Patrick Mahomes is the NFL’s MVP and here’s why
Earlier this season I had a mental breakthrough while watching the end of the Bills and Ravens Week 4 matchup. Josh Allen and Lamar Jackson, two players who have undeniably “stolen shine” from Patrick Mahomes over the course of the last 3 seasons duking it out in what ended up as a 3-point Bills victory. I had a moment like the Grinch when he is trying to save the sleigh full of Whoville’s Christmas gifts and decorum from barreling down Mt. Crumpit where his heart grew three sizes.
I turned to my wife and told her “I have to stop watching football with my Twitter brain and just accept the fact that great football is being played in places other than Kansas City.” I realized to enjoy the full spectrum of how great Patrick Mahomes actually is, I first had to accept and admire how great his competition is as well. My Twitter brain stopped me from doing that by essentially quote-tweeting any positive thought I had about any other NFL quarterback with the eyes emoji and just saying “LMAOOOOOOOO” or “imagine thinking this guy is better than Patrick Mahomes”. Twitter brain is a real thing that should at some point be considered a diagnosable disorder in the DSM-V. More people need to lend themselves the personal vulnerability of heightening their self-awareness and abandoning this line of thinking or at least leaving it in the correct place in time. If left unchecked, it can give you a pretty skeptical view of the world – specifically the sports world.
But sometimes when you fawn for a team that has been at or near the top of the mountain for an extended period of time, you develop a natural defense mechanism to what you see in the media and online. I’ve been one of the most guilty parties involved in harboring a special type of disdain for any non-Chiefs “hype train” that has developed since 2018. The hype train is tough to derail. The hype train is powerful, and with the momentum, it can gain from opposing fanbases on Twitter – who we can all interact with both positively and negatively – it can seem like it’s coming from everywhere, crumbling someone in a vulnerable state like I was before my breakthrough.
While there are several quarterbacks playing very well in 2022, Patrick Mahomes is still on another level when it comes to naming the NFL’s MVP.
Coming into 2022, there were multiple hype trains rolling squarely down the tracks that were invented and intended to create a new narrative league-wide that was certainly not bullish on Kansas City. Josh Allen and the Buffalo Bills have created a team of Monstars that were going to run roughshod on the entire league and finally avenge their previous two playoff exits. This was supposed to finally be the year that Justin Herbert and the Los Angeles Chargers figured it out and dominated the entire world – let alone the NFL. All-world talent Tua Tagovailoa and the Miami Dolphins added Tyreek Hill who would be an unstoppable force, Russell Wilson was in Denver with a “loaded roster” finally, and Derek Carr and Davante Adams were reuniting.
Some of these do in fact deserve the quote tweet “LMAOOOOOO” combo I mentioned above. But others have held true so far this season. Josh Allen and the Bills have looked unstoppable at times. Justin Herbert has almost single-handedly kept the Chargers within striking distance of the Chiefs in the AFC West standings amid a litany of injuries to key contributors. Tua and Tyreek do look explosive, with Hill pacing to set the single-season receiving yardage record and be within a sniff of the single-season receptions record on top of being the favorite for Offensive Player of the Year. In the NFC, Jalen Hurts has taken another step forward in his career progression and the Philadelphia Eagles are a surprising 8-1.
Then you have Patrick Mahomes. The man that it seemed that football might have forgotten about, and at very least doubted coming into 2022. Who can blame them? Mahomes lost the aforementioned Hill in the off-season and had just Travis Kelce coming back as a Kansas City-tried and Kansas City-true pass-catching weapon. JuJu Smith-Schuster and Marquez Valdes-Scantling aside, the Chiefs had a new receiver corps and a defense that was young and unproven. Many questioned if Eric Bieniemy remaining on staff and Mike Kafka leaving his post as quarterbacks coach would have an impact on the young QB, although much of that died down with the re-addition of noted Mahomes favorite Matt Nagy. Every narrative that could have been dug up about the Chiefs would not return to the NFL’s mountaintop seemed like it was unearthed between March and August of 2022.
Well, 9 games into the regular season the defense is still young and unproven – albeit they have exceeded expectations and been very, very clutch at times. JuJu has shown promise but MVS has had difficulty at times making the rubber meet the road. Kelce has been magnificent of course, and Kadarius Toney gave us all reason to be nothing but hopeful about his potential with his performance on Sunday against the Jaguars. But the rest of the Chiefs’ weapons have been inconsistent at times. That doesn’t seem like something that has been of much concern to Mahomes thus far.
After a Week 9 win at home against the Tennessee Titans, where a herculean 4th quarter and overtime effort from Mahomes—mostly on the ground—sealed the Chiefs’ sixth victory of the season and kept pace with the Bills for the AFC’s best record, it looks like people are remembering that Patrick Mahomes might in fact still be “HIM”.
Patrick Mahomes is single-handedly reinventing backyard football pic.twitter.com/rU3jCaZvM2
— Dylan (@TheBeardedPod) November 7, 2022
How did he follow that up? With a nearly flawless performance against the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 10. Even our friends over at PFF agreed.
