PHOENIX — It was 10 p.m. EDT when the brightest star in the biggest show drew the biggest crowd around his podium and the biggest cheers from red-clad Chiefs fans in the stands on Super Bowl Opening Night.
Patrick Mahomes, the Michael Jordan of his sport even with only one ring, acted like he had been there before, because he had, once for Super Bowl LIV, when he won, and once for Super Bowl LV, when he lost.
But will the high right ankle sprain he fought through and fought off in the AFC Championship game hamper and hinder him in Super Bowl 2023 against the Eagles?
His update for Chiefs Nation, and for the Eagles:
“It is great,” Mahomes said.
“It’s definitely better. You never know exactly until you get to the game obviously, but it’s definitely in a better position than it was at this time before the last game. We’ll keep pushing it but not doing too much ’cause you don’t want to have any setbacks, but I haven’t had any since the game at least.”
Mahomes will have had two weeks of treatment and rest since turning on the jets on the desperate third-down scramble that, with the help of an out-of-bounds personal foul against Joseph Ossai, positioned the game-winning field goal against the Bengals.
“I’m gonna push it,” Mahomes said. “I got a lot of great teammates around me and not try to do too much, but I’ll definitely be in a better spot than I was that game.”
He is well aware that his leg better be better against Eagles predators, who recorded 70 sacks during the regular season.
“We know it’s gonna be a challenge so I’ll work on throwing the ball away when I need to,” Mahomes said. “Get it out of my hands quick when I need to, and then when we need to trust the offensive line to block and we take some shots downfield, I’ll trust the offensive line to do that.”
Mahomes, like Jalen Hurts, said he is thrilled to be part of a historic first Super Bowl featuring two black quarterbacks. “It’s special,” he said.
Winning a Super Bowl is special. Losing a Super Bowl is especially bad.
“You never know if you’re going to have this opportunity again, so I want to have no regrets,” Mahomes said.
“That loss, it stings. That motivates you for years. That’s motivated me to get back to this game. I want to be sure I’m getting that winning feeling, not that losing feeling.”