The Kansas City Chiefs‘ 42-36 overtime win against the Buffalo Bills this past weekend was one of the greatest playoff games we’ve ever seen.
Kansas City ultimately prevailed thanks in large part to Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce’s ability to improvise.
Mahomes and Kelce went full sandlot football in the final seconds of regulation.
Kelce noticed that Buffalo was leaving the seam open and he mentioned it to Mahomes before the play to set up the game-tying field goal in the fourth quarter. At the line of scrimmage, Mahomes shouted “do it” to Kelce.
Did @tkelce orchestrate the 13-second drive? 👀
— NFL (@NFL) January 25, 2022
Mahomes’ improvisation skills are a big part of what makes him one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL.
But when he was a three-star recruit coming out of high school, his style of play wasn’t necessarily viewed as a positive.
Check out this ESPN scouting report on Mahomes from 2013
A few things stand out here. First off, it’s not like ESPN trashes Mahomes. They point out that he’s accurate and has plenty of zip on his ball. But they also mentioned that he has awkward and unorthodox throwing methods. ESPN notes that he’s a “sandlot thrower” who doesn’t keep his feet under him. And they think he’ll ultimately end up playing a position other than quarterback (ESPN mentioned that he looked like a safety prospect).
Mahomes’ “sandlot style” and unorthodox throwing methods are exactly what makes him so great.
I don’t blame ESPN for questioning Mahomes’ abilities and whether or not they’d translate to the next level. It’s tough to evaluate high school players (Bills quarterback Josh Allen and Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp have similar stories).
But it’s still fun to look back at Mahomes’ recruiting profile and see that some of his “negatives” turned out to be positives.
Featured image via Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports