Patrick Mahomes Owns The NFL
1:25 PM EST on February 8, 2024
Drew Magary’s Thursday Afternoon NFL Dick Joke Jamboroo runs every Thursday at Defector during the NFL season. Got something you wanna contribute? Email the Roo. And buy Drew’s book, The Night The Lights Went Out, through here.
It’s intimidating to consider that this could be the worst Chiefs team that Patrick Mahomes takes to the Super Bowl. Kansas City will head into the offseason with over $28 million in cap space, and less dead cap space than all but three other teams. They’ll have their full complement of top draft picks, and they’ve proven to be shrewd with their choices over the past couple of years (Trent McDuffie, Isiah Pacheco, Creed Humphrey) despite consistently picking near the bottom of every round. Their most significant potential free-agent loss this offseason could be planet-eating DT Chris Jones, but they have more than a few ways (franchise tag, contract extension) to keep him in the fold. And even if they lose Jones, they’ve already proven that they can win a championship without a particularly great defense, without Tyreek Hill, without offensive tackles who know how to block without holding people, and without the invaluable loyalty of the Katycats. You know why.
I am not unlike the Matthew Berrys of the world in that when it comes to the NFL, I am pure, uncut bro. I quietly believe that I know more about this sport than you do. I cook up plays in my head and consider them foolproof. I am irrationally confident when I place a bet. I make imaginary roster moves. I give imaginary pressers. I evaluate college tape (Youtube highlights) like I’m a paid member of a team’s scouting department. I’m not. But football is a sport that, perhaps more than any other, accommodates this delusion year round. It also allows fans to do all of this mental heavy lifting while drunk and/or stoned, which only enhances the virtual experience.
So I sit there, day and night, and I think about what you need to contend for the Super Bowl on an annual basis. You need an owner willing to spend money and then get out of the way. You need a coach who knows what the fuck they’re doing. You need qualified assistant coaches who can hide your weak spots and exploit your strengths. You need top-shelf linemen on both sides of the ball. You need to run the ball capably when the moment calls for it. You need a kicker who isn’t a piece of shit. You need all of that.
But you and I know that the only thing that really matters in the equation is your quarterback. You either have one or you don’t. You need Joe Burrow, or Lamar Jackson, or Josh Allen, or Jalen Hurts.
The kick in the nuts is that, right now, is that even if you do have one of those aforementioned quarterbacks, that still won’t be enough. That’s because you still don’t have THE quarterback. You don’t have the one guy who can make chicken salad out of chicken shit, down after down. You don’t have the one guy who can convert any third-and-long by breaking into a leisurely jog. You don’t have the one guy who can make any throw to any spot on the field, even when he’s sprinting 30 yards toward his own end zone. And if you don’t have Patrick Mahomes, then you’re fucked.
You can already make the case that Mahomes is the greatest quarterback in history, but the greatest of all time matters far less than the greatest of right now. And right now, Patrick Mahomes isn’t just the greatest QB in the NFL, but a man who now serves as an impossible standard for the rest of the league. This is enervating, but unavoidable. Mahomes is so dominant that he not only dictates the terms of engagement to other teams, but to the imaginary front office in your head. Does my team have a Mahomes? No. Maybe they can get a Mahomes. What about Caleb Williams? He could be the next Mahomes. Or what about Drake Maye? Every other fan thinks Drake Maye will be a stiff, but what if he’s secretly a Mahomes? Or what about one of the good QBs already in the league? Can we make a Mahomes out of Kyler Murray? If I squint really hard while watching Kyler highlights, I can kind of see it!
Christ, there really isn’t another Mahomes. We’re fucked. Maybe we have to take out his knees.
That’s the bind that I, and fans of 30 other teams, find ourselves in. It’s the bind that our actual teams face. Like the rest of the Masters field when Tiger Woods was in his prime, every other NFL team is crippled by its fear of the top dog. They come into every game pre-spooked and then play worse than they normally do, because they know they’re all but powerless to stop Mahomes. That’s the effect he has on the rest of the league. Aaron Rodgers may own the Bears (congrats!), but Mahomes owns it all.
