KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The world is in the grips of the worst pandemic in more than a century, the country is going through the kind of social upheaval unseen in decades, and the vast majority of people would prefer 2020 just grind to an end.
Patrick Mahomes might be having the best year of anyone.
The Chiefs quarterback began it by leading the franchise to its first Super Bowl championship in 50 years, a game in which he cemented his status as the league's premier quarterback by rallying his team past the San Francisco 49ers in the second half and earning the MVP award on a warm February night in Miami.
Mahomes proceeded to sign a record-setting 10-year contract extension that could pay him nearly a half-billion dollars, yet managed to structure it so that the Chiefs could continue to afford talent around him. He used some of that money to buy a piece of the Kansas City Royals, allowing the son of former major league pitcher Pat Mahomes to fulfill a baseball itch and simultaneously endear himself to his adopted hometown on a whole new level.
He played in the celeb-studded American Century Championship, finishing in a respectable tie for 38th in Lake Tahoe. His social media following has grown exponentially. He's become the face of the NFL after just two full years as a starter.
“It's been a crazy time for sure,” Mahomes said in a wide-ranging interview with The Associated Press. “The pandemic and the movements across our country — it's been different. We won the Super Bowl. That was awesome. The parade and everything, and then the world changed. You're able to step back and think about a lot of different stuff, and then go out there and try to be the best person you can be every single day.”
That isn't just hyperbole. And make no mistake: The year hasn't just been one long party.
As the new player representative for the Chiefs, Mahomes had a major voice in negotiations between the NFL and its players' union on return-to-play protocols. He has expressed his support for the Black Lives Matter movement, and along with Chiefs safety Tyrann Mathieu, he has spearheaded a voter registration effort in Kansas City.