Patrick Mahomes has reached the level of greatness that inspires envy | FOX Sports

Patrick Mahomes has reached the level of greatness that inspires envy

Sep. 6, 2023 1:13 p.m. ET

Patrick Mahomes is mature. Patrick Mahomes is a role model. Patrick Mahomes is a football craftsman. Patrick Mahomes is a gifted athlete. Patrick Mahomes is a future Hall of Famer. Patrick Mahomes is, almost overwhelming evidence appears to suggest, an extremely nice guy.

And yet, because football is what it is and it turns our minds a certain kind of way, there is one final truth about the Kansas City Chiefs’ two-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback.

Patrick Mahomes, for much of America, when football games begin, becomes unlikeable.

This is what football does to us, see? With a new season thankfully on the doorstep after all those months of waiting around, reality hits that a really, truly, good dude is about to become the bad guy.

As the Chiefs prepare for a curtain-raising Thursday night clash against the Detroit Lions, fans across America will be getting ready to do what they’ll do each and every time Kansas City plays this year: Root for them to lose.

There is one reason and one reason only to cheer against Mahomes. Quite simply, he has done too much of exactly what he is paid to do; win football games and compete successfully for championships.

He is the guy who crushes dreams and does it with a smile on his face. The guy who takes seemingly impossible deficits and erases them in the blink of an eye. Who performs feats of athletic improbability and makes them look easy, even when he is athletically impaired.

And who feels like the biggest individual obstacle standing in the way of your favorite team and the ultimate thrill of winning a Super Bowl.

Envy? Absolutely.

Being petty and jealous and unreasonable is part of the enjoyment of being a football fan. Logical behavior isn’t a necessity in the same way as in regular life.

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Taking a player who is heading toward becoming an all-time legend of the game, who donates to charity, is nice to children and conducts himself with integrity — and positioning him as the on-field villain? That’s permitted, just because he’s too darn good, and because his efforts allow Chiefs fans to smile and smirk in a way that no one else can.

The Chiefs are the oddsmakers’ favorite to win it all again, potentially repeating after their Super Bowl LVII triumph over the Philadelphia Eagles in Arizona in February. There will be some challenges, with star defensive tackle Chris Jones holding out in pursuit of a bumper new contract.

Talismanic tight end Travis Kelce suffered an injury scare on the eve of the new campaign when he hyperextended his knee in practice, though initial signs indicated he seemed to have avoided ACL damage.

Kelce’s status against the Lions was still in limbo as of early Wednesday, yet the sense persists that as long as Mahomes is there, and generally healthy, the Chiefs are very much the team to beat, and fear, again this year.

“Just not being satisfied with getting wins or having some early success,” Mahomes told reporters, when asked what the key to a repeat title would be. “You have to keep building. You might have a great start to the season but as the season goes on you have to keep building or other teams are going to catch you.”

Mahomes is heading into Tom Brady territory now. Brady was pleasant, good-natured and a figurehead for the sport, but as soon as he started winning too much the NFL world couldn’t wait to see him falter.

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It’s the nature of sports and the nature of success. When pro football is split into 32 different fandoms but one team, fronted by one game-changing player, does things like reach five AFC Championships in a row, get to three Super Bowls, win two of them and look like a real threat to win multiple more, everyone else gets squeezed. Or, in Brady’s case, win seven freaking championships.

Just as it was possible for the sports public to be in awe of Brady’s accomplishments, his skill set, his age-defying productivity and his unflappable composure, yet still hope for him to be toppled, the same goes for Mahomes.

The problem is, doing so is likely just asking for disappointment. Starting … well, right now. History suggests that whenever the first stumble comes, it won’t be on Thursday.

The Chiefs have not only been recent dominators but also fast starters. Against the Lions, who head coach Dan Campbell led a late-season tear in 2022 to just miss the playoffs, they will be protecting an eight-year streak of having won the opener every time. It is the fifth-longest Week 1 stretch of the Super Bowl era.

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In Mahomes’ five years as a starter, he has thrown three TDs in each of those games, the longest consecutive Week 1 stretch ever.

No surprises for guessing whose marks Mahomes is chasing and surpassing. The last team to win more than eight straight times to start the year was Brady’s Patriots, victorious in 10 in a row from 2004 to 2013. The QB with the most three TD games in Week 1? Also Brady, with nine overall, a record Mahomes may like his chances of surpassing.

Either way, he’s on a Brady-esque level in at least one sense already. By being the bad guy even while being a good guy. And by being the player the neutrals want to lose, even though they know he probably won’t.

Martin Rogers is a columnist for FOX Sports and the author of the FOX Sports Insider newsletter. Follow him on Twitter @ and .

This content was originally published here.

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