After two incredible playoff wins, Patrick Mahomes is ready for his Super Bowl moment


While the Chiefs made mortal Derrick Henry, the 49ers beat up Aaron Rodgers as badly as they did in November. Niners 37, Packers 20, and it wasn’t that close. It makes for a fascinating Super Bowl: Kansas City’s franchise quarterback against the peculiar Jimmy Garoppolo; the Niners, with imaginative play-designer and play-caller Kyle Shanahan, have routed two playoff foes with a 75-25 run-pass ratio. The Niners’ strong defensive front (nine playoff sacks, 26 hits/hurries in two games) will be a nightmare for the Chiefs to navigate as they game-plan beginning this morning.

The opening line: Chiefs by 1. I have no idea what that means, or who should be favored. Just as I find it hard to think the Niners will struggle to run it and will certainly torment Mahomes, I think it’s just as hard to think that Mahomes will be shut down.

San Francisco last won the Super Bowl 25 years ago. Remember the gorilla getting ripped off Steve Young’s back?

Kansas City last won the Super Bowl 50 years ago. Remember Hank Stram yelling to matriculate the ball down the field?

You might be too young to remember either. Whatever, this should be a great football game between the 14-4 Chiefs and the 15-3 Niners, between the imaginative grandfatherly Reid, 61, and the imaginative wunderkind Kyle Shanahan, 40.

There’s a lonely little white pennant flying in the north end zone at Arrowhead Stadium, just below the American flag. The Chiefs take great pride in their lone Super Bowl championship, a 24-7 win over the Vikings on Jan. 11, 1970. But it’s been so long, and the drought so painful to the fans here, that the reminder is modest.

1969 WORLD

Looked like the dry spell, made so painful by last year’s 37-31 overtime loss to the Patriots, might stretch to 51 years when this game was midway through the second quarter. On the first three Tennessee series, the Titans generated three scoring drives and 180 yards. Tennessee 17, Kansas City 7. Derrick Henry was his usual pile-driving and crease-finding self, with 61 rushing yards. The man was on pace for a 183-yard rushing afternoon, keeping in his recent tradition.

Tennessee scored seven more points. Henry gained eight more rushing yards.

Mahomes just owned the day after that, with touchdown drives of 58, 86, 73 and 88 yards. The Titans couldn’t catch him, and they couldn’t manage to keep anything going offensively. You can say, They got away from Henry; big mistake. “We just didn’t have the opportunities,” Titans coach Mike Vrabel said. Tennessee ran just 14 offensive plays over the next four series, covering nearly two full quarters.

Mahomes lasered a 20-yard strike to Tyreek Hill to make it 17-14; Reid thought it was his best throw of the day. Logan Ryan, who has played great this postseason, was in close coverage down the seam with Hill. “Tyreek had a guy right on him,” Reid said, “but Patrick’s throw was just beautiful. He reared back and just said, ‘There’s no way this can be stopped.’ He threw it in a window about this big.” Reid held his hands in a small square.

The game turned for good at the end of the last KC series of the half. With 1:51 and two timeouts left before the half, Mahomes had plenty of time to drive. He didn’t waste much of it. He still had the two timeouts left when he took a shotgun snap with 23 seconds left from the Tennessee 27-yard line. As Mahomes described, Hill and Kelce each had two cover guys trailing them—Hill doing a skinny post from the left slot and Kelce running up the right seam. This left some space to his left. “I knew we had an all-go type of route,” Mahomes told me. “The offensive line shut everybody down, so I knew I could run to the sideline and get the first down.” As he turned the corner at the 32, linebacker Derick Roberson had a shot at him and missed; then Rashaan Evans did the same around the 29. Then Mahomes, getting tight to the sideline at the 25 (a tight shot of the slo-mo replay showed he was three inches from the white stripe right then), and getting pursued by hefty defensive lineman DaQuon Jones, would step out just after the first-down marker at the 17-yard line. Replays showed Reid glaring intently at the ground near the sideline to see if Mahomes stepped on any white.

Here’s where the next-level smarts came in. Mahomes told me he knew he had two timeouts left, and with the clock running down to halftime, he knew it didn’t matter if he stayed in or went out of bounds as the clock wound down. :16, :15, :14 . . .

“So I tried to cut it back, and I did, a little,” he said. “And luckily I hung onto the ball.” Cornerback Tramaine Brock tried to rip it from his grasp at the 5, and Mahomes hung on. Then, he said, “I was going for it.”

When he fell a yard past the goal line, this stadium erupted. I hadn’t heard a sound like that all season, in any stadium.

In the end zone, Mahomes was surrounded by amazed mates. Wide receiver Demarcus Robinson bowed to him with both arms going north to south in an exaggerated “we are not worthy” motion. “I was like, throw your hands up for this guy!” Robinson said. “He already showed you he’s got an MVP arm. Now he shows you he’s got MVP legs.”

