I have been trying to wrap my head around why the Chiefs don’t look good. First off, it’s hard to be this good for this long. We’ve gotten used to dominant dynasties like the Patriots and 90s Yankees. The fact of the matter is, the Chiefs were slated for a “dynasty,” but the rope had probably run out before we realized the slack was all gone. Father Time waits for no man. That level of sustained success is nearly impossible. The Chiefs played at an elite level on offense for nearly five years. The cold hard truth of the NFL is that nothing is sustainable. Absolutely nothing.
The Chiefs defense has made a miracle turn since the opening month of the season. Injections of Juan Thornhill, Willie Gay and Nick Bolton into more consistent snaps has completely revitalized Steve Spagnuolo’s unit. Not to mention moving Chris Jones back to the position where he reigned as the NFL’s most dominant interior pass rusher, freeing up Frank Clark to do what Frank Clark does. It’s all coming together on the other side of the ball.
…and yet, the Chiefs (-8.5) still barely snuck by the Packers without Aaron Rodgers. Mahomes looked off all game, like he has for much of the year. Indecisive, happy footed, looking to scramble, not trusting his checkdowns while overthrowing players deep, clearly frustrated with coaches on the sideline and constantly giving refs the old what-for. He is visibly frustrated. Like the best ones to ever do it, Mahomes still came through when he was needed most, throwing a dart to Tyreek Hill on third-and-the-ballgame in a must-win game.
My theory is simple.
Patrick Mahomes has so much on his plate right now that it is impossible for him to even remotely focus on football. A newborn, planning a wedding, buying up apparently all the commercial real estate in Kansas City, being trotted all over TV by State Farm and Hy-Vee nonstop, his coach and mentor going through a completely avoidable family crisis that I imagine involves ruthless litigation and deposition, dealing with an idiot brother who cannot be reeled in by anyone in or around his family or the Chiefs organization for god knows why.
He’s dealing with life. This isn’t an excuse…it’s just fucking life. You don’t have to look that far to see things that would affect anyone’s ability to perform well outside of the walls of their own home. Ask anyone who has recently become a father, bought a home, dealt with family crises, planned a wedding, grown a business, etc. You know, literally everything going on in Patrick’s life right now. A circus act to juggle all that. He’s 26.
Yes, he has a $500 million pork chop hanging around his neck, but the things he’s dealing with would put certain 35-year olds into a catastrophic mental breakdown that would end with him peacing out to a shack somewhere in coastal Georgia or Florida Keys. Again, might do that anyway. We’ll see how we round out 2021.
This is not “I can’t adult today” sympathy. Patrick Mahomes did not spend all Sunday at bottomless mimosa brunch in 2012. This is me acknowledging that Patrick Mahomes is dealing with a lot of shit right now and I don’t think there’s much more reason to dive into what his issues could possibly be.
He is drinking from life’s fire hose. For the last few years, his life was not nearly this hectic. Something looks off with him and I am trying my best to pin it down. The guy is dealing with a lot of shit. Let him navigate the waters until he gets his bearings straight. Learning to manage the load is something every man goes through at some point in his life. Things suffer in the short term, but you come out better on the other side.
And despite this storm of life’s bullshit swirling around him, the Chiefs are still 5-4 and right in the thick of the AFC West hunt. One crisis at a time.