KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The quarterback went down, and the tongue-in-cheek message went up.
Days after Patrick Mahomes suffered a dislocated kneecap in an Oct. 17 game, a church just across the Kansas state line referenced the Kansas City Chiefs quarterback on its street-facing marquee:
Suddenly, the tote board was a prime selfie spot for red-clad Chiefs fans. Some people stopped in to make a donation. TV news crews showed up.
What started as an irreverent quip — not the first sports-themed message the church had posted — came to reflect the passion that so many have for Mahomes, whose astounding playmaking ability has captivated a fan base and the rest of the league.
“Patrick Mahomes just has a presence about him that attracts confidence,” said Lee Johnson, pastor of Asbury United Methodist Church in Prairie Village, Kan. “He’s just a unique individual.”
In many ways, Mahomes stands alone. Since taking over as Kansas City’s starter at the beginning of last season, he leads the NFL in passing yards (7,723) and touchdowns (68), pass plays of at least 25 yards (78), and passer rating (113.9). He was named the league’s Most Valuable Player last season, and Monday night will face the Chargers in Mexico City.
Mahomes returned to action last Sunday against the Tennessee Titans, throwing for 446 yards and three touchdowns in a 35-32 loss. He said this week he suffered no ill effects from that game, and in fact feels better than he has all season. Nor was he apprehensive in his return.
“I felt really good, honestly,” he said. “Just going out there and being able to play the game, doing the things that I’ve kind of grown accustomed to doing, scrambling and doing all that different type of stuff, and coming out healthy was definitely a positive sign. I’m glad that I can keep moving forward with that.”