Kansas City has found its own quarterback, and Patrick Mahomes his city


At dinner last Thursday night in St. Joseph, Veach brought along one of the stars of “Modern Family,” Eric Stonestreet, a two-time Emmy winner, native of Kansas City, Kans., in town to watch camp and worship his lifelong favorite team. As Veach and I were talking about the simpatico Mahomes/Reid/Veach relationship, Stonestreet said something that resonated.

“He’s our quarterback,” said Stonestreet, 49. “For the first time in my life—for the first time in most of current Kansas City fans’ lives—we have our own quarterback. The other guys weren’t ours. They weren’t permanent. They were band-aids. Not Patrick.”

Everything Mahomes does charms the fan base. They liked it last year when he bought a stake in the Royals, they liked it this year when he bought a stake in Sporting Kansas City (the MLS team)—they even liked it when he announced he was bringing his favorite Texas burger chain, Whataburger, to the Kansas City area. They loved it when he committed to the team with a 12-year contract last year. Collectively, Mahomes showed he was putting down serious roots.

I always thought a seminal moment for Mahomes came late in 2018, when Reid fired ace running back Kareem Hunt for not being forthcoming with him on a domestic-abuse issue. The next day, Mahomes, younger than 50 of the 53 players on the roster, asked to speak to the team, and Reid said yes. His message was, essentially: We can be friends with Kareem forever, but we can’t let this wreck our season. The franchise knew it had something precocious and special in Mahomes, but that day sealed it. And the franchise has responded in kind.

“He’s got a great pulse of the team,” Veach said. “Smart players have an innate feel of their responsibility inside the team. He has that, and he’s been able to stay humble while becoming a global product. We would be doing a great disservice to the franchise long-term if we didn’t engage him on the important issues that affect our team. His play warrants, his impact warrants it.”

Mahomes also just gets it. He gets all facets of the organization. After he made his first Pro Bowl in 2018, he inscribed a Pro Bowl jersey for Veach—his biggest pre-2017 draft champion in the organization—with this: “Thanks for believing in me from the beginning! Let’s go get some rings!”

I asked Veach about the problems other teams are having with their franchise quarterbacks, particularly in Green Bay, where Rodgers went to the edge of a cliff with the franchise before finally agreeing to report just before training camp.

“I guess to use Green Bay as an example—clearly I don’t know the ins and outs of the issues there,” Veach said. “But I find it hard to believe that what happened there could happen here.”

Brady was 42 when he got his amicable divorce with New England. Rodgers almost got his freedom (and still may next year) at 37. Sometimes players just get sick of their surroundings and want to start over. But it’s not just a seniority thing. Deshaun Watson’s 25 and desperately wants out of Houston. Carson Wentz basically went rogue late last season in Philly, at age 27, and got himself traded. The disputes can come at any time … if the relationships are not nurtured well.

Reid is the Big Kahuna in Kansas City, of course. Nothing happens without him. But he’s also the Big Listener. The biggest play of the team’s Super Bowl season came with the Niners up 20-10 with 7:17 left in the game; it was third-and-15 from the Kansas City 35-yard line, and on a replay challenge, Mahomes came to the sidelines to discuss the next desperation play. “Do we have time to run ‘Wasp?’“ Mahomes said, a quote that is emblazoned on the brain of every Eric Stonestreet in the team’s vast fan base. Mahomes thought this play (“Wasp” is the abbreviation) could get Tyreek Hill free against a single safety downfield. “If he feels it, I’m giving it to him,” Reid said, and so Mahomes picked the play that turned the game around. The completion went for 43 yards and started the onslaught that led to the first Super Bowl title for Kansas City in a half-century.

The other day, I asked Mahomes to pick a more recent play that illustrated his chemistry with Reid. “I don’t know if you remember,” Mahomes said. “But early in the season we had that play against the Chargers where Tyreek kind of ran like a triple move and I sprinted out to the right and threw him a [54-yard] touchdown. It actually went off a route that we had ran against the Chargers in the year prior, where he ran a double move and they covered it really well. I went to coach Reid and I was like, ‘You think we have time to let him do three moves?’

“I look at stuff that we do in the game, and games prior, even stuff that Alex [Smith] did when he was here. I say, You think we can do it this way or that way?’ He [Reid] has no hesitation on trying it. I think that’s been the biggest thing. There’s some of them that we run that don’t work at all that we don’t talk about. But he will always give me a chance to try because he feels like if I believe in it, I can make it work.”

