Toughness links Brady and Mahomes, says NFL coach who’s worked with both

February 02 18:06 2021
“This is the separator,” according to Kliff Kingsbury, a former teammate of Brady and coach of Mahomes.

In the leadup to every Super Bowl, comparisons of quarterbacks are as common as commercials at halftime – even more so with this year’s game headlined by two extreme outliers in Patrick Mahomes and Tom Brady.

This year, as the sporting world dissected statistics in preparation for Super Bowl LV, one comparison stood out above the rest thanks to a rare peek behind the scenes at what fuels these two champions.

“Just watching how (Brady) did everything at an elite level, the maniacal approach,” Kliff Kingsbury, current Arizona Cardinals head coach, recalled when asked about the moment he realized the importance of the mental side of the game. “His entire life was dedicated to being the greatest quarterback of all time.”

Kingsbury would know – he was drafted as a player to the New England Patriots in 2003, and spent every day inside the QB room with Brady at an early stage of his career.

More than a decade later Kingsbury would also be in the QB room daily with Mahomes, as Head Coach of the Texas Tech team that the Kansas City Chiefs would eventually draft their young phenom from.

What stood out about Mahomes’ mentality at that early stage?

“Competitiveness jumped out through the roof,” the former TTU coach reminisced. “I mean he would cut your throat to win the game and he would sell out, do whatever it took to win.”

Kingsbury shares his experience of the two MVPs with performance coach Paddy Steinfort on the latest episode of Toughness, a podcast series that grew out of a program for the US Army designed help soldiers deal with challenges both on and off the battlefield.

Challenges are something both of these QBs seem to thrive on, according to Kingsbury.

“I didn’t know just how willing (Patrick) was just to hop in and do things,” the coach revealed as he dove into the incredible work ethic that both superstars share, “but when you ask him to do something, he’s going to get it done.”

That willingness and attention to detail was reminiscent of what he saw in Brady up close at the Patriots.

“I thought I worked hard,” Kingsbury confided, “until I witnessed what he put into football and how much it meant to him. I think that was the big eye opener for me.”

Opening eyes was a key motivation for interviewing the charismatic coach according to Steinfort, a performance coach to some of the world’s best who Sports Illustrated has called “Master Mind”.

“While these talks were recorded just for the military initially,” Steinfort shared, “we all agreed that with the challenges in normal life these days it made sense to share it with the public too. When people hear stories about their heroes tackling challenges head on it shows us what’s possible, especially when things are tough.”

Only time will tell if toughness becomes the separator again this weekend.

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