Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes said on a preview of HBO's The Shop that he couldn't truly read defenses until "halfway through last year."
"I understood coverages but how to be able to pick up little tendencies defenses do, stuff that Brady and them have done, they know it, and they just do it," Mahomes said on the show. "I was just playing."
Mahomes won NFL MVP in 2018 and became just the first quarterback ever after Peyton Manning to throw for 5,000 yards and 50 touchdowns. And that was before he said he could wholeheartedly comprehend defensive schemes.
"This year I could actually recognize more and more stuff," Mahomes said. "The more experience and the more I learn then I'll be able to go out there and call plays and do all that different stuff because I've seen it. I still think there's a long way for me to go there."
In 2019, Mahomes threw for 4,031 yards and 26 touchdowns and won the Super Bowl with three-straight playoff double-digit comebacks.
"I think mentally I can get a lot better," Mahomes said. "Physically, I've done a lot of stuff, I always work on my fundamentals. But mentally, I can still take my game to a whole other level."
Mahomes also spoke about embracing his role and the importance of being a prominent black quarterback in the NFL.
"I didn't feel any added pressure until this year. I don't know what it was about this year. It could've been Lamar and DeShaun and how we kind of elevated our game and we were doing out thing. Growing up, my dad played baseball and there's every race. Dominicans, Venezuelans, no matter what it is. There's everybody there. I didn't know any different...I didn't watch football like that. I think this year seeing how much it meant for us to go out there and show that we can do this, we can be at the top of the league and it wasn't just running. We weren't just scrambling and doing all that different kind of stuff. We were mentally just dominating the game."
Last season, Mahomes became the second African American quarterback to win the NFL's MVP award outright and the third to win a Super Bowl. He discussed how he, Lamar Jackson and Deshaun Watson have elevated each other in the league.
"I think I started realizing it after I played either Deshaun or Lamar and they had a little special on SportsCenter. I could see how much it was impacting not only me but the kids below me and then the guys that came before me like Doug Williams and all these guys. I knew their stories but it hadn't impacted me as much as it did until I realized that I could not be where I'm at if it wasn't like that coming before me."