MIAMI — In just 35 career games, we’ve witnessed plenty of magic from Patrick Mahomes. The no-look pass. A left-handed pass. Countless across-the-body throws that every quarterback from peewee to the NFL is told not to make.
But the magic we see is only a small part of what his Kansas City teammates get to witness on a regular basis in practice. According to several Chiefs players and coaches I spoke to this week, there’s one jaw-dropping act Mahomes has been working on for years behind closed doors. The question is, will the former MVP decide to unveil it to the millions watching Super Bowl LIV on Sunday?
Players catch thousands of balls throughout an NFL season between games, practices and workouts. For Chiefs receivers, though, it’s not uncommon for these passes to hit them via a behind-the-back throw.
"[Mahomes] tries it all the time because he keeps lobbying for coach Reid to put it in the system," backup quarterback Chad Henne told me this week. "He tells coach Reid, ‘I can option this way and then throw it back this way’, and I’m like, ‘Ahhh, let’s just take care of the ball.’ "
But would Mahomes actually do it? On the biggest stage in sports, against a fierce 49ers defense, would the 24-year-old really decide to throw a pass behind his back?
"I think he’s got a little trick up his sleeve, but I don’t want to spoil nothing," wide receiver Demarcus Robinson said with a laugh.
"You try not to keep it in practice and have it more on the side," quarterback coach Mike Kafka told me earlier this week. "He has an unbelievable ability to manipulate the football. He works it. He tries to tick me off with some of that stuff. If it happened in a game, it better be complete."
If you were at a Chiefs practice at any point during the season, you might have seen wideout Tyreek Hill, standing in his receiver spot, do a back-flip just because. In the athletic circus that is the Chiefs’ offense, Mahomes is the ring leader.
"It’s amazing," wide receiver Sammy Watkins told me this week. "I think that we have one of the best teams with some of the best athletes. Sometimes you do kind of sit back and watch what he’s going to do. I think everyone on our team can do some wild and crazy stuff. But our quarterback does the most amazing things."
The funny part of all of it is Mahomes is now in his third NFL season. He makes insane play after play seemingly every Sunday, and is on his way — if he isn’t there already — to becoming the face of the NFL. But what we all eagerly wait six days at a time to see, has become ordinary to his teammates. It’s just Pat being Pat on a Wednesday.
"Every day (we see it) and we’re just doing walk-throughs," Henne said with a smile. "I tell Matt (Moore) all the time — and he’s been around a long time and Kafka has been around a long time — but [Mahomes’] accuracy, and he’s just screwing around in walk-through, is just unheard of. He’s literally just sitting there and not even looking and throws it over his shoulder and somehow it’s right in (Travis) Kelce’s hands. It’s like … dude that’s just dumb. And he just walks off like it’s nothing. It’s become commonplace in practice. Whatever he does, scrambles out, throws it back to the left, it’s like, ‘OK, man. I got it.’ "
It’s crazy Mahomes can even make these throws in the first place. But the fact that there’s actually a chance he could bust one out on game day is even crazier.
"He can get it down field a good 20 yards and he’s pretty accurate, too, honestly," Robinson told me.
"I would say 20 yards," wide receiver coach Greg Lewis told me Thursday. "Accurate. I mean right to him. I taught him that (laughing). That kid is special; he can do it. I think Kafka will have a fit if he does. I don’t think he’ll do it in a game, but he might. I never expected a left-handed pass and he hit us with that one. I doubt he will, but it’s in there."
Follow James Palmer on Twitter @JamesPalmerTV.
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