MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — Chris Jones’ eyes were wide, his nostrils flared.
And as the Kansas City Chiefs’ monstrous 6-foot-6, 300-pound defensive tackle stood shirtless in the locker room, surveying the raging party taking place minutes after the Chiefs’ 31-20 win over the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl LIV, the 25-year-old pending free agent had something he wanted the whole world to know.
“I told you, we building a f-----g dynasty man,” Jones told Yahoo Sports. “This is just the beginning, this is just the beginning. Mark my words: we’ll be back in this motherf----r again next year. Mark my words.”
All indications are that Jones is dead on once again. The Chiefs boast one of the league’s best head coaches in Andy Reid, a man now free of the anchor-like narrative that he couldn’t win the big one. They also boast a young defensive core revolving around Jones, safety Tyrann Mathieu (27) and Frank Clark (26), all of whom will still be in their primes when the Chiefs go for a rare repeat in 2020.
Most important, Kansas City possesses the league’s best player in 24-year-old quarterback Patrick Mahomes, a man who failed to repeat as MVP in 2019 but proved — by guiding three straight Chiefs comebacks in these playoffs — that ultimately, he is indeed The New Face of The NFL.
“It looked rocky, man, it looked like Pat was having a little rough one at first,” Clark said. “But if you know Pat Mahomes, like I’ve been saying all year man, I’ll take that quarterback over any quarterback. QB1 man, there’s no one like him.”
Mahomes showed poise far beyond his years on the NFL’s grandest stage. With the Chiefs trailing San Francisco 20-10 early in the fourth quarter, a Kansas City drive stalled out in the red zone when Mahomes threw behind his receiver, Tyreek Hill, and had the pass intercepted.
But when the defense stood tall, forcing the league’s most dynamic rushing offense to punt in what could have easily been a game-icing drive, Mahomes answered the call. His 44-yard heave to Hill on third-and-15 with rushers bearing down on him was the stuff of legends, and so were his ensuing touchdown passes to tight end Travis Kelce and running back Damien Williams.
Mahomes completing his Super Bowl comeback puts him in a rare fraternity that includes bona fide icons like Tom Brady, Drew Brees and Joe Montana. And now, Mahomes is not only the youngest quarterback to ever win Super Bowl MVP, he’s also the most accomplished 24-year-old quarterback ever.
Mahomes’ ascension to NFL’s king quarterback this early in his career must be terrifying for the rest of the league. Brady won the Super Bowl early in his career, too, and was then free to maximize his gifts without crippling “he can’t win the big one” pressure. He went on to win five more Super Bowls and secure his title as football’s GOAT, something that is now on the table for Mahomes … even though he’d never say that.
“It’s pretty amazing the dynasty the Patriots have had these last 15 to 20 years,” Mahomes said. “For me, it’s about taking it one year at a time. We came up short last year, we understood how it was to get in this position again and we found a way to do it. And we understand that next year, when we come back and we enjoy this, it’s going to [take the] same amount of dedication and tenacity every single day if we want to be here. So I think we’ll take it one year at a time, one day at a time, and try to put together great years. And at the end of it all, we’ll have no regrets with where we’re at.”
Mahomes isn’t just paying lip service there. People close to him rave about his maturity, focus and desire to win, traits that also dominate Brady’s personality. With that mentality, by the time his career is said and done, who’s to say Mahomes won’t match — or even exceed — Brady’s titles?
“I honestly don’t know [if there is a ceiling for him],” fullback Anthony Sherman, a close friend of Mahomes, told Yahoo Sports. “I’ll wait to find out and see, but I don’t think there is.”
“This is just the beginning — hopefully,” added special teams coach Dave Toub. “I’ve heard people say that s--- before, though, and they don’t get back.”
When that happens, however, it’s largely due to coaching departures and personnel mistakes. The Patriots sustained their success with Brady because they had Bill Belichick, an elite coach and de facto general manager.
But Mahomes also has a surefire Hall of Fame coach in Reid, who has relied upon the deft decision-making of general manager Brett Veach to build the roster. It’s not a stretch to expect the Chiefs to be well-run for the next decade, as long as Reid wants to coach and Veach, his tireless mentee and a driving force behind the team’s selection of Mahomes, is picking players.
“It doesn’t hurt to have the best player in the NFL,” Veach said with a chuckle. “I mean, he’s special. It’s what he does. It’s what’s expected now. He took a lot of shots early on [Sunday], but he’s resilient, tough, talented. Again, makes everyone around him better. That’s kind of who he is.”
What’s more, the fruitful Reid-Mahomes partnership appears to be just getting started.
“The beautiful thing about [Andy] is, tomorrow, we’ll start building for next year, because that’s the way he rolls,” head athletic trainer Rick Burkholder, a longtime confidant of Reid’s, told Yahoo Sports.
So everyone wants to be a part of it going forward, including Jones, a pending free agent who has a massive payday looming. The Chiefs want him back, but the two sides were unable to reach an agreement on an extension last offseason, and Jones’ price tag has only grown since then.
Jones will get the monster contract he deserves from someone this spring. But in the wake of Sunday’s thrilling, Brady-esque comeback win, Jones made it clear that he hopes he gets it from Kansas City.
“I plan to stay in Kansas City for f-----g ever,” Jones told Yahoo Sports. “We building a f-----g dynasty over here. Sack nation.”
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