He might have shown the same thing a year ago today. The Patriots and Chiefs went to overtime tied at 31, and Mahomes and Tom Brady were trading big plays and shredding defenses. New England’s Matthew Slater won the overtime toss, and Kansas City never touched the ball in overtime. Pats, 37-31. After the game, Brady sought out Mahomes. They sat alone for five minutes, in a room in the bowels of Arrowhead Stadium. Brady played consoler-in-chief. Mahomes said: “The biggest thing he said was, ‘Stay with the process and be who you are.’ He didn’t want me to change at all. He wanted me to go out there and take advantage of every single day. When you hear it from a guy like that, who’s had the success at the level that he’s had for his entire career, you know you’ve got to take advantage of every single day if you want to be great.”

Mahomes almost didn’t watch the Super Bowl, but he did turn it on at his home in Kansas City. “I used that,” he told me, “to just make sure that I did everything to prepare to be in this moment now—and not be sitting at home.”

His first real bit of leadership came after 2017 rushing champ Kareem Hunt was fired during the 2018 season for lying to the team about domestic assault. This happened two days before the Chiefs were to play at Oakland in November, and before the team left on a Saturday morning, Mahomes—the fifth-youngest player on the team—asked to speak to the team, with no coaches in the room. Reid let him. Mahomes, who’d seen player leadership when he was a kid running around in baseball clubhouses with his ballplaying dad, Pat Mahomes, told the team it was okay to still love Hunt, but they’d come too far to let something, anything, derail the season. “You can’t fake that stuff,” he said. “It has to be genuine.”

“That,” Reid told me recently, “is why we’re in good shape with this kid.”

But this season is not just the Mahomes Revival Show. Reid needs some redemption. Sunday’s win was his 221st career victory (including playoffs). That’s sixth all-time. The five above him—Shula, Halas, Belichick, Landry, Lambeau—have won NFL championships, and Belichick, a good friend, has won six. Reid hasn’t won one. His lone trip to the Super Bowl, 15 years ago, came with the Eagles, who lost to New England 24-21. Maybe deep down it eats at Reid. How could it not?

But Saturday night, Reid was sharing a table and a bite at the team’s post-meeting snack with the team’s VP of sports medicine and performance, Rick Burkholder, who came from Philly to Kansas City with Reid in 2013. Burkholder said he was nervous, and Reid asked why.

“Because I want so bad for us to win it for you,” Burkholder said.

“No,” Reid said. “We need to win this for the guys, for the team. It can’t be about one guy. It’s got to be for everybody.”

Reid was the last Chief left now. There was an industrial-strength vacuum cleaning the locker room of all the random confetti from the celebration out on the field. I asked Reid what he’d do to celebrate this second Super Bowl trip, and first for the Chiefs since the Nixon administration.

“Go get a cheeseburger,” he said.

The guy fits pretty well in Kansas City. As does his quarterback.

You may have heard the name Michael MacCambridge. He’s an author, an excellent writer. He lived most of his young life in Kansas City and grew to love the Chiefs. He went to the game Sunday and texted me this after midnight: “As we were leaving the stadium, numb and jubilant, you could see people with a look of relief in their eyes that they were leaving Arrowhead for the final time in a season elated rather than crushed. It was so delightful that some people seemed almost baffled. My friend Greg Emas, who I attended the game with, said, ‘We really don’t know how to do this. We don’t have any practice at it.’ “

Then MacCambridge wrote: “Lots of ghosts exorcised. And that starts with 15. He’s not haunted. And that’s why the Chiefs are going to the Super Bowl.”

Read more from Peter King’s Football Morning in America column here.

NFL quarterback rankings 2023: Chris Simms’ top 40 QB countdown ahead of upcoming NFL season


While the NFL is a league that is ever-changing, some things are set to stay the same in 2023 — like the revealing of Chris Simms’ top 40 QB countdown.

Last year’s list saw Josh Allen take his place atop the quarterback throne, with Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes and Los Angeles’ Justin Herbert not far behind at No. 2 and No. 3, respectively. It was, however, Mahomes who would ultimately reign over all NFL quarterbacks at the end of the season, as the 27-year-old collected both the NFL MVP honors and his second Lombardi Trophy.

This NFL offseason, however, has brought some intriguing adjustments that are likely to shake up Simms’ rankings.

While some signal-callers such as Jalen Hurts and Lamar Jackson found their prolonged home with massive contract signings, others will be venturing to a new franchise in search of a fresh start. Aaron Rodgers‘ trade to the New York Jets is unquestionably the most staggering shift, but other quarterbacks on the move such as Derek Carr and Jimmy Garoppolo cannot be forgotten.

