One year as a starter was all Patrick Mahomes needed to turn into a superstar and thrust himself into the conversation for the best quarterback in the NFL. It also landed him one of the biggest honors in football—the cover of the newest installment of the Madden video game franchise.
Mahomes isn’t just on the cover, though. He’s also a big time gamer, not hesitant to boast about which games he’s able to beat every teammate at. SI.com spoke with the stud quarterback about his cover appearance, a new Madden game mode he helped develop, his favorite games growing up and more.
(Interview has been lightly edited for clarity.)
Dan Gartland: I’m going to start off with something that might be a bit of a sore subject. Do you know what your Madden rating was last year?
Patrick Mahomes: 76. It was very disappointing because I was 78 as rookie and then I got the starting job and lost two points.
DG: I had a feeling you might remember that. So I guess it makes being on the cover even that much sweeter.
PM: It is crazy. You’re going all the way from 76 to hopefully 100 this year. I’m trying to make that historic rise.
DG: Josh Johnson said last year that he used Maddento learn his teammates’ names. How much Madden do guys in the league really play?
PM: Oh, yeah. There’s a ton of guys in the league that play. Even on the Chiefs, when the last Madden came out, we started an ultimate franchise mode. We had 32 different guys playing with 32 different teams. I only made it until the season started and then I got a little busy, but it was a cool thing. And I definitely had the Chiefs.
DG: I assume you were a video game fan growing up. Be honest, did you prefer NCAA or Madden?
PM: I went back and forth, honestly. I was a big NCAA fan but I was better at Madden when I was growing up. I was a thing where NCAA was kind of a trendy thing at some points, and then it was Madden that we were all-in on at some points.
DG: You mentioned playing games with your teammates. Is there a game you think you could beat anybody in the Chiefs locker room at?
PM: There’s a couple [laughs]. I would say Call of Duty and Apex Legends are the two that I’ll dominate the locker room in. I never was the best at Fortnite, but Apex and Call of Duty I’m definitely, definitely the best at.
DG: How were you involved in helping to develop the new career mode (“Face of the Franchise: QB1”) in this year’s game?
PM: It’s a thing where you’re getting to go to the college football playoffs, play your last college game. We have Texas Tech in there, which is big for me. Then you go in and get to do everything that an NFL quarterback would do going into the draft. You get to do the combine process and do the draft meetings with teams and go to the combine. You even get to go to your draft day and walk across the stage. Then you get to be the face of the franchise and try to change the franchise and win a Super Bowl.
DG: You decided not to go to the draft and walk across that stage. What goes into a decision like that?
PM: It’s honestly a really hard decision. When you go to the draft, it’s a once in a lifetime experience. You get to go out there, you get to walk on the stage. It’s going to be something that you remember forever. But at the same time, me being the kind of guy that I try to be, I want my family to enjoy this moment with me. You don’t get to invite as many people as I would have liked to invite. So I decided to stay home in Tyler, Texas, and rent out a restaurant and then have everyone that’s been with me from the beginning there with me to me to enjoy that moment. It was a special moment where I got to celebrate with a lot of people that I’ve known for a very long time that wouldn’t have been able to be there with me. It’s kind of up to your preference but both of those experiences are something that you’ll forever remember.