Patrick Mahomes Embraces Villain Role, Talks NFL Legacy

In an exclusive sitdown with Nate Burleson, Mahomes discussed the 2023-24 season and what he's focused on in the short and long term.

In the week leading up to Super Bowl LVIII, the Kansas City Chiefs' budding dynasty has been a popular discussion topic. With a victory over the San Francisco 49ers, Andy Reid's club would have its third championship win in five seasons. Naturally, that'd likely cement Kansas City as the NFL's next modern dynasty that goes down in history.

It's been a trying year for the reigning champs, especially considering where they were less than two months ago. All it takes is a trip back in time to Christmas Day to see the Chiefs as a team that certainly didn't have the look of a Super Bowl winner. From that point on, though, quarterback Patrick Mahomes helped rally the troops and lead Kansas City through the AFC playoffs.

In an exclusive sitdown interview with Nate Burleson of CBS Sports this week, Mahomes weighed in on having such a challenging path in the regular season and postseason.  

"It was fun," Mahomes said. "It really was fun, and you could see it kind of shaping up to be that way, but you know you're going to have to face the best. And that's what you want in this sport is playing the best. We played Miami in freezing, freezing weather and then we played Buffalo up in cold Buffalo. Go to Baltimore, who had been the best team all year, and find a way to win that game. And then we're playing the 49ers this week, who's the best team all year as well. Just being able to say that we took everybody's best shot and we were able to come out on the other side victorious, that'd be truly remarkable and something that I'm hoping we get to do."

With winning comes high expectations and responsibility. In many regards this season, the Chiefs have emerged as the team everyone else is looking to knock off their pedestal. AFC and NFC contenders alike, as well as their respective fan bases, couldn't wait to see Mahomes and Co. fall. Because Kansas City eventually snapped out of its funk and got back to winning, that kept them moving along a natural villain arc.

As far as Mahomes is concerned, he embraces that role. He now knows he can't please everyone. 

"You definitely have gotten that sense this year," Mahomes said. "I think this is the year that has actually kind of came out that way. That's part of it — you turn into that villain, you turn into that team that everybody doesn't want to win. You have to embrace that, too, in order to be great. I think you've seen the greats do that in every sport whenever they start building dynasties and stuff like that. We want to do that, and we want to stamp that with a Super Bowl win."

With a third ring in six full-time seasons as a starter, Mahomes would be off to objectively the greatest start to a career in league history. In recent days and weeks, talks about his standing among all quarterbacks to ever play have grown louder and louder. The bar is set extremely high for the best player in the sport, which is something he's earned after consistently answering the call. He doesn't have a true contemporary at this point in his career.

Mahomes's legacy rises above other stars like Josh Allen, Joe Burrow and Lamar Jackson. He's on an all-time trajectory and would be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame if he retired before even taking the field on Sunday. Despite that, he's aware that he (ideally) has a decade-plus of football left in him. Entering one of the biggest games of his career, Mahomes wants to keep making the most of his opportunities.

"I think there's two things," Mahomes said. "One, like I said earlier, I never want to have any regrets. I think that's my biggest fear in anything in the world is to not maximize the opportunities I've had in my life. I know I've been blessed with a lot of different things. Being on the Kansas City Chiefs, the Kansas City Chiefs is one of them. The second thing is [that] I've seen greatness in front of me. I've seen Tom (Brady), I've seen Peyton (Manning), and I watched that growing up. I want to do whatever I can so I can be that inspiration for the generation behind me. It's a different way but at the same time, I want guys to come up and say, 'Hey, I want to be like that guy in the way he carries himself on the field and off of it as well.'"

Super Bowl LVIII presents yet another monumental chance for Mahomes and the Chiefs to keep rising above expectations, vitriol and more. With the football world just hours away from learning the outcome of Super Bowl LVIII, Mahomes seems to have an inkling of how his team will be viewed moving forward.

"A dynasty." 

Related: Reports: Jerick McKinnon Activated, Super Bowl Status Questionable

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