To the shock of nobody, former Texas Tech Red Raiders quarterback Patrick Mahomes was unveiled as the No. 1 player on the NFL’s Top 100 Players of 2023 list on Monday, a ranking based on the votes of current players in the league. Quite frankly, it would’ve been criminal if he was ranked any lower.
After leading the Kansas City Chiefs to a thrilling 38-35 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl LVII in February, Mahomes became just the 11th player in NFL history to win the Super Bowl and league MVP in the same season. He also joined Pro Football Hall of Famers Bart Starr, Terry Bradshaw, Joe Montana, Steve Young, and Kurt Warner as the only players in NFL history to win league MVP and Super Bowl MVP in the same season. Moreover, Mahomes became just the sixth player in NFL history to win multiple Super Bowl MVP awards.
The Red Raider legend completed 21 of 27 passes for 182 yards, three touchdowns, and no interceptions in Super Bowl LVII. Despite re-aggravating his high-ankle sprain late in the first half, Mahomes tossed two scoring strikes in the fourth quarter and scrambled for 26 yards on Kansas City’s final drive to help set up Harrison Butker’s game-clinching field goal.
“His talent level goes far beyond his ability to instinctually just go out there,” Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce said of Mahomes prior to Super Bowl LVII. “He’s a step ahead. He’s almost playing chess out there in terms of he’s got three or four moves already in his pocket depending on what the defense does. That’s what gonna make him the greatest ever to go down.”
Mahomes had a fantastic outing in Super Bowl LVII, but his performance in the AFC Championship Game was arguably more impressive. Playing just eight days after suffering a high-ankle sprain against the Jacksonville Jaguars in the Divisional Round, Mahomes led Kansas City to a gutsy 23-20 win over the high-octane Cincinnati Bengals despite lacking a stable rushing attack. The former Texas Tech standout completed 29 of 43 passes for 326 yards, two scores, and no picks to end a three-game losing streak against his budding rival and hoist the Lamar Hunt Trophy for a third time as AFC champions.
“I don’t think there’s any argument right now,” Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow said in June when asked who the best signal-caller in the NFL is. “It’s Pat (Mahomes). Until somebody has a better year than he’s had, he’s the one to knock off.”
In the 2022 regular season, Mahomes led the NFL in passing yards (5,250) and touchdowns (41). He guided the Chiefs to a 14-3 record and the AFC’s No. 1 playoff seed. Those stats helped him win the 2023 ESPY Award for Best Male Athlete in July.
For his NFL career, Mahomes has completed 66.3 percent of his passes for 24,241 yards, 192 touchdowns, and 49 interceptions in 80 regular-season games. He’s made the Pro Bowl in each of his first five seasons as Kansas City’s full-time starter and has earned All-Pro recognition three times. What’s more, he has won two NFL MVP awards.
“He wants to be the greatest player ever. That’s what he wants to do, and that’s the way he goes about his business. He does it humbly. There’s no bragging. He could stand up here and give you all these stats that are incredible that he’s had, but he is never going to do that,” Chiefs head coach Andy Reid said of Mahomes after Super Bowl LVII. “Then when it’s time for the guys around him to raise their game, he helps them with that. The great quarterbacks make everybody around him better, including the head coach, so he’s done a heck of a job.”