Actions speak louder than words, with both Mahomes and the Chiefs being confident in his leadership style entering a pivotal stretch of the season.
Going 2-4 over a six-game span is tough on any franchise, let alone one that has serious Super Bowl expectations every single year. For the Kansas City Chiefs and quarterback Patrick Mahomes, the theme of the last month-plus has been staying united and remaining together both on and off the field. That’s a bit easier said than done, though.
The same mistakes that plagued Kansas City back in September — dropped passes, costly penalties, turnovers, routes executed incorrectly — are still popping up in December. They aren’t one-off mishaps or random miscommunications, but rather backbreaking errors that have cost the team multiple games. That’s placed stress on the pillars of the organization to lead. Regarding the offense, it’s put more on the reigning NFL MVP’s plate.
Late in the club’s Week 14 loss to the Buffalo Bills, a Kadarius Toney offensive offsides penalty eliminated a touchdown. After the game, Mahomes was visibly frustrated with officials and even had a less-than-ideal exchange with Bills quarterback Josh Allen that was caught on camera. Mahomes has since taken accountability for letting his emotions get the best of him. Speaking to the media this week, the 28-year-old said he doesn’t feel any added pressure to represent the Chiefs as a team. He’s focused on just being a quality person and letting the rest fall into place.
“There’s not necessarily pressure from the franchise, that’s just pressure of being a good person,” Mahomes said. “I try to act in a way that I’m a good role model because I looked up to guys that were on this stage ever since I was a little kid running through the locker room. So I’m just trying to be a good person. Obviously I care, so my emotions were shown on the football field — which they have been shown in good ways and obviously, that wasn’t a good way. At the end of the day, I’m just trying to be the best person I can be. The face of the franchise, NFL stuff, that’s going to come and go. If I can show the person I am every single day and that sets an example, that’s what I want to do when my career is over.”
According to Mahomes, actions speak louder than words. Over time, consistency builds and shows everyone what the level of care, professionalism and buy-in is.
Nov 20, 2023; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) gestures to the sidelines against the Philadelphia Eagles during the second half at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
“Always actions are first for me,” Mahomes said. “You have to prove that you’re doing things the right way in order to say anything. I think if you come in the building every single day and work your butt off and you show that you really truly care, then when you use your words, they mean more. It’s not just words. They know that you care, and that’s how I’ve always rolled. It might not be yelling or screaming or whatever it is, but they know that I care about this thing and I’m going to use my voice whenever it’s needed.”
With the receiver room struggling to catch on some 14 weeks in, the Chiefs appear to be recognizing that time is running out for things to improve. Wideout Justin Watson said this week that he and his fellow pass-catchers are coming in early, watching film with Mahomes and “getting back on the same page with the quarterback” with four games left to play in the regular season. Mahomes taking more of a direct leadership role and fine-tuning things with the receivers can’t do any harm, and it may lead to on-field results down the stretch.
In recent weeks, many have brought up accountability regarding the Chiefs. Who holds who accountable on offense? What does that look like? Does Mahomes ever channel his inner Tom Brady and grow visibly (and audibly) frustrated with players during practice or games? Offensive coordinator Matt Nagy hints at an emotional intelligence factor that Mahomes understands quite well. Different players take to different leadership styles, with the quarterback allegedly switching things up depending on who it is. Entering a four-game race Kansas City desperately needs to go undefeated in, Nagy says there’s no one better to lead the way than Mahomes.
“I think leadership-wise, there’s no better leader than Patrick Mahomes,” Nagy said. “I mean that, I really mean that. He does it in different ways, and no one has a better feel than Pat of understanding the differences of how you handle one person versus another. Like you might be able to handle yelling and screaming, and I might not be able to. Pat understands that. Some people don’t understand that. So I think as a leader in whatever sport [or] whatever thing you do, do you have that feel and that instinct? He has it, and it’s not always for three hours on Sunday.”
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