Most of the on-field messages from Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes come from his arm or his feet. On Monday night, he sent another message with his fingers.
After throwing his final touchdown pass on the night against the Ravens, in a game Kansas City won 34-20, Mahomes counted to four on his right hand before transitioning to a Jordan-style shrug. Was that a reference to the fact that he landed at No. 4 on the NFL’s top 100 players list?
“I think I had four touchdowns at that point,” Mahomes said when asked that question after the game.
He’s right, but there definitely was another message. When his spot on the list was announced, he made note of it on Twitter.
As we explained at the time, his landing spot at No. 4 in the countdown revealed in late July came from the process that leads to the annual list. The league asked players during the 2019 regular season to list the top 20 players in the league. Since Mahomes missed multiple games last year due to a knee injury, he lacked the same sizzle that he had in 2018. Instead, Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson (No. 1 on the list) and Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (No. 2) landed higher because, during the 2019 season, they were the two getting the most MVP buzz. (Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald came in at No. 3.) Eventually, Jackson won the 2019 regular-season MVP award, getting all 50 votes.
Those details don’t matter when it comes to finding motivation, and when standing atop the NFL’s mountain any and all potential chips on the shoulder are welcome.
Cementing the fact that Mahomes was making reference to his spot on the top-100 list is the fact that, last year, Mahomes counted to 10 after throwing a Sunday night touchdown pass against the Bears. It was a much more obvious reference to the fact that he languished on the 2017 draft board until pick No. 10, eight spots behind now-benched Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky.
That’s really the broader point. Although no one will accuse Mahomes of being disrespectful, he made these points when easily handling teams led by the quarterback taken second overall in 2017 and the team led by the quarterback who finished atop the top-100 list.