Patrick Mahomes is a once-in-a-generation talent, a player with a skill-set so unique that coaches and analysts struggle to find accurate comparisons.
His nickname, though, doesn’t have the same gravitas.
“I like Showtime,” Mahomes told Chiefs team reporter BJ Kissel during the final preseason game. “It’s what I had growing up, so we’ll stick with that one.”
Showtime feels too blah. Too easy.
And it’s been done before: by Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s Lakers and by Lions WR Golden Tate, just to name a few.
In a Wikipedia entry for “Showtime,” in fact, there’s an entire subhead of sports-persons with the nickname.
Mahomes isn’t listed.
Tate took issue with the nickname back in August, and after the Chiefs’ first prime-time appearance in Denver, so did many on social media. With Mahomes playing in prime-time again, the nickname debate is sure to be reignited Sunday.
Even former NFL coach and Sunday Night Football analyst Tony Dungy isn’t the biggest fan.
“I’m not a big nickname guy,” he said. “What I’ve been more impressed with Patrick is as a young player, who only had one start before, being able to process everything in this offense. The numbers, the volume of stuff that they do is just unbelievable to me for basically a rookie, a second-year player.
“I think he’s been phenomenal with the mental aspect of the game. I think Showtime doesn’t do all the justice to how good this young man is mentally.”
But Dungy’s SNF teammate Cris Collinsworth doesn’t mind it.
“When I think of “Showtime,” I think of the Lakers and 94-point basketball game and flying up and down the field,” Collinsworth said. “I think it’s a little bit justified.”
Around Arrowhead, Mahomes’ nickname is much more well-received.
A giant Showtime sign illuminated in Christmas lights greeted fans as they pulled into one of the stadium parking lots last week.
And to Mahomes’ teammates, the Showtime moniker fits pretty well.
“I think it fits him,” wide receiver Sammy Watkins said. “During practice he might look normal and chill and kind of just calm and then in the game, he’s a showtime guy, go out there throwing two and three touchdowns and being a leader. That’s what we look forward to.”
Added punter Dustin Colquitt, “(If) Showtime ends up being the name, I think it’s fitting. He really enjoys just giving guys the ball, extending plays with his legs, obviously. When you can make all the plays like that, it’s fun to watch. It’s very much Showtime.”
But just because Mahomes has an official nickname doesn’t mean his teammates (and coaches) haven’t given him a few others.
“I’m going to stick with Coach (Andy Reid): Froggy,” Watkins said. “I think that fits him. His voice. I’m going to stick with that name.”
Practice squad quarterback Chase Litton and wide receiver De’Anthony Thomas gave Mahomes another one: Patty Melt.
“We were joking around one time — he was talking in the huddle and De’Anthony said it and I just took it and ran with it,” Litton said. “I’ll give the credit to him.
“Probably not his favorite. Probably not his favorite. But who cares, it’s funny.”
Other teammates have given him other nicknames, like Patty Cakes and St. Patty.
And it’s no wonder there’s so many nicknames out there. Back in May, Mahomes sent a Tweet asking for one.
With at least five nationally televised prime-time games left on the schedule, don’t expect the debate around his nickname(s) to slow down anytime soon.