The play to Hill was in the gameplan already—Mahomes had advocated for it with Reid, and Reid had it in that week. So the fact that Mahomes brought it to Reid, and Reid liked it, and Reid had it in the gameplan … it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the coach okayed the QB’s idea at a fairly crucial point of the game—KC down 17-9, and struggling, midway through the third quarter.

“I meet with Patrick Fridays and then with the quarterbacks again Saturday, and we rank the plays the way we like ‘em,” Reid told me. “I say, ‘If there’s something you don’t like, be honest with me, and we’ll just get rid of it.’ I mean, we got 200 plays. What we want to call in the game we should feel pretty good about. Patrick’s good at suggesting things that have a good chance to work.”

It’s a good partnership. Reid and Veach will be joined at the hip through at least 2025, long enough to enter quarterback-middle-age with their partner, Mahomes. Anyone out there paying attention to how such a partnership should work the right way?

After two days in KC camp…

Mahomes on his surgically repaired turf toe: “This is the best it’s felt since before the playoffs last year. Haven’t had to take any days off or any plays off.” … Yes, Mahomes does want to be part of an ownership group for an NBA franchise in Kansas City. Baseball and soccer, cool. Basketball would be his dream. “He’s been talking about it a lot,” said Tyrann Mathieu … Reid spent chunks of time this offseason dealing with the fallout of his son, former linebackers coach Britt Reid, critically injuring a 5-year-old girl when he struck her family’s vehicle three days before the Super Bowl. Britt Reid has pleaded not guilty to felony DWI charges and awaits trial. “Life’s full of balances,” Andy Reid said. “We all have challenges. I’m sensitive to the little girl and her family. I’m sensitive to Britt and his family.” … Jerick McKinnon made $17 million in San Francisco, but it was one injury after another in three washout seasons trying to be a feature back. He’s wearing number one and looks good here.

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

Super Bowl squares 2023: Explanation, how to play, rules and printable template


Star quarterbacks Patrick Mahomes and Jalen Hurts are set to go head-to-head today, Super Bowl Sunday, when the Kansas City Chiefs take on the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl LVII.

Even if you’re home watching on the couch, you can still get in on the action by filling out your squares, which has become a Super Bowl tradition.

What are Super Bowl squares and what is the format?

A board features 10 rows and 10 columns, adding up to 100 squares total. One of the teams is assigned the rows, while the other team is assigned the columns.

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Each person in the pool then chooses one (or multiple) squares, depending on your pool’s rules. In some pools, squares are randomly assigned, while you may choose your own square in other pools.

After all the squares have been filled, numbers between zero and nine are randomly chosen for each row and column.

How do Super Bowl squares work? How do I win?

Each square has a corresponding row and column number. At the end of each quarter, the player whose two numbers match the end digits of each team’s point total will win.

RELATED: Why does the Super Bowl use Roman numerals for naming?

For example, if the score at the end of the first quarter is Chiefs 13, Eagles 7, the player whose box corresponds with “3” for Kansas City and “7” for Philadelphia would win.

Most pools pay out for the final score at the end of each quarter, for a total of four winners (1st quarter, halftime, 3rd quarter, final score). Some pools pay out for every score throughout the game.

Where can I find a template for Super Bowl squares?

NBC Sports has provided a template below, complete with a 10 by 10 grid. Fans can click here to print this template out to use for their Super Bowl squares.

How can I watch and live stream Super Bowl 2023?

  • When: Sunday, February 12, 2023
  • Where: State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona
  • TV Channel: FOX
  • Follow along with ProFootballTalk and NBC Sports for NFL news, updates, scores, injuries, and more

Follow along with ProFootballTalk for the latest news, storylines, and updates surrounding the 2022 NFL Season and Playoffs, and be sure to subscribe to NFLonNBC on YouTube!

Marry Your Passion With Your Curiosity: Panelists Discuss Building Your Brand in Leadup to Super Bowl LVII


Fans in every color jersey of the rainbow internationally will tune into Super Bowl LVIII this Sunday. Ahead of the game, NBCU Academy partnered with PNE Showcase and Arizona State University to bring students and professionals an inside look at the people who color outside the lines for the National Football league.

