Baker Mayfield and Patrick Mahomes go back several years, long before their epic Big-12 shootout that combined for 125 points and set the NCAA record for combined offensive yards with 1,708 in 2016. Mahomes knew of Mayfield since his senior year at high school in Texas, even though Whitehouse High School (where Mahomes went) and Lake Travis High School (where Mayfield went) were four hours away.
Mayfield bested Mahomes in that Big-12 thriller five years ago, one which Mayfield threw for 545 yards and seven touchdowns while Mahomes had 734 yards and five touchdowns. The future No. 1 overall pick came away impressed with how well Mahomes played in the loss, and how good the Kansas City Chiefs quarterback has been since.
Why is Mahomes the best quarterback in the NFL? Mayfield understands the reigning MVP is the complete package.
"For starters, you could go into the physical attributes that Pat has – he has everything you could possibly want," Mayfield told reporters this week. "His arm strength is unbelievable, but just the different arm angles and things he is able to do – I know people talk about his no-look passes and all of that – but to be able to change his arm angle, you can see why he was such an incredible athlete in baseball and basketball, as well.
"He is just able to do things that a lot of quarterbacks can't do. He sat out pretty much the whole first rookie year and just took everything in. Patrick is extremely smart, intelligent picking up that system. You can just tell guys want to play for Patrick, but when he is on top of his game like he is mentally, that pushes those guys even more."
.@PatrickMahomes and @bakermayfield are facing off on the field and with their favorite music 🎶— CBS Sports HQ (@CBSSportsHQ) January 15, 2021
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Mahomes has been incredible over the past three years, throwing for 13,868 yards with 114 touchdowns to just 23 interceptions (109.8 passer rating) -- as the Chiefs have gone 37-8 in his 45 starts. Mahomes has the most passing yards, passing touchdowns, pass completions, fewest interceptions, and highest passer rating in NFL history through 46 starts. He also has the highest passer rating in NFL postseason history as the Chiefs have averaged 35.8 points per game in the postseason, and have never scored lower than 31 points in any of Mahomes' starts.
Mahomes is just as excited to face Mayfield, hoping to get the better of him this time around.
"Obviously, it's cool to get to play against him in such a big game, in the playoffs and stuff like that. Known him for a long time since I was a senior in high school and to be able to play on this stage is going to be special," Mahomes said to reporters this week. "I mean, he went to Oklahoma, I went to Texas Tech, so he got the better of me in college, so I'll try to do my best to win in the NFL."