For the first time in a half century, the Kansas City Chiefs are going to the Super Bowl and they can thank an East Texan for leading them there.
Patrick Mahomes, Whitehouse’s superstar quarterback, ran and passed the Chiefs to a 35-24 win over the Tennessee Titans in the AFC Championship on Sunday in Kansas City, Missouri.
The victory gives KC a berth in Super Bowl LIV in two weeks in Miami. The Chiefs last appeared in the NFL Championship game in 1970, a 23-7 victory over the Minnesota Vikings in Super Bowl IV in New Orleans. Then they were members of the American Football League. It was a year before the AFL-NFL merger.
Mahomes, the former Wildcat and Texas Tech star, connected on 23 of 35 pass attempts for 294 yards and three touchdowns. He was also the Chiefs’ leading rusher with 53 yards on eight carries, including a dazzling 27-yard TD run.
Mahomes, the son of former Major League pitcher Pat Mahomes and Randi Martin Mahomes of Whitehouse, will lead the Chiefs against the NFC Champion on Feb. 2 at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida.
Earlier this week, Mahomes spoke of the support from his home area.
“It speaks to the people that I have grown up around — Whitehouse, Tyler, the whole East Texas area they support me ... I’ve been blessed that way where I’ve had great people in my life that have steered me in the right direction.”
The Chiefs were awarded the Lamar Hunt Trophy, named for their founder. Lamar Hunt, who also lived in Tyler as a youngster, was one of the founders of the AFL and named the Super Bowl.
“I mean, it’s amazing. It really is,” Mahomes said. “To be here, to be a part of Chiefs Kingdom and to be able to do it here at Arrowhead, these people deserve it. And, we’re not done yet.”
With 23 seconds on the clock in the second quarter and KC behind the Titans, 17-14, Mahomes came through with perhaps the play of the Chiefs’ season.
Mahomes dropped back to the 35-yard line and then darted to the left, sidestepping linebacker Derick Roberson’s tackle attempt at the 32 and then twisted away from linebacker Rashaan Evans at the 29.
Nearing the sideline, Mahomes was a tightrope artist. At the 10, he went right and spun away from cornerback Tramaine Brocke and found the end zone.
The TD gave the Chiefs their first lead of the game, 21-17.
“They were doubling all these guys,’’ Mahomes said. “I just ran it and got some good blocking at the end and found a way to get in the end zone.’’
Super Bowl LIV is scheduled for Sunday, Feb. 2, at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida.