What did Chiefs see in Patrick Mahomes that Bears didn’t? Perhaps an all-time great
Chiefs coach Andy Reid didn’t believe it when GM Brett Veach called Mahomes ‘‘the greatest player I’ve ever seen,’’ based on his college film. Then Reid pressed play.
MIAMI — The Bears will spend the rest of quarterback Patrick Mahomes’ career wondering what they missed when they chose Mitch Trubisky ahead of him in the 2017 NFL Draft.
Chiefs coach Andy Reid, fresh off teaming with Mahomes to win Super Bowl LIV on Sunday, was happy to fill everyone in on what his staff saw.
A day after Mahomes wiped out a 10-point deficit in the fourth quarter and was voted Super Bowl MVP in the Chiefs’ 31-20 victory against the 49ers, Reid recalled the onset of general manager Brett Veach’s infatuation when Mahomes played at Texas Tech. Veach called him ‘‘the greatest player I’ve ever seen’’ and badgered Reid nonstop to watch his film.
‘‘That’s a pretty bold statement,’’ Reid told Veach. ‘‘I’ve seen some guys.’’
When Reid finally watched it, he blurted out exactly what Veach had said: ‘‘This is, like, the greatest player I’ve ever seen.’’
From then on, the Chiefs had to have Mahomes.
‘‘He was making throws like he did [Sunday],’’ Reid said. ‘‘Then you go: ‘Well, let’s see how he does this in the NFL. He can’t do all that stuff.’ Then he came to us and started doing all that stuff — the no-looks — and it just kind of came naturally to him.
‘‘He really works on it, but there’s a part that’s just easy for him. He sees the field, which I appreciate. You could see that on his college tape.’’
It wasn’t that obvious to everybody.
As the Chiefs swooned over Mahomes, Bears GM Ryan Pace fixated on Trubisky. Seemingly bidding against himself, Pace traded two third-round picks and a fourth-rounder to the 49ers to move up from third to second and make sure no one snatched up his prized prospect.
The next seven teams didn’t take a quarterback, and the Chiefs made their move in a trade from 27th to 10th. The Texans ‘‘settled’’ for Deshaun Watson, who already has been a two-time Pro Bowler, two picks later.
In two seasons as the Chiefs’ full-time starter, Mahomes has 86 touchdown passes in 36 starts (counting the playoffs). He is the youngest player to win a regular-season MVP and a Super Bowl. Trubisky, meanwhile, just finished a season in which he ranked 28th among the 32 starting quarterbacks in passer rating.
Nobody knows firsthand the difference between the two better than Bears coach Matt Nagy, who was the Chiefs’ offensive coordinator when they decided to go all-in on Mahomes and coached him in his rookie season.
With contracts pre-slotted for first-round picks, the Bears could’ve had Mahomes for the same money they’re paying Trubisky. In other words, everything else about their team — including their championship-caliber defense — would be intact. And they could have kept some draft picks.
Mahomes eventually might cost something close to $40 million per year when he signs an extension, but most teams wish they had that problem. The Chiefs will be more than happy to let him name his price after what they’ve seen.
‘‘After a bit, you go, ‘This guy’s unbelievable,’ ’’ Reid said. ‘‘He can take it all in. He challenges you as a coach to give him more. His aptitude is ridiculous. You love that. You’re able to feed him new plays, and he gobbles those things up and makes them look even better than they did on paper.
‘‘And then he’s a great leader, so he’s got this innate ability to make everybody around him better. You saw that [in the Super Bowl].’’