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  • Writer's pictureMelody Alexander

What Mahomes and Kelce show about being the greatest 'busts' in the NFL


Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce celebrate a Chiefs win over the Buffalo Bills on Sunday, Jan. 21.
Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce celebrate a Chiefs win over the Buffalo Bills on Sunday, Jan. 21. Photo courtsey Kansas City Chiefs.

I can’t imagine what it feels like to be Patrick Mahomes. Or Travis Kelce for that matter.

 

For much of the 2023 NFL season, Mahomes and Kelce have been the talk of the fantasy and football world, and not in a good way.

 

Fantasy folks talked all season about Mahomes and Kelce being complete failures for their teams, as is evidenced by this Yahoo Sports headline, Travis Kelce among the biggest fantasy football busts of 2023. Mahomes and Kelce were two of the top six “busts” in fantasy, they wrote. That’s a high percentage of Chiefs players!

 

People criticized the duo for everything from being in too many commercials to Kelce dating Taylor Swift. They were called “grand disappointments” and people have asked, “What’s wrong with the Chiefs?



Travis Kelce made a heart gesture toward Taylor Swift's direction after scoring a touchdown against the Buffalo Bills.
Travis Kelce made a heart gesture toward Taylor Swift's direction after scoring a touchdown against the Buffalo Bills. Photo courtesy Kansas City Chiefs.

 

But when the play really matters — during the playoffs — Mahomes and Kelce delivered in typical Mahomes and Kelce tradition. The duo now hold the record for most post-season touchdowns by a quarterback/receiver combo, passing the indomitable Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski. 


Mahomes also holds inconceivable records for such a young quarterback. He’s appeared in every AFC championship game in his six years as an NFL starter. And his record playing in 16 post-season games in his career currently sits at 13 wins, 3 losses, two of which were to Tom Brady.

 

Mahomes is quite literally competing for the G.O.A.T. title, and people continue to discount him time and time — and time — again. It’s mind boggling.

 

I have no doubt I’m biased because I live in the Kansas City area. However, as someone who struggles with imposter syndrome, I can’t help but grapple with this information. I constantly am overwhelmed by beliefs that I’m a fraud. Despite any successes I’ve had in my life — professionally, personally, athletically — I believe I’m a failure. And then a couple of years ago, my husband looked at me and said, “Do you know that your outlook would be like Tom Brady walking into a Super Bowl, wondering if he’s good enough to be there?”

 

It took him telling me he sees me as Tom Brady — and me realizing he’s my Gronk — to wake up a bit. But it’s still something I struggle with daily.

 

Part of my imposter syndrome also comes from people who have discounted me in the past. There have been people who have told me in the past that I’m essentially a grand disappointment or “one of the biggest insert-something-I’ve-done-in-my-past busts” they’ve seen.


And here we are, watching in real time, as Mahomes completely ignores the people calling him a failure while racking up more wins.



One of the big wake-up calls in this post-season, at least for me, is the reminder that your own successes should be based upon your own goals, not what others hope you’ll deliver. And beyond that, people defining their own successes based upon yours, and even being angry that you aren’t succeeding enough for their needs, is concerning.

 

I played roller derby in Kansas City for several years (more on that later…), and one of the things we often discussed was knowing just how far to push ourselves. When you’re skating on eight wheels and taking hits, you’re going to fall. I learned quickly that if you’re not falling, you’re not pushing yourself hard enough. And when you fall, you learn where that limit is and where the work needs to be done. Making mistakes and learning to grow from it is where greatness happens. There will be falls and drops. There will be moments of failure. But it’s how you move forward that defines what you’re truly capable of.


Patrick Mahomes celebrates the Kansas City Chiefs' win against the Buffalo Bills.
Patrick Mahomes celebrates the Kansas City Chiefs' win against the Buffalo Bills. Photo courtesy Kansas City Chiefs.


For Mahomes and Kelce to hold incredible records today after having what others considered failures throughout the rest of the season just shows how successful they are. For all of Kelce’s drops, was he really pushing his limits to see where he could grow? For Mahomes to have career lows in yards-per-game and yards-per-completion, was he learning along the way? When the playoffs hit, they played beautifully. And that’s where it mattered.

 

In roller derby, if I didn’t take hits, it meant I wasn’t worth the effort. We have to take the hits, experience the falls and drops, to grow.

 

The more I think about it, I can imagine what it feels like to be Patrick Mahomes. You can be a G.O.A.T. and people still won’t think it’s enough. And there’s nothing wrong with that — as long as we don’t let their disbelief become our own.



 

Speaking of a Chiefs win...


And not being an imposter... We're excited about a partnership that's helps us grow our own business. STATSdraft is celebrating the team's victory with a giveaway! Download the app and follow us on social media: Facebook or Instagram. While you're there, tell us your favorite NFL stat, and tag a friend for a chance to win this unisex sweatshirt from Homage



Remember, it’s not too late to create a playoff league! Get your fantasy friends together to play during the last few games! sizes XS-3X (need a bigger size? we’ll find you a sweatshirt that works!) U.S. only. Winner will be picked on Friday, Jan. 26.



 

Download and start playing STATSdraft today.




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