KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Patrick Mahomes was in the locker room and dealing with the abrupt ending of the Kansas City Chiefs' season after their 2018 AFC Championship Game overtime loss to Tom Brady and the New England Patriots when in walked a visitor.
It was Brady, who before he left to begin preparations for the Super Bowl wanted to provide some encouragement for his younger adversary, then in his first season as an NFL starting quarterback.
Mahomes said Monday that Brady's visit and encouragement meant a lot to him.
"It was important because it showed I was doing things the right way,'' Mahomes said as he and the Chiefs continued preparation for Sunday's Super Bowl LV against Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. "As a young quarterback in this league, you show up early and you try to put in the time and put in the work. ... Him saying that he respected what I was doing and how I was playing on the field and the type of person I was, it kind of put a stamp on me that I needed to go in and even be better in order to get to the Super Bowl.''
The next season, the Chiefs would reach the Super Bowl for the first time in 50 years. There, they beat the San Francisco 49ers.
Mahomes on Sunday will try to do something Brady did earlier in his career, which is win back-to-back championships. He'll have to go through Brady, who has a quarterback-record six Super Bowl titles, all with the Patriots.
"He's the same way I am," Mahomes said. "He's going to leave everything he has on the field every single time he's out there. He doesn't care what it takes. He doesn't care if he has to throw for 400 yards or if he has to throw for 100 yards. He wants to win. I feel like I have the same mentality. I just want to win no matter what happens or how it happens."
Mahomes, 25, grew up watching the 43-year-old Brady win those championships with the Patriots. Mahomes said there's much to admire about Brady's game in addition to his success.
"There's a ton," Mahomes said when asked what talents Brady has that he would like to put into his own game. "The way he's able to dissect defenses before the snap is something I truly admire. I'm trying to get to that level. The way he's able to move within the pocket and be able to reset his feet and be completely calm and still make the throw right on the money no matter who's around him is something I can continue to work on. As I continue in my career, I'm just going to try to do whatever I can to watch the tape on him because he's doing it the right way. You can tell by how many Super Bowl championships he has and the rings on his fingers."
Mahomes would close the gap between himself and Brady in terms to Super Bowl titles to four with a Chiefs victory on Sunday. He should get the chance to win more. He said he would like to play as long as Brady, who began his NFL career with the Patriots in 2000.
"I want to play as long as they let me,'' he said. "In order to do that, I have to take care of my body as much as I take care of everything else on the field. If you want to play this sport for a long time, how physical as it is, you have to invest as much time into your body as you do anything else. I've learned more and more in my young career so far about what I can do to keep myself available and healthy and try to be in the best nutritional state I can be in. I feel like I can be better."