lead the Kansas City Chiefs to a third Super Bowl championship in five years?
“First off, he’s a Texas guy, so I mean, always love the Texas quarterbacks are out there having success,” Mahomes said Tuesday as he continued preparations for Sunday’s game against the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl LVIII. “Everybody talks about the sidearm throws and the no-look passes — I mean that’s from watching guys like Matthew Stafford play that I’ve been able to do it.
“I kind of got some hype coming into the league, but I mean you watch the film, he’s the guy that kind of started that stuff off, him and Brett Favre. And so it really is cool to be able to kind of be along those guys now, and be able to have my own impact on the game. I mean, those are the guys that I watched, that influenced me to be the quarterback that I am.”
In 2019-20, Mahomes led the Chiefs to victory over the 49ers in Super Bowl LIV. The Chiefs’ bid to repeat ended with a loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Super Bowl LV.
But in 2022-23, Mahomes led the Chiefs to another title over the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl LVII.
Now Mahomes, 28, is back for another shot at repeating. If the Chiefs win, Mahomes would become only the fifth quarterback to win at least three Super Bowls. Tom Brady won seven, Terry Bradshaw and Joe Montana each won four and Troy Aikman won three.
“You strive to be great — I mean you understand how hard it is to even be in this game,” Mahomes said. “And so for us, to be in my fourth one in my six years of starting, it truly is remarkable, and I don’t take it for granted because you never know if you’re going to be able to be back in this game.”
It is only a few days into Super Bowl week, and coach Andy Reid and Mahomes have been asked repeatedly about whether they consider the Chiefs a dynasty.
“The biggest thing about a dynasty is consistency — trying to be consistently great every single year,” Mahomes said. “Not getting too big-headed or satisfied. … You need to compete and do it year in and year out, and I don’t think you can really say you’re a dynasty until it’s over, and people will look back at your career and how you did it.
“And so for me, it’s just trying to be great every single year. And when I look back at my career, I’ll know that I gave everything that I had.”
More effort required
The 49ers’ defense is regarded as one of the NFL’s most talented and aggressive units, especially its star-studded line and linebacker corps.
But the defense came under scrutiny after giving less-than-maximun effort on a few scoring plays by the Detroit Lions in the NFC championship game.
Last week, coach Kyle Shanahan, coordinator Steve Wilks and several players said the effort and pursuit were issues, Wilks describing it as “embarrassing.”
On Tuesday, several players acknowledged they must improve against the Chiefs.
The message from Wilks and Shanahan?
“Just basically — it can’t happen,” lineman Chase Young said. “Just to be that dominant defense we want to be, it can’t happen.”
Said lineman Javon Hargrave: “I mean it’s just not a standard here. … They told us it can’t happen no more.”
Linebacker Dre Greenlaw indicated Shanahan and Wilks did not mince words.
“The most important thing is how we felt about it as a team,” Greenlaw said. “And I agree to the fullest extent. I felt like we could play harder and I felt like I could play harder too, so it starts with you’ve got to look at yourself too. That’s really what it boils down to.”