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Leaders Of Men

Patrick Mahomes speaking Mecole Hardman's bounce back into existence is another reason he's already the GOAT

January 26, 2021

In the opening quarter of the AFC Championship game, Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Mecole Hardman muffed a punt inside his own 10-yard line. It was a crucial early mistake that allowed the Buffalo Bills to quickly go up 9-0, hijacking all of the game's momentum in the process. 

Naturally, Hardman was inconsolable on the Chiefs sideline. Following the muff, he went to the bench, threw his helmet and placed a giant jacket over himself. That's when his quarterback, Patrick Mahomes, came over, pulled the jacket off of him and said "Look at me, look at me. We good, be you. You're going to make a play this game." 

Not only was this an incredible leadership moment, it proved to be prophetic. On the very next drive, Hardman scored a touchdown from three yards out to cut Buffalo's lead to 9-7. After forcing a Bills punt, the Chiefs started the next drive by giving the ball to Hardman on a reverse, which went for 50 yards and set up the KC offense on the Bills 32-yard line. They scored four plays later to go up 14-9. "Inside The NFL" picked up the Mahomes-Hardman exchange after the muff, and it's incredible to rewatch it all unfold: 

No, we didn't forget about Travis Kelce's words of encouragement, either. Both he and Mahomes assured Hardman he'd have an opportunity to make more plays, and that's exactly what happened. Even at their low points, this team knows the offense can flip the game on its head in a matter of a few plays. It's truly terrifying, and it's why they are back in the Super Bowl for a second straight year.