ORLANDO, Fla. — Before the confetti could even settle on Sunday’s Super Bowl championship in Miami, Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes was whisked off to the Lombardi and MVP trophy presentations, a South Beach after-party into the wee hours of the morning and a Super Bowl MVP parade at Disney. But not before he got to enjoy a full-circle moment he’d been wishing for since he decided to pursue football: being able to say, “I’m going to Disney World.”
As a 17-year-old high school quarterback in 2013, Mahomes tweeted, “I bet it feels amazing to be the quarterback who says, ‘I’m going to Disney World,’ after winning the Super Bowl. #QBs”
I bet it feels amazing to be the quarterback who says “I’m going to Disney World” after winning the Super Bowl #Qbs
— Patrick Mahomes II (@PatrickMahomes) February 6, 2013
His dream came true.
“I think just seeing the excitement and the joy. I’ve always seen it, you always see it every single year, when the quarterbacks say it — it’s such an iconic thing,” Mahomes said in an interview with ESPN. “I didn’t even remember tweeting it until it came back out before the Super Bowl. For me, it was just such an iconic thing and something that was special, and I wanted to do that. And now I have and I’m here — it’s amazing.
“When I won the game and they came up and told me [I’d won the MVP], it was amazing — just to be able to say those words and to be here now. … I tried to dream it, and I tweeted it, and I kinda spoke it into existence.”
At the time of his tweet, Mahomes was a multisport athlete in Tyler, Texas, struggling with deciding what he wanted to do next. His father, Pat Mahomes Sr., was a Major League Baseball pitcher for 11 seasons and tried to talk his son into quitting football so he could focus exclusively on baseball, where he would wind up pitching a no-hitter with 16 strikeouts. In football, Mahomes wasn’t even listed on ESPN’s top 300 football recruits.
But he chose to follow his passion, which he acknowledged wasn’t easy.
“I was never that kid [to go against my parents],” Mahomes told ESPN. “To me it was just, ‘Let’s just go try this football thing out. Let’s go to college and play it. I mean, you’re lucky enough to get a scholarship, try to see if you can make something of it.’ And we found a way. I got drafted to the Chiefs and now, God, the rest is history.
“I just wanted to follow it and see where it took me. I still thought there was a good chance I was gonna play baseball, but I wanted to see where football took me, and I was able to go out there [and succeed].”
When asked what advice he’d give to his younger self, he said, “It was just like what I did — follow your dreams and not just do what everyone thinks you should do, but follow your dreams. It’s worked out and I’ve gotten me to where I am.”
And where that is today includes little sleep and upward of 250 text messages (and counting) on his phone, which he plans to respond to when things settle down.
“There’s a bunch of guys. I was joking around with my girlfriend [Brittany] that at one point, I was looking at my messages and I had Peyton Manning, Brett Favre, Troy Polamalu, Brooks Koepka … just all these different people,” Mahomes said, joking that he’d still love to hear from his NBA idol, Chris Paul, who left him speechless courtside at a Dallas Mavericks game last offseason when he said, “Hey, man, I love your game.”
“I was just like — I couldn’t even say anything,” Mahomes said. “I was just like, ‘Your’s too!'”
He also heard from former teammate Alex Smith, who mentored Mahomes during his first year in Kansas City, knowing that it would mean Mahomes would take his job one day.
“He texted me right after the game, saying he enjoyed it just as much as we did,” Mahomes said. “He wasn’t there, but he was part of it — I think that’s the biggest thing. He built the culture that I came into. He was the guy that led the team to all these successful seasons and built that winning culture.”
No Super Bowl postgame interaction sticks out to Mahomes more, though, than meeting his parents on the field Sunday, particularly his father, who listened and understood as Mahomes decided to forge his own path.
“My dad was tearing up a little bit,” Mahomes said. “He just told me how proud he was just for me to be able to go out there and live out my dream and get the win.”
“It’s definitely different [seeing your parents cry],” said Mahomes, who fondly remembers taking trips to Disney World as a kid when his father was in spring training.
“It’s something where — you just try to go out there and be the best player, the best person you can be every single day. And in doing that, you do things that your parents can be proud of. So I’ve always believed that if I’m the best person I am every single day and work hard, that I can do stuff that can be positive in this world.”
Also not lost on Mahomes is the significance of the win — the Chiefs’ first in 50 years — and when it took place, six days before the 20th anniversary of late Chiefs and Pro Football Hall of Fame linebacker Derrick Thomas’ death in Miami following an automobile accident in Kansas City. Thomas was from Miami, and his mother, Edith Morgan, still lives there. Thomas’ children Derrion and Alexa were in Miami for the Super Bowl.
“I think him being from here, and then the Chiefs being able to win it in his hometown — it’s special,” Mahomes said. “It’s crazy how stuff works that way. He was such a vital part of our organization for such a long time — one of the greatest defensive players of all time. So for us to be able to win that and bring whatever joy we can to his family, it’s special.”