Long before Patrick Mahomes was a professional quarterback, he saw what it was like to be a pro.
The son of major league pitcher Pat Mahomes, the future Chiefs quarterback was around clubhouses growing up, seeing firsthand how the game and the business worked.
The father made it a point to take his son to work often, from the highs of 6-year-old Patrick working in the batting cage with Alex Rodriguez when he was with the Yankees, to the harder life of all-night bus rides when his father was hanging on in the independent leagues later in his career.
“I wanted him to see the work you had to put in to be a pro,” Pat Mahomes told Peter King of NBC’s Football Morning in America. “He saw that in clubhouses for years. . . . I’d tell Patrick, ‘It’s always about the next play. It’s always about the next pitch.’ Forget what you’ve done. What are you gonna do next?”
“I learned the hard way. I was this hotshot prospect who started strong and then got hit around, and I’d linger on those bad games. I’d take the bad game into my next start. I found out that’s never good.”
Of course, those lessons came in handy for his son, particularly during this year’s playoffs. Three times in the postseason the Chiefs trailed by double digits, three times they came back and won, including in Super Bowl LIV with a furious burst of offense late.
And when the younger Mahomes described it, he was channeling the words of his father.
“All that matters is the next play,” Patrick said of their Super Bowl comeback.
“I think it’s just a competitiveness and the way I’ve been raised my whole entire life,” he said. “I don’t know if it’s from baseball, I don’t know if it’s from basketball or from my time in football. But I’ve always just been taught that you just have to play the next play. You have to go out there and compete no matter what’s happened earlier in the game. No matter what’s happened the whole season. All that matters is that next play.”
Being able to focus on the next chance at success rather than previous problems led the Chiefs to the play of the game, the 44-yard completion to Tyreek Hill on third-and-15 which sparked their comeback. Because in the moments before he made it, he knew it was the next one. The most important one.