Highest graded Chiefs in Week 10 win vs Jaguars:
🥇 Patrick Mahomes – 91.4
🥈 Travis Kelce – 83.0
🥉 Kadarius Toney – 82.8
4️⃣ Nick Bolton – 81.7
5️⃣ Trey Smith – 80.9 pic.twitter.com/bSrDYi4Lo4
— PFF KC Chiefs (@PFF_Chiefs) November 15, 2022
But many more have held onto the fact that Allen and the Bills have done enough in the first half of the season to maintain the title as the league’s best for this year. Of course, these tweets below don’t take into account the now-infamous end-zone fumble and end-of-game meltdown against the Vikings. But in all honesty, even now who can blame them? Allen has had an incredible start to the season. Interceptions and inopportune fumbles aside, he has been remarkable and at times has looked absolutely unstoppable.
Midseason award predictions are in‼️
Full article at https://t.co/faGWpXwvyg pic.twitter.com/mV3xur7LGE
— NFL GameDay (@NFLGameDay) November 8, 2022
Tua and the Dolphins have looked the exact same at times, and Jalen Hurts looks like he’s doing in Philadelphia what he did a few times for the Crimson Tide during his 26-2 run there. If you listen to Emmanuel Acho, I really am praying for you, but according to him, Hurts has done enough to be the frontrunner for MVP over both Allen and Mahomes.
Josh Allen cost his team this game.
Jalen Hurts must be the sole leader of the MVP race. It is no longer up for discussion or debate.
— Emmanuel Acho (@EmmanuelAcho) November 6, 2022
I bring you the takes of Emmanuel Acho in jest, of course. After the Eagles’ stinker on Monday Night Football, Acho had this to say about Hurts. Those who have watched football in Kansas City know this is patently inaccurate.
The Eagles coaches have done a MARVELOUS job maximizing Jalen Hurts ability.
I haven’t seen a QB jump pass in maybe half a decade, but a great coach unlocks a playbook to unlock a player. #FlyEaglesFly
— Emmanuel Acho (@EmmanuelAcho) November 15, 2022
But regardless, Lamar Jackson has been great for the Ravens this year, Joe Burrow has looked dominant in Cincinnati with Ja’Marr Chase healthy, and as I said earlier, Justin Herbert has kept the Chargers’ heads above water despite a chaotic injury situation (again) in Los Angeles and continually questionable coaching decisions. Even Geno Smith has thrown his hat in the ring for long-shot MVP consideration, leading a Seattle team that everyone had slated as the winners of the Bryce Young sweepstakes in August to a 6-4 record and a lead over the 49ers in the NFC West.
Guess what? All of those things are okay. They’re actually more than okay. They’re awesome. The more quality football that is being played, the more entertaining the big games become when they come around. Enjoying and respecting the ways that these other great quarterbacks have played this season is fine, and to be honest, the debate about Mahomes or Allen being this year’s MVP is still a very real one that could toggle back and forth for the rest of the season. Hurts and Tagovailoa aren’t going anywhere anytime soon, either. Recognizing the greatness of the seasons these other quarterbacks are having is crucial to understanding just how undeniably great Mahomes has been this year.
Forget about the question marks coming into this season, Patrick Mahomes has done nothing but redefine greatness once again in the first half of this NFL season. Peyton Manning’s single-season passing yards record is in grave danger with Mahomes pacing for 5,535 yards without Tyreek Hill. Mahomes is also on pace for 45 touchdown passes and 12 picks. As of Sunday night, he became the all-time leading passer in league history in a quarterback’s first 75 starts with 21,896. Wait, that was a typo: he’s done that in 72 starts, but has still outpaced what every other quarterback in league history achieved in 75. Mahomes also stretched his November and December winning streak to 24 consecutive games. This is the longest winning streak in a two-month span in the NFL since the Nixon administration (1972 – 50 years ago).
To say that Mahomes has been jaw-droppingly good in 2022 would be both anecdotally and factually correct at a rate of 100%. But to say that the other quarterbacks in the MVP race have been trash is just untrue. Don’t nitpick Josh Allen for throwing two picks in a loss to the Jets and following it up with the mishap against the Vikings when you had a very limited amount of positive things to say about him when he was shredding the league in Weeks 1-8. Don’t give the credit to Jalen Hurts supporting cast when we ourselves have touted Mahomes for his achievements without Tyreek Hill. And don’t dismember the Tua Tagovailoa argument with the rationale that Tyreek has made him because we had the same luxury for many, many years here in Kansas City.
Respect the level of play we’re witnessing in the NFL right now and you’ll be able to appreciate the incredible sights we’re privileged to behold here in Chiefs Kingdom with Patrick Mahomes under center. A high benchmark is never a bad thing to have set when your quarterback is constantly surpassing expectations and resetting the bar no matter where he begins the process in the broader public’s eye. Without much preseason hype, without his go-to weapon from years past, and without question, Patrick Mahomes is the gold standard in the NFL this year, and that should come as a surprise to no one.