The Legend of Mayfield and Mahomes
Long before Mahomes made headlines when the chiefs traded up in the draft to get him, and long before Mayfield was drafted 1st overall by the Cleveland Browns, their paths became intertwined in a rather unorthodox way.
First and foremost, they are both young QB’s from central Texas. This alone bodes well for their pro potential, as Texas leads the nation in QB’s currently playing in the NFL. Amongst the elites are Drew Brees, Andrew Luck, Mathew Stafford, Derek Carr, Andy Dalton, Nick Foles, and many more. Mayfield reigns from Lake Travis in Austin. Mahomes from Whitehouse near Tyler. This would be only the first of multiple similarities that would occur between their two respective careers.
Mayfield began his college career as a walk on at Texas Tech University. He earned the starting job as a true freshman after an injury to the projected starter. He had a great start to his career, before injury and “miscommunication with coaches” sidelined him. In his absence, fellow true freshman Davis Webb stepped in and Mayfield announced he would leave the program after the 2013 season. Issues between Mayfield and the Texas Tech coaching staff influenced this decision.
In January, 2014, Mayfield enrolled at Oklahoma University as a walk-on. Bob Stoops announced his arrival to the team in February, despite the fact that he was not eligible to play until the 2015 season.
During the 2014 season, back in Lubbock, Patrick Mahomes had just arrived to Texas Tech as a freshman, and sat behind Davis Webb. After injury to Webb, Mahomes got his first start against Texas, and remained the starter for the rest of the season. He began his sophomore year as the starter. During his 2015 season, Mahomes had 4,600+ yards and 36 touchdowns.
Back in Norman, in August of 2015, Baker Mayfield was named the starting QB for the Sooners after a tough competition with Trevor Knight. He went on to lead the Sooners to the 2015 College Football Playoff, and finished fourth in the Heisman voting. A year later, in December of 2016, after a prolific scoring clinic was put on by the Oklahoma offense, both Mayfield and his primary target Dede Westbrook were named as finalists for the Heisman trophy. The Sooners were slotted to play in the 2017 Sugar Bowl and were victorious against Auburn.
Not to be outdone by his fellow competitor, Mahomes had himself a great 2016 season as well. He finished his magnificent campaign by eclipsing 5,000 passing yards and scoring 53 total touchdowns on the year. His highlight of the season, strangely enough, came during his contest with none other than Baker Mayfield and the Oklahoma Sooners. During the game, he tied the NCAA single-game passing yards record of 734 passing yards, and set a new NCAA record for most total passing yards in a game by two players (other was Mayfield). After the season, Mahomes announced he would enter the 2017 NFL draft. He would later be taken 10th overall by the Kansas City Chiefs, and stashed behind Alex Smith for his rookie season.
During the 2017 season, Mayfield took off and set the nation on fire. He made a name for himself when he planted an Oklahoma flag in the middle of the “O” after beating Ohio State in Columbus in week three. Mayfield capped his 2017 season with a Big 12 championship victory against TCU, and a trip to the 2017 College Football Playoff against Georgia.
Mayfield was awarded the 2017 Heisman trophy, becoming the first walk-on player to accomplish this. After entering the draft, he was selected first overall by the Cleveland Browns, becoming the first walk-on player to go first overall in the NFL draft as well. This was immediately criticized by almost everyone, as Sam Darnold had been detailed as the most pro-ready QB available, and the Browns were expected to take the “sure thing” given their current and past QB situation. GM John Dorsey does what he wants. He wanted Baker Mayfield, and that was that
Right around the time Mayfield was making waves and winning awards at the collegiate level, Mahomes’ name was starting to cause a stir in the NFL. Everyone knew he had the physical traits to last in the league, but some still questioned his ability to run the offense.
Mahomes got his first start late in the 2017 season when the Chiefs rested Alex Smith for the playoffs. He played well, but didn’t really have a breakout performance. It wasn’t until two weeks ago, week one of the 2018 regular season, that he showed us all what he could do.
Mahomes has since thrown for 582 yards and 10 touchdowns in their first two games of the 2018 season, setting the Chiefs up at 2-0, and silencing any critics to his name. If he can continue to play at near his current pace, Kansas City will be looking good going forward, and the rest of the AFC should look out.
Two weeks into the 2018 season, and Mayfield had yet to see the field during the regular season. The Browns managed a 0-1-1 start through the first two games under starting quarterback Tyrod Taylor. Although it was believed that Mayfield could give the Browns offense an added element in the passing game, some questioned whether it was too early to play him or not. Given that fellow rookie QB’s Sam Darnold and Josh Allen have already been moved up to QB1, some have speculated that Mayfield might be given the nod sooner rather than later. As it turned out, they were right.
It would only take roughly two and half games into the regular season before fans at FirstEnergy Stadium began to boo the Browns stagnant offense, and scream the name of their coveted first overall draft pick. After most of the first half had passed, and only a couple minutes remained on the clock before halftime, Tyrod Taylor went down with a concussion, and on came Baker. You could hear the immediate reaction from the crowd, as they were finally getting to see their QB of the future in his first real action. He did not disappoint.
Mayfield came into the game down 14-0, with an offense that had struggled mightily to this point, and without hesitation, took over the game. His first two passes seemed effortless, and had been exactly what the team was lacking. They went into the half down 14-3, and came out firing. Mayfield led the Browns on three second-half scoring drives, including a re-enactment of the “Philly Special”(most previously seen in Super Bowl LII) on a 2-point conversion attempt to tie the game at 14-14. They scored again on a short burst by Carlos Hyde, whose two touchdowns of the night helped push the Browns in front. The Jets would only go on to score three more points, and the Cleveland Browns got their first win, 21-17, in 635 days.
Not only did the offense have a completely different attitude under Mayfield, but paired with that already nasty and youthfully explosive defense, they could give a lot of teams trouble. His surrounding teammates were clearly energized by his confident approach and “production only” mindset.
These two players took different roads to reach where they are, and despite their difference in play style, they both have a good chance to succeed in the NFL. If I had to put my money on it, I would say they are both on their way to being top 10 QB’s in the league.
Their collaborative story writes a new chapter on Nov. 4th when the Browns take on the Chiefs in Cleveland. If previous showings are a correct indicator, these two could put on an offensive clinic. Whether it’s competitive nature, or mutual respect, these two always seem to bring the best out of one another.
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