The cult of Patrick Mahomes II continues to grow, and as the NFL MVP candidate prepares to embark on his debut playoff run with the Kansas City Chiefs, there’s renewed attention on his exploits, both current and former.
About the latter category: It turns out Mahomes has been phenomenal at throwing a football for quite some time. In fact, he’s been exhibiting fairly preposterous feats of arm strength since he was a teenager.
As chronicled by The Ringer’s Kevin Clark, Mahomes grew up in an environment where he was constantly building arm strength and figuring out what to do with it. The son of former MLB reliever Pat Mahomes, the younger Patrick began “chucking the ball around” at age 5. His father assumed his son would follow in his footsteps into baseball, and began a regimen of long toss when Mahomes II was still in elementary school. By age 10, he could throw a baseball from home plate over an outfield fence.
As he transitioned into a high school quarterback, Mahomes II brought over his baseball routine, which had expanded in concert with his arm strength. That led to some humorous unintentional consequences when he would head out to a field early to begin the process of loosening up his arm.
“If you’re going to do the normal high school warm-up thing, which is split the field, one team is on one side, you’re on the other, that is not going to be enough room for Patrick Mahomes,” Adam Cook, the Whitehouse (Texas) High School coach who had Mahomes for four years, told The Ringer. “(Hitting someone) wasn’t intentional. He’s just warming up, but he’s going to throw into you because he’s throwing it as long as he can throw it.”
Often, the player hit was the punter … of the opposing team. In fact, Mahomes II frequently threw the ball so far the Whitehouse coaches had to develop a multi-person relay system to retrieve his balls so he could throw them 50+ yards again.
All of that speaks to Mahomes’ arm strength. As for his improvisational brilliance, that may have more to do with his own insatiable desire to test his own limits, a factor dating back to his high school career when opposing defenses — and his own team’s in practice — just couldn’t challenge him. In practices he would insist on hitting particular corners of practice nets (while most players just aim to get the ball in the net at all). In games, particularly in spring 7-on-7 competitions, Mahomes II looked for a way to make things more difficult. That led to tighter-than-necessary throwing windows and plays of the more acrobatic variety.
“Impressed is kind of a big word for me. Patrick has been doing the same thing since he started playing quarterback—sidearm passes, no-look, jumping in air,” Pat Mahomes Sr. told The Ringer. “And that’s pretty impressive, but nothing surprises me.”
Mahomes II met many more of those adverse situations in the NFL. So far, he’s been able to ad lib and power his way past just about all of them. For that, he can thank his nontraditional, baseball-borne training regimen, his impeccable genetics for arm strength and a mind that he has convinced to see opportunity where others see only risk.