The greatest players and coaches in sports are often heralded for revolutionizing how the sport itself is played. Steph Curry made the NBA into a three-point league, Joe Montana made the NFL into a pass-first game, Woods ushered in era of golf where 7,000-yard courses weren’t long enough. But more often than not, we’re talking about singular talents. Ones of one. You can build your roster, your coaching staff, and your front office in the mold of the Chiefs, but you still won’t have the skeleton key that unlocks it, and you never will. Other teams will win Super Bowls while Patrick Mahomes is in his prime—perhaps even this Sunday—but those titles will feel like aberrations. Temporary custody of the Lombardi trophy. Revel in your season of glory when it comes, because Mahomes will be coming back for it shortly.
Remember: this man is only 28 years old. Waiting him out is gonna take a while, and he’s already made a mockery of every reason you’ve concocted to doubt him. His wideouts are too shitty! The Chiefs’ roster is in transition! His body will break down! He somehow can’t beat Jake from State Farm in a charisma contest! He’ll struggle after Andy Reid dies while choking on a biscuit! None of that shit matters, nor has it ever. He’s Patrick Mahomes. As long as that’s the case, the rest of us will toil in his shadow.
Again, unless we take out his knees. It’s Super Bowl weekend in America, and this is your Super Bowl Jamboroo. HIT THE MUSIC.
All games in the Jamboroo are evaluated for sheer watchability on a scale of 1 to 5 Throwgasms. And for the playoffs, I pick the games, because that’s a smart thing to do.
Chiefs (+2) 30, 49ers 20. I have zero faith in Kyle Shanahan to coach a big game without a hairbrush lodged up his ass. Also, I picked against Mahomes twice already this postseason. No chance I make that mistake again. The Niners could win this game by 30 and I still wouldn’t regret betting against them.
I’m also chastened for ever doubting the ability of Travis Kelce to swing a game in Kansas City’s favor. Kelce has basked in the spotlight all season long by dint of being the guy who’s currently bedding Taylor Swift, but lemme go the full Collinsworth for a moment and also note that this man is the best tight end to ever play the game. Better than Gronk. Better than Tony Gonzalez. Better than Mike Ditka. Kelce plays on an offense whose best wideout is a rookie second-round pick and whose leading rusher failed to crack 1,000 yards on the season. And yet Kelce not only finds a way to get open on nearly every play, but wide fucking open. During any given Chiefs game, there’ll be several moments where I’ll say, out loud, “Why don’t they cover him?” Well, they tried. It’s just that they couldn’t. Other teams know who Kelce is, and they prioritize stopping him during the install. It never matters. He finds open patches of grass anyway, and then Mahomes finds him. There’s no stopping it. It’s maddening.
So cheers to Travis Kelce for being really good at football. Now let’s never say another kind word about him and talk about some random crap instead.
• This was my first year as a Youtube TV customer. I already reviewed their Sunday Ticket interface at the beginning of the season, but that review didn’t necessarily provide an assessment of the entire YTTV experience. So let me do that right now: four stars out of four. Everything on YTTV is easy to find. The service always asks me if I’d like to pick up where I left off before jumping into any show. The interface updates in more useful ways as a matter of routine. And it costs a fraction of what I paid for DirecTV.
I know that a lot of people had buffering complaints about YTTV this season—the Super Bowl will make for a hell of a stress test—but again, I came here from DirecTV, which still gets fucked by a light rainfall. My life has decidedly improved since making the switch. And just wait until Google buys all of the streaming services! Now that’s the oligarchy working for you.
• We had a combined half-foot of snow fall last month in my hood, and it stuck on the ground long enough to accommodate multiple days of sledding goodness, rather than the usual two hours of viable sledding terrain that Maryland receives on an annual basis. I have lived in a lot of cold places, and I have come to the conclusion that six inches of snow is the ideal amount. That’s enough snow to make a snowpack, but not so much that you feel inconvenienced on an existential level. Two inches of snow is always a letdown, and two feet of snow is cabin fever. Six inches? That’s jussssst right.
All of it melted, by the way. Everything here is boring again.
Two weeks ago: 1-1
Drew’s Chili Recipe
I post this recipe every year, because it’s a good recipe and, more important, it fills up vital column inches via the magic of cut and paste. Why, it’s like I hardly have to write this post at all!
