On the morning of April 27, 2017, FOX Sports college football analyst Joel Klatt went to grab breakfast at a local Philadelphia hotel. Klatt was in the City of Brotherly Love because he was covering the 2017 NFL Draft, with the first round set to kick off later that evening.
As he entered the hotel restaurant, Klatt caught a glimpse of former Super Bowl-winning head coach Jon Gruden, who was working for ESPN at the time. Gruden was also enjoying a meal and invited Klatt to sit with him and indulge in conversation about the upcoming draft.
“He started asking me about all the players that I had covered in college football that were in that draft, and eventually, he asked me what I thought about [Patrick] Mahomes,” Klatt said on the latest episode of his podcast, “The Joel Klatt Show.” “I gave him my answer … and he’s kind of just nodding, and then he says, ‘Andy [Reid] is taking him with the 10th pick.’”
Reid, who was set to enter his fifth year as the Kansas City Chiefs head coach at the time, was coming off a 12-4 season that concluded with an AFC divisional-round loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers. The team had former No. 1 draft pick Alex Smith under center, but according to Gruden, Reid had a special feeling about Mahomes — who starred at Texas Tech from 2014-16 — as he reminded him of a former gun-slinging quarterback who he coached earlier in his career.
“‘Every one of us that touched [Brett] Favre, that’s who we see in Mahomes,’” Klatt recalled Gruden saying.
Looking back at Jalen Hurts and Patrick Mahomes in college
Joel Klatt looks back on covering Patrick Mahomes at Texas Tech and relives a memorable story ahead of the 2017 NFL Draft in Philadelphia.
Both Gruden and Reid were members of the Green Bay Packers’ coaching staff during the early-to-mid 90s, while Favre enjoyed the best seasons of his storied NFL career. Gruden served as the Packers’ offensive assistant during the 1992 NFL season, and then as the team’s wide receivers coach from 1993-94. Meanwhile, Reid was hired as the team’s assistant offensive line and tight ends coach in 1992 and served in that role until 1996. He moved over to be the team’s quarterbacks coach and assistant head coach from 1997-98.
Both coaches worked closely with Favre during their time in Green Bay, as the Pro Football Hall of Fame QB was named the NFL MVP in three consecutive seasons from 1995-97, while also helping lead the Packers to a victory in Super Bowl XXXI.
It was clear they both saw plenty of similarities between Favre and Mahomes, which, according to Klatt, wasn’t a common comparison made up to that point.
“From that moment forward, I started thinking to myself, ‘This guy is gonna work out,’” Klatt said of Mahomes. “He has been that style of guy, the same gun-slinging mentality that allowed Favre to be so successful, win a Super Bowl, win MVPs. That’s kind of what we see from Patrick Mahomes.”
Reid was spot-on with his assessment, as Mahomes is fresh off leading the Chiefs to a 23-20 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals in Sunday’s AFC Championship Game, and is now set to take on the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl LVII in Arizona (Feb. 12, 6:30 p.m. ET on FOX and the FOX Sports App).
This marks Mahomes’ third Super Bowl appearance in six NFL seasons. He has led the Chiefs to five consecutive AFC championship games and was named the NFL MVP back in 2018. Meanwhile, Favre led the Packers to back-to-back Super Bowl appearances in his sixth and seventh NFL seasons with the Packers, while being named the league MVP three straight years from 1995-97.
It’s a comparison that Klatt remembers vividly to this day.
“The first time that light bulb went off for me was that morning I had breakfast with Jon Gruden,” Klatt said.
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