Super Bowl MVP Mahomes, WVU and lessons learned

Super Bowl MVP Mahomes, WVU and lessons learned

I love a good epiphany.

And since moving to Wheelhouse Creative, the state’s most creative marketing and advertising agency, I’ve had many – about the field, about life outside sports journalism.

Like one experienced in regard to businesses with good products. I’ve seen so many companies with great products or services unrecognized or misunderstood. Businesses that can – and do – go under simply because they don’t take that next step and get their message out.

Think it can’t happen to you?

Check out the Super Bowl Most Valuable Player, Patrick Mahomes.

Unrecognized and under-appreciated as a college football player? The man never finished in the top 10 among Heisman Trophy candidates. He finished his career at Texas Tech of the Big 12 with a 16-21 record.

Oh, and going against the Mountain State’s beloved WVU football team? 0-2.

Not only that, his Red Raider teams lost twice to Mountaineer teams quarterbacked by Skyler Howard. On Nov. 7, 2015, Wendell Smallwood and Rushel Shell both had over 110 yards rushing in a 31-26 WVU win. Mahomes was held to a season-low 196 passing yards, although he rushed for 73.

Hell, Howard was FLEXING in the back of the end zone against Mahomes after following Shell into the end zone for a 2-yard deciding score. “I’m a ballplayer and always will be,” Howard said after.

Then, on Oct. 15, 2016, WVU crushed Mahomes’ Red Raiders by 48-17. Howard went off, completing 21-of-31 passes for 318 yards.

Then-Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury said his team’s performance was embarrassing.

“It’s the worst I’ve seen since I’ve been associated with Texas Tech,” he said. “We seemed intimidated and they took it.” Mahomes was harassed and threw for 305 yards, his second-lowest passing total of the season. He was replaced in the fourth quarter by Nic Shimonek.

Let that sink in.

He was replaced by Nic Shimonek.

I will pause here, however, to give ex-WVU coach Dana Holgorsen at least a dash of credit. He said this of Mahomes: “You can tell he’s not quite 100 percent right now. But the way he keeps it alive, I’ve never seen anything like it. He keeps his eyes down field, makes any throw that you want him to. I mean, he’s a fantastic player.”

It’s just that few knew. Certainly not yours truly. I found this little nugget from Nov. 5, 2015. One in which I broke down the upcoming Tech-WVU game. One in which I examined the Tech pass offense versus the WVU pass defense.

“One could make an argument Tech QB Patrick Mahomes is almost as good as TCU’s Trevone Boykin,” I wrote. “Boykin is No. 2 nationally in total offense and Mahomes is No. 3. In passing yards a game, Mahomes is ahead at No. 3, averaging 370.1 yards. Mahomes just isn’t as efficient.”

Nah. Not at all. (Boykin, by the way, was an undrafted free agent in 2016 who actually signed with Seattle and was Russell Wilson’s backup for a season before domestic violence issues snuffed his career.)

More? Mahomes was SECOND-team All-Big 12. Yet he led the FBS with 5,052 passing yards. He had 53 touchdowns.

He once had 819 total yards and 734 passing yards AGAINST OKLAHOMA, which are both still NCAA records.

Yet the only college award I could find he won was the Sammy Baugh Trophy.

And as the 2017 draft rolled around, there were doubters like, well, Kyle Shanahan, the coach of the San Francisco 49ers, which were just whipped by Mahomes. Before the Super Bowl, Shanahan said the QB wasn’t considered an option with the No. 2 overall pick. (“Did not feel like from all the intel that you get and stuff that he was gonna go that high,” said the coach.)

Luckily for Mahomes, Kansas City did take the Red Raider – after, though, Myles Garrett, Mitch Trubisky, Solomon Thomas, Leonard Fournette, Corey Davis, Jamal Adams, Mike Williams, Christian McCaffrey and John Ross were taken.

The point is, Mahomes was caught up in the weeds of college football, the clutter of the uninformed. Luckily for him, he was spotted by just the right organization at the right time.

If you own a business, however, can you simply hope you’re spotted?

Or is it time to have an epiphany – and take the next step by getting your word out, by marketing your company?

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Mitch Vingle covered sports in West Virginia for 38 years. Follow Mitch on Twitter at @MitchVingle and be sure to check out the rest of Wheelhouse Creative’s website for your marketing and advertising needs. If interested, call us at 304-905-6005.





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