The endorsements and sponsorship offers have rolled in for Patrick Mahomes since his NFL MVP season. Bottled water, sunglasses, cereal and a supermarket chain are just some of the partnerships announced over the past few weeks.
Then there is the celebrity status. Mahomes was popular before he ever took a snap for the Chiefs, but a 50 touchdown, 5,097 passing yard season that advanced the team to the AFC championship Game has taken his fame to another level.
The roars from fans at the Final Four last week in Minneapolis, where Mahomes cheered for his college, Texas Tech, were among the loudest — if not the loudest — of any notable who appeared on the big screen inside the stadium.
“I’ve never been around a guy with that much stardom everywhere he goes,” said tight end Travis Kelce, who attended the Final Four with Mahomes. “He’s laid back and appreciates the opportunities to meet everyone. It’s just fun to see him in that environment.”
This is Mahomes’ new reality, and he’s embraced this part of his life in ways that are unabashed — see him flex for the cameras at the Final Four — and, at the same time, measured.
“It’s cool to get to go around and meet a lot of great people and align myself with great organizations and partners that understood that football was the first thing,” Mahomes said.
Shaping Mahomes’ brand has been the work of his agents, Leigh Steinberg and partner Chris Cabott of Steinberg Sports, and the Chiefs. They’ve consulted with Mahomes to identify products and causes that work for him.
“I’ve surrounded myself with a lot of great people in my agency and in this facility and we know what kind of person I want to be seen as, the kind of person I actually am,” Mahomes said. “I want to make sure I align myself with the people that are on the same page.
“It’s a great match. We’re all together and we all have the same vision.”
Mahomes said he has received sound advice about the business and branding side of his career from his father, Pat Mahomes, whose career as a major-league pitcher lasted 11 years, and his godfather, LaTroy Hawkins, a 21-year major-league pitcher.
Also, Mahomes enjoyed a discussion with Jacksonville Jaguars defensive star Calais Campbell at the Pro Bowl earlier this year. Campbell has started a foundation in Jacksonville that focuses on teaching young people life skills.
“We had a great conversation about how he built his career and his business,” Mahomes said.
Football has returned in an organized way for Mahomes and the Chiefs. Monday was the first phase of organized team activities, with players arriving to the Chiefs’ training facility to begin conditioning, film study and informal workouts without coaching supervision.
Mahomes, coming off the greatest season statistically by a quarterback in Chiefs history, has been ready to get started. His season ended one game short of the Super Bowl goal, when the Chiefs fell to the Patriots in overtime.
“I was itching the day after the AFC Championship Game to get back to football,” Mahomes said. “I kind of watched the (Super Bowl), but at the same time I couldn’t watch it because I was so disappointed we weren’t there.”