Patriots Chiefs Football

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes pauses during a news conference after the AFC Championship NFL football game against the New England Patriots, Sunday, Jan. 20, 2019, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

It was must-see-TV for Sunday's AFC title game as local standout and most likely NFL MVP Patrick Mahomes had the Chiefs on the brink of their first Super Bowl in 49 years.

If not for an offsides call (KC's Dee Ford lined up in the neutral zone, negating an interception by Charvarius Ward that would have basically ended the game), Whitehouse's native son and Chiefs Kingdom would be headed to Atlanta.

Or, perhaps, if not for a phantom roughing the passer call on Tom Brady, the Chiefs might have won.

And what was toughest to take was that Mahomes did not even get a chance to work his magic in sudden-death overtime.

That was the cruelest of all.

When New England captain Matthew Slater called heads and a second later the coin lay heads up on the turf of Arrowhead Stadium, most of America knew what was about to happen.

Just as in Super Bowl LI, when the Patriots won the overtime toss against the Falcons, it was over.

After receiving the kickoff, the Patriots went on a 13-play, 75-yard drive for a 37-31 win, preventing the Chiefs from even getting a chance to touch the football. True, the KC defense could have stepped up as the Patriots converted three third-and-10-plus on the march. 

Of course, what if the Chiefs won the toss, would you bet against Mahomes?

I think not.

Interesting enough the Chiefs had won the first nine coin tosses this season.

Mahomes and the Chiefs were rolling in the fourth quarter with 24 points. And after it appeared the Patriots had won with a TD with 39 seconds showing in regulation, Mahomes led his team to the tying field goal.

What if Andy Reid had not challenged that Patriots catch in the fourth quarter and cost his team a timeout, maybe Mahomes, with a little more time, would have got KC in the end zone and OT would not be needed.

In the second half, Mahomes threw for 230 yards and three touchdowns. He capped his phenomenal first season as a starter by throwing for 295 yards. 

After the game, Mahomes said if the coin had come up tails he was confident in scoring.

"No doubt at all," Mahomes said. "That’s just ifs and buts. You can’t look at that. But at the same time, I feel like we were rolling. It didn’t go our way and then stuff happens.”

Now, the Patriots will play the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl LIII at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta on Feb. 3.

It was agonizing for Mahomes and the Chiefs fans to see the Patriots hold aloft the Lamar Hunt Trophy, symbolic of AFC champions. It's the hardware named after the Dallas Texans/KC Chiefs founder.

No doubt, it was painful but it could help in the future.

“You have to take in the hurt,” said Mahomes, classy as always even in defeat. “You have to accept that it hurts. I mean, it’s supposed to hurt.”

But for fans of Mahomes and the Chiefs, it's a starting point.

Did many predict KC would make the playoffs, much less be the No. 1 seed in the AFC, at the beginning of the season?

Maybe a few, but most probably had the Chiefs between eight and 10 wins instead of 12.

It was a tough one to take, but Mahomes added, “Right now, it’s the end. But hopefully it’s just the beginning of a long time.”

MARTIN'S MILL STILL ROLLING

There are a number of outstanding basketball teams in the area and at the top of the list is the Martin's Mill Lady Mustangs.

Their numbers are impressive — the Lady Mustangs are on a 66-game winning streak and they have won 135 district games in a row.

Coach Tommy Cross' squad is scheduled to play host to Sulphur Springs North Hopkins at 6 p.m. Tuesday.

The Lady Mustangs (27-0) are ranked No. 1 in Class 2A by the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches. 

Last year the state championship team won 39 consecutive games.

Also, the Martin's Mill boys team is doing quite well with a ranking of No. 3 in the state with a 25-2 mark.  

JT'S CRAWFORD GETTING OFFERS

The winter national signing day is approaching and John Tyler football coach Ricklan Holmes will have several more Lions signing.

Just recently, JT standout running back/defensive back Kitan Crawford received offers from Baylor and Arkansas. SFA and Louisiana-Monroe have also offered Crawford.

Running back Rod Hawkins Jr. has committed to Harding University with linebacker Christian Hartsfield being offered by Austin College and linebacker Tyrell Jones being eyed by Hastings College.

JT's signing day is scheduled for 10 a.m. Feb. 6 at the Tyler ISD Career & Technology Center.

TWITTER: @PhilHicksETFS

TWITTER: @PhilHicksETFS

Sports Editor

I am a native Tylerite and I grew up reading the Tyler Morning Telegraph and The Tyler Courier-Times. My parents took both the morning and afternoon papers. I came to work here 35 years ago at the age of 23, right after college.

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