FOR THE CHILI:
2 pounds ground beef or chicken, at least 20% fat
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 shallot, chopped
1 jalapeno, chopped
1 large can crushed tomatoes
1 small can tomato paste
1 can tall red kidney beans, drained
1 can corn, drained
1 can beer
1 can chicken broth
1 tsp liquid smoke
1 tsp sugar
1 tbsp fennel seed
2 tbsp cumin (add more at end if necessary)
2 tbsp chili powder (add more at end if necessary)
1/4 cup white vinegar
Salt & Pepper to taste
Ashes from a joint (optional)
Lotta Frank’s Hot Sauce
2 glugs olive oil
FOR THE SIDES:
Frank’s hot sauce
1 bunch scallions, chopped
Beer (near-beer if you’re me)
Put a big pot on the stove on medium. Pour in the oil. When it’s hot, toss in the onions, garlic, jalapeno, and shallots and stir them around until soft. Toss in the ground meat. Salt and pepper the ground meat in the pot. Sautee the meat until it’s good and brown. Add the tomatoes, beans, corn, beer, broth, liquid smoke, sugar, cumin, chili powder, fennel seed, joint ashes, vinegar, and Frank’s. Bring it to a simmer. Half cover the pot and leave it on low medium heat for 3–4 hours, stirring occasionally and always tasting. The liquid in the pot should reduce into a nice, thick stew. Dip in a chip to see if the chili sticks to it. If it does, it’s ready to serve.
Pregame Song That Makes Me Wanna Run Through A Goddamn Brick Wall
“Blind Youth Industrial Park,” by Metz! From Phil:
I’ve been into Metz a lot lately and this song kicks ass. Awesome riffs, good chorus, and an awesome video to boot. I do not wish to mess with the mysterious glowing ice orb.
That makes one of us, because that orb would give me the power to rule the entire state of Maryland! Bonus points to this video for having an actual production budget. That doesn’t happen much in rock anymore.
By the way, a few readers pointed out that the title game Jamboroo two weeks ago featured a song (“S.O.S.” by The Glorious Sons) that had already appeared in this column already. That isn’t the first time that’s happened. You don’t write this column for 16 years with accidentally repeating yourself. Shit, Metz was in here last year. I’m just glad this is a different song than the other one of theirs that I used.
Eric Adams’s Lock Of The Week: 49ers/Chiefs OVER (47)
“Now I’ve lived in Vegas my whole life, and lemme tell you: we might know a thing or two about how to have a good time. [Chuckles modestly] We know how to play rousing games of pinochle, how to flambé a chicken, how to mix a killer rum and Dr. Pepper, and how to do stage magic. Everyone who grew up here knows how to make wild animals disappear behind a veil. In fact, zoos in other jurisdictions have hired me, many times, to make feral animals in their care vanish, with no mess or inhumane practices. For this, I have never charged a fee.”
2023 Record: 10-10
Fire This Asshole!
Is there anything more exciting than a coach losing his job? All year long, we’ll keep track of which coaches will almost certainly get fired at year’s end or sooner. And now, your potential 2023 chopping block:
Pete Carroll – FIRED!
Bill Belichick – FIRED!
Josh McDaniels – FIRED!
Frank Reich – FIRED!
Brandon Staley – FIRED!
Ron Rivera – FIRED!
Arthur Smith – FIRED!
Mike Vrabel – FIRED!
If you believe The Athletic’s Dianna Russini (and you never should), no one would hire Mike Vrabel this month because owners were afraid he might punch them if they dared to cross him.
Again, I find this scoop lacking in credibility, and not merely because I’m considering the source. Both DeMeco Ryans and Dan Campbell are up for Coach of the Year tonight. What do those two men have in common? That’s right: They can beat the absolute shit out of you. The hottest commodity in this league right now is coaches who look like they can win a prison riot. You see Mark Davis refusing to hire Antonio Pierce because Pierce could crush him like a soda can? Of course not.
Furthermore, what owner could defeat any NFL head coach in hand-to-hand combat? Imagine Stephen Ross asking tiny-ass Mike McDaniel to step outside. What happens? I’ll tell you what happens: McDaniel tears the old man’s balls clean off. That’s what you want out of a coach. You ain’t hiring Olivia Rodrigo for this shit. You need muscle.
Great Moments In Poop History
Reader Tim sends in this story I call STOP! OR MY MOM WILL POOP!
Ten years ago I was in NYC for work and was in a crowded Manhattan Starbucks to get coffee to go before heading upstate to meetings when the bubble guts hit, and hit HARD. Thankfully, this Starbucks had two one-person bathrooms. So I am busy defiling one when I get a knock on the door. There's an older lady (60s probably) who HAS TO GO NOW, and apparently the other bathroom is also occupado.
Now, normally I'd be leisurely fucking around on my phone while I shit, but I had people waiting on me and I knew how busy this SBux was. I wasn't trying to dwadle. But my body could not stop expelling liquid brown lava. This was one of those diarrhea dumps that required time, especially since I'd be jumping into a car soon after and wanted to make sure it was all out of my system.
Yet ye older lady doesn't care. She is laying into me from outside the door with a heavy NY accent and just dropping ALL THE SWEARS. She's Dice Clay. She's Richard Pryor. She's Eddie Murphy. Meanwhile, I can't stop shitting.
Finally, my body wraps its business. I stumble out, a few pounds lighter and mildly embarrassed. I catch a glimpse of the lady, and I am pretty sure the other bathroom opened up at the same time and she went into that one.
Too bad, because she really deserved to be hit with my stench after all that shouting. When you gotta go, you gotta go. But you don't have to be an asshole New Yorker about it.
Don’t you, though?
And Now Let’s Go Down To The Sideline To Check In With Charissa Thompson
“Drew, I’m currently wearing Apple’s new Vision Pro and dinosaurs are attacking me! They’re biting my arms and telling me, ‘Hey, we’re just dinosaurs. Our job is to eat people like you.’ When I told them I was scared, the dinosaurs told me they were scared, too. They were never meant to be taken back out of extinction, much less in digital form. And so they told me they HAD to clamp down on my leg and drag me into one of their resting swamps. I know what I’m seeing isn’t real, but it’s giving me a panic attack that has me feeling like my skin is burning all over. For now, I have to list my return to this column as Questionable. Back to you, Drew.”
Gametime Cheap Beer Of The Week
LaCrosse Lager! From Wiscaaaaaaaansin! Here’s Maaaaaaatt with the scoopty:
When I was the ripe young age of seven, my Bavarian Grandmother declared that I, as a good German boy, needed to start drinking beer. Grandma's beer of choice was Old Style, so it immediately also became mine. As an adult, I noticed that Old Style just didn't taste the same as those memories of Grandma's flat, room-temperature swill. And that's when I learned that the original recipe was sold and rebranded as LaCrosse Lager! Is this beer any good? Of course not. But it does bring back some good memories of Granny sneaking me hits off her tallboys when my mom wasn't looking.
OK, I’m totally doing this when I have grandkids down the road.
Gameday Movie Of The Week For Panthers Fans
William Friedkin’s To Live And Die In L.A., featuring William Petersen’s penis! This movie is notoriously unavailable on any streaming platform, so I had to buy a physical copy of it off Amazon. Worth. Every. Penny. Here’s what I got my $17.49:
- Gorgeous exterior shots of the ugliest parts of 1985 L.A.
- A young Willem Dafoe. I had no idea Willem Dafoe actually looked young at one time. I always figured that he was born looking 48 years old and stayed that way for 200 years.
- Soundtrack by Wang Chung!
- Hot sex!
- Weird interpretive dancing that you will only find in a movie made in the '80s and not merely set in it.
- A final hour that had my jaw literally dropping multiple times.
- Detailed lessons on how to counterfeit money.
- A young John Turturro, who takes a nothing role and turns it into primo John Turturro shit
- One of the best car chases you’ll ever see on celluloid. It’s Friedkin, the car chase master. You knew he’d deliver.
Gratuitous Simpsons Quote
“Your Bra Bomb better work, nerdlinger!”
Enjoy the Super Bowl, everyone. I’ll see you back here next week for the Jamboroo season-ender.