RELATED: Mike Florio gives an inside look into the Lamar Jackson deal

And with three of the first four picks in the 2023 NFL Draft being spent on a quarterback, emerging talent will likely turn the tides for some franchises this upcoming season.

See below for Chris Simms’ top 40 QB countdown ahead of the upcoming season. Be sure to subscribe to Chris Simms Unbuttoned for more on the 2023 NFL season as well as an unfiltered look at the NFL featuring player access, unabashed opinion, X&O film breakdown and stories from a life in and around football.

RELATED: Peter King’s latest offseason NFL power rankings

Chris Simms’ 2023 Top 40 QB Countdown:

40. Desmond Ridder (ATL)

39. Sam Howell (WAS)

38. Bryce Young (CAR)

37. CJ Stroud (HOU)

36. Anthony Richardson (IND)

35. Mike White (MIA)

34. Gardner Minshew (IND)

33. Taylor Heinicke (ATL)

32. Jarrett Stidham (DEN)

31. Jordan Love (GB)

30. Davis Mills (HOU)

29. Tyler Huntley (BAL)

28. Andy Dalton (CAR)

27. Sam Darnold (SF)

26. Brock Purdy (SF)

25. Kenny Pickett (PIT)

24. Baker Mayfield (TB)

23. Justin Fields (CHI)

22. Jimmy Garoppolo (LV)

21. Tua Tagovailoa (MIA)

20. Mac Jones (NE)

19. Kyler Murray (AZ)

18. Derek Carr (NO)

17. Jared Goff (DET)

16. Ryan Tannehill (TEN)

15. Geno Smith (SEA)

14. Russell Wilson (DEN)

2023 NFL Schedule Release: Start time, how to watch, live stream, channel


With another exciting NFL Draft in the books, teams can now turn their gaze toward the road to Super Bowl LVIII in Las Vegas. The path to Super Bowl glory, however, is about to become abundantly more clear with the 2023 NFL season schedule release.

This year’s NFL season schedule release is nearly here, with the entirety of the 2023 NFL schedule being unveiled on Thursday, May 11 at 8 p.m. ET on both Peacock and NFL Network. See below for everything you need to know for one of the offseason’s most anticipated events.

RELATED: Click here for full analysis on Rounds 1-7 of the 2023 NFL Draft

When will the 2023 NFL season schedule be released?

While all 272 matchups have been known since the conclusion of the 2022 regular season, the order and dates for these games have remained a mystery. The secret is nearly out, however, with every NFL game on the brink of revelation.

The full 2023 NFL schedule will be released on Thursday, May 11 at 8:00 p.m. ET.

How can I watch the 2023 NFL season schedule release?

The 2023 NFL season schedule release will take place Thursday, May 11 on Peacock, NFL Network, and the NFL app at 8 p.m. ET.

While the entirety of the schedule will be unveiled at that time, select games have already been and will continue to be released prior to the official event. Ahead of the 2023 NFL season schedule release, the following games will be announced:

Who will play in the 2023 NFL Kickoff game?

The first game of the 2023-24 NFL season will see the reigning Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs take the field in Arrowhead Stadium.

The opponent that will meet Patrick Mahomes and company in Kansas City, however, remains to be revealed.

Which NFL teams have international games in 2023?

While the majority of the matchups set to take place next season have yet to be announced, the league has already revealed which teams will head overseas for international showdowns.

Below is the full list of international NFL games for the 2023-24 season, with three in London, U.K., and two in Frankfurt, Germany.

Falcons vs. Jaguars: Week 4, Oct. 1 at 9:30 a.m. ET | Wembley Stadium in London, U.K.

Jaguars vs. Bills: Week 5, Oct. 8 at 9:30 a.m. ET | Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London, U.K.

Ravens vs. Titans: Week 6, Oct. 15 at 9:30 a.m. ET | Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London, U.K.

Dolphins vs. Chiefs: Week 9, Nov. 5 at 9:30 a.m. ET | Frankfurt Stadium in Frankfurt, Germany

Colts vs. Patriots: Week 10, Nov. 12 at 9:30 a.m. ET | Frankfurt Stadium in Frankfurt, Germany

RELATED: NFL’s 2023 international games full of “star power”

When is the Super Bowl and where will it be taking place?

Stars will be shining bright in Las Vegas, Nevada, for Super Bowl LVIII, set to take place on Feb. 11, 2024, at the home of the Raiders in Allegiant Stadium.

This will be the first Super Bowl to ever take place in Las Vegas, which hosted the 2023 Pro Bowl and 2022 NFL Draft.

Be sure to follow ProFootballTalk for the latest news, updates, and storylines about the upcoming NFL season!