The three powerhouses co-hosted the Building and Being Your Brand seminar in hopes of helping students and other national professionals identify their brand and the best ways to communicate the pillars of their brand to the masses.

There are just under 4,000 people employed by the NFL, which makes for hundreds of job paths within the league. As the panel began, NFL international marketing and player relations manager Emily Wirtz spoke about how her roots in Germany translated into the role she has now.

The first door opened for Wirtz in the NFL was as a digital video editor and producer. Wirtz transparently admitted she did not feel qualified for the job but with an extra push from her father, she decided to still go after the interview.

“My dad told me that even if I do not land the job, it will at least be good interview practice,” Wirtz said.

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Wirtz still thanks her father to this day. Her video supervisor learned she spoke German and instantly recommended her for a role within the NFL’s global expansion. She would go on to execute the first NFL game in Germany. Germany’s first official exposure to American football at the highest level sold out of millions of tickets in three minutes.

“When we are on the way to these international games in London, Germany and Mexico City, the NFL staff, we’re usually on a big bus or van,” Wirtz said. “In the van it’s about 40 of us and we’re literally trying to find a fan in one of the jerseys of all 32 teams. When we see someone we are like Chargers, Rams or whatever the team is! Every international game I’ve been to, all 5, we’ve been able to spot someone in each jersey.”

By showing up as her authentic self, Wirtz was able to leverage her job. All five of the panelists promoted a “helmet-off” approach to the game. This idea promotes getting to know the stories of the players to help advance the game.

Director of NFL college and club social marketing Sana Merchant-Rupani discussed taking on tasks that require you to grow. Before joining the league, Merchant-Rupani worked in digital marketing at Empire State Realty Trust. In the position, she was tasked with creating an Instagram presence for the company.

Merchant-Rupani had no experience with Instagram when taking on this task but it directly led her into her current role.

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“You have to marry your passion with your curiosity,” Merchant-Rupani said.

Senior manager of NFL game operations Karley Berry further emphasized Merchant-Rupani’s message by presenting the contrast. Berry posited that if a job is presented to someone and they check off all the job requirements, then the job is not for them.

The entire audience was initially confused by the statement but as Berry went on, she explained you must take a job that will offer you something new and will leave you with an extra skill you did not have going into the position.

Prior to stepping into the game operations realm, Berry took her first step into the football world when she was a recruiting assistant at Penn State University.

Growing up around Nittany Lion football her entire life, she knew the brand of the university’s football team. While in State College, PA, she challenged the recruitment staff to go after men with outstanding character.

“When we would go on home visits, I would make sure to pay attention,” Berry said. Berry wanted to be intentional with her tactics and believed the best players were those that were good people on and off the field.

Merchant-Rupani, Berry and Wirtz all used elements of their personal brand to succeed in their current spaces to get to their dream work destination. This message was passed on to the audience through painting their journey through experiences.

“We all know about Patrick Mahomes. There are other stories,” senior manager of NFL social marketing Jordan Dolbin said.

RELATED: Chiefs Super Bowl history

Dolbin called on storytellers to push their limits. She wanted to ensure she was challenging audience members to go beneath the surface of the performers with the best stat numbers.

She brought up a story she came across during her Super Bowl preparation that was a “where are they now’ approach to telling the stories of all the players that caught interceptions against Maholmes in high school.

“Now, that is the story I will remember when this is all over,” Dolbin said.

Cincinnati Bengals special teamer Trayveon Williams added his experience to the panel, emphasizing exploring his other interests outside of football. He also commended today’s players for the tenacity in their approach to leaving a legacy outside of football.

The panel agreed collectively their main reason for taking time away from all the Super Bowl work obligations and festivities was to provide the representation they did not see while carving out their career paths.

NBCU Academy will be virtually hosting the Next Level Summit on March 22, 2023.

Author’s Note: Alexis Davis is currently in her last semesters in Walter Cronkite’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University. She received her bachelor’s from North Carolina A&T State University in multimedia journalism in May 2022. Davis is a featured writer for the MEAC conference. Davis also switches between play-by-play announcer, analyst and sideline reporter for the PAC-12 conference’s app. She also hosts a podcast focusing on international basketball players and their fashion experiences called What’s in Your Bag?