It’s been nearly two weeks since Patrick Mahomes orchestrated a third straight playoff comeback victory from at least 10 points down, a first in NFL history. The final one was on the biggest stage as the Kansas City Chiefs won their first Super Bowl in a half century with 140 million people watching on TV.
“It’s been a whirlwind,” Mahomes told Forbes via phone before jumping on a plane to take in NBA All-Star Weekend in Chicago. He highlights the memories of celebrating with teammates and family at the team’s Miami hotel the night of the Super Bowl and then at parades in Kansas City and Disney World; the day after Super Bowl trip to Disney is an NFL tradition for the game’s MVP since 1987.
The Disney trip was literally a dream come true for Mahomes, who seven years earlier as a 17-year-old high school quarterback had tweeted: “I bet it feels amazing to be the quarterback who says “’I’m going to Disney World’” after winning the Super Bowl.”
Mahomes says he had more than 400 texts when he finally looked at his phone after the Super Bowl win, and it took a week to return everyone’s messages. Retired NFL royalty Peyton Manning, Brett Favre and Troy Polamalu all reached out to offer congratulations and pay their respects to the new face of the NFL.
At 24, Mahomes has racked up a staggering resume in only three years as a pro. He was the youngest quarterback to win the league’s MVP award, a record broken last month by Lamar Jackson. He’s the second-youngest QB to win a Super Bowl after Ben Roethlisberger. The Chiefs are the betting favorites to repeat in next year’s Super Bowl.
Companies have flocked to Mahomes to pitch their products. He’s endorsed Adidas, Oakley, DirecTV, State Farm, Hunt’s ketchup, Hy-Vee grocery stores and more. His jersey and other licensed merchandise were the NFL’s top seller in 2019. He has a merchandise deal with Fanatics that marketed $650 Mahomes-signed Super Bowl LIV balls.
Mahomes often talks about the importance of having family around and keeping the focus on football. So not surprisingly, he points to Airshare as one of his core endorsement partners. The fractional private jet company signed Mahomes to a deal his rookie year. It allows his family to travel to Kansas City for every home game, and helps Mahomes fulfill his corporate responsibilities and still get back to KC for his regular workouts.
Mahomes knows he’s in an enviable position. “Football is first, but I want to maximize the opportunities I have and keep building my brand,” says the QB. Mahomes wants his brand to convey how relatable he is, saying “I’ve been the same person since I was in third grade. I want anyone to feel like they can approach me.” Mahomes says when he was around his dad, who pitched in the big leagues for 11 years, he was always drawn to his dad’s teammates who he felt were relatable.
Mahomes says his goals include more winning, more Super Bowls and the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year award. It is a prestigious honor in NFL circles that rewards a player’s charity work and performance on the field.
Being a star NFL QB presents almost endless possibilities. Tom Brady has his TB12 line of products that includes supplements, apparel, accessories and training. Aaron Rodgers partnered with Roth Capital last year to launch a $50 million venture capital fund. Mahomes says he wants to take it slow and “gain more knowledge” about expanded business opportunities.
Mahomes says he has dabbled with some investments like an app called Earbuds, which was created by former NFL player Jason Fox and allows people to listen to songs and playlists at the same time as friends, athletes and celebrities.
Mahomes is likely to see his biggest return on investment on himself. His contract for 2020 with the Chiefs is $735,000, a pittance in the NFL where 16 QBs have average salaries north of $20 million. The Chiefs hold an option for 2021 if a new deal is not reached. Mahomes is likely to shatter the records for average salary (Russell Wilson, $35 million) and total value (Matt Ryan, $200 million). A deal worth $200 million is a real possibility. The question is when.
“I understand the position I’m in. I have a great team and organization around me. I’ll focus on doing my part on the field. Whenever the deal needs to get done, it will get done,” says Mahomes, deflecting a question that will follow him until a deal is signed. “I’m focused on football and winning as many championships as possible in Kansas City.”