(Las Vegas) For most of the last six seasons, Patrick Mahomes has had to build a warlike side because the Kansas City Chiefs have been so good that they were almost always expected to win. This is no longer the case.
Over the course of a season in which they faltered on offense and, at one point, suffered five losses in an eight-game span, the Chiefs went from weekly favorites to an entirely different status: underdog .
They became the team that oddsmakers awarded points to when odds were published, instead of being the team that got points taken away from them. Suddenly, the belligerent attitude appeared on its own in Mahomes.
“It lit a flame in a few players, including myself,” admitted the Chiefs quarterback.
As if Mahomes felt the need to prove, once again, his worth after being voted most valuable player to his team on two occasions and twice winning the title of most valuable player in the Super Bowl.
And yet, that’s exactly what Mahomes did during the playoff games, to the point of delivering his best performance of the season.
In freezing cold Kansas City, he rushed for 262 yards and threw a touchdown pass in a first-round victory over the Miami Dolphins.
He followed that up with 215 yards and two more touchdown passes in a win over the Buffalo Bills in the second round.
Then, he completed a hat trick of sorts by collecting 241 yards and added a touchdown pass to allow the Chiefs to eliminate the Baltimore Ravens in the American Association final. All this, without allowing the slightest interception.
In the last two games of this streak, the Chiefs were the underdogs at kickoff, which will likely be the case in Super Bowl Sunday against the 49ers from San Francisco to Las Vegas.
According to FanDuel Sportsbook, the Californian team was established as a favorite by 1.5 points, a rating which could however change by the start of the match.
Since 2000, only five clubs have won the Super Bowl after being established as underdogs in each of their last three games.
“Look, we understand the reasoning behind (this situation). We know it and it’s understandable,” said Chiefs head coach Andy Reid.
We may not be the prettiest group (to watch), but we’re going to fight, and that’s kind of the personality of this team. I don’t think it bothers us. We understand and that’s how it is.
Andy Reid, Chiefs head coach
In fact, the Chiefs seem to relish the underdog role.
That’s certainly the case for Mahomes. In such a position, Mahomes has a 9-3 record, which gives him the best winning percentage among quarterbacks who have started at least 10 games, including the playoffs, over the last 15 seasons.
“At the end of the day, these are playoff games. You want to win. This is why you play. And I think that flame, regardless of whether you’re the underdog or not, would have been lit because this is the time of year that you work for and train so hard for,” Mahomes explained. .
“I think we have that mindset where if we practice the way we do, and work the way we do, we won’t let (this opportunity) slip away. We will maximize our opportunity every time we are on the field. »