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Patrick Mahomes has made Kansas City the NFL’s pop culture hub



The league’s preeminent dynasties of the past 60 years have typically been stationed in major metropolitan areas consisting of Dallas, San Francisco, Washington, Miami, Boston, as well as the six states that represent New England. Pittsburgh’s run in the 1970’s was the rare exception.

However, Terry Bradshaw wasn’t a signal caller of Patrick Mahomes’ ilk and didn’t play out his prime in this modern media environment. You’d have to be a conspiratorial nut to believe the NFL scripted for the Paris of the Plains to be their hub of activity instead of the cities housing the Cowboys, Dolphins, Rams or Jets or Giants. Kansas City is one of the NFL’s smallest media markets and their most well-known fan last year was a fugitive known for wearing a wolf costume and robbing banks to fund his Chiefs fandom.

The only athlete approaching the recently retired Tom Brady’s hallowed status is Mahomes. In an increasingly siloed culture, Mahomes has put Kansas City at the epicenter of the sports monoculture and even transcended borders. Travis Kelce and Taylor Swift elevated the Chiefs into an even higher stratosphere, but he wouldn’t have had the clout to gain the attention of a Grammy linchpin if his quarterback had been Alex Smith.

Mahomes’ pursuit of Brady is about to cannibalize the NFL discourse for the next decade. Despite the need to put one down at the expense of the other, they are equal talent-wise, but they made history in their own respective fashions. Mahomes is Michael Jordan in the clutch, but Michael Jackson behind the line of scrimmage to Brady’s Paul McCartney. Mahomes is a multi-talented prodigy who launches CGI passes at absurd angles and moonwalks around pass rushes with some of the most creative footwork we’ve ever seen from the quarterback position.

Brady gets demerits for his inability to create alchemy on the run. He can’t tap dance like Mahomes, but his success was akin to one the most prolific singers, technically proficient songwriters and composers of all time. McCartney and Brady put out banger after banger, but Mahomes just moves differently. Fortunately, we’re still creeping up on a likely future in which Brady is in the uncomfortable position of providing color commentary for Super Bowls while Mahomes erases their championship disparity. Don’t bother comparing them or their spheres of influence, though. Brady shared Massachusetts with Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Manny Ramirez, David Ortiz, Patrice Bergeron, Ben Affleck and Matt Damon. Kansas City is a Mahomes’ fiefdom.

Mahomes and Travis Kelce’s third Super Bowl in Kansas City is the equivalent of if LeBron James had won three titles in Cleveland instead of taking his talents to tropical South Beach. At least the average American knows where Cleveland is. Only four short years ago, Donald Trump congratulated Kansas after the Chiefs first Super Bowl.

Without Mahomes to Kelce igniting three Super Bowl runs, we don’t get indelible images like Jason Kelce gently introducing himself to Ice Spice before he got too plastered to remember her name. Now that the Chiefs are chasing a third consecutive title, they’re cultural footprint will only expand.

The downstream effect of attracting all this attention and opportunities outside football brings the possibility of inflated egos and wandering focus. At least that’s what the rest of the league has to hope is what derails Kansas City.

Before the Super Bowl, Kelce confirmed that he’s pursuing comedic roles on the silver screen.. That sounds all good and well until he’s pulling a Jim Brown and showing up late for training camp to complete reshoots for David AyersDirty Dozens remake while reminding the Hunt family that he’s underpaid relative to his positional value.

How long will it be until the Mahomes’ are represented by CAA and Brittany is co-hosting The View alongside Ayesha Curry? Every dynasty needs a diva corner such as L’Jarius Sneed or Trent McDuffie. Andy Reid needs to embrace a keto diet, grease his hair, shave the ‘stache and stamp his name on a ghostwritten book on leadership and Chief Culture.

Now that they’re officially a dynasty, the celebrity bandwagon is bound to expand beyond Swifties. All those St. Louis celebs abandoned by the Rams are football fandom free agents in search of a franchise to latch onto. History tells us that Kansas City International Airport should be inundated with private jets every Sunday next season. Arrowhead ticket prices will continue soaring until even Paul Rudd is priced out.

All eyes will be on Kansas City and Mahomes for the foreseeable future. The Chiefs have become the NFL’s marquee franchise of the decade and they’re taking Missouri on the ride with them for better or worse.

Find DJ Dunson on X…or don’t: @cerebralsportex

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