| 17.6°C Dublin

Mahomes and Sexton prove worth at highest level


Patrick Mahomes

Patrick Mahomes

Patrick Mahomes

Superheroes come in different capes and costumes. Super Bowl 54 was billed as the ultimate team player against the one-man miracle show.

The San Francisco 49ers Jimmy Garoppolo, once set to succeed Tom Brady at the New England Patriots, found a path to 'The Greatest Show on Earth' on the west coast.

The ball club of Hall of Fame quarterbacks Joe Montana and Steve Young was in the hands of a game manager, one who sacrifices his arm for sweeping runners in a complex attack.

In contrast, the Kansas City Chiefs have been moulded around Patrick Mahomes, a talent supreme.

The problem for the Chiefs was that, more often than not, Mahomes has to be outstanding for them to operate close to maximum purpose.

In the lead-up to Super Bowl 54, Mahomes had driven his team back from deficits of 24 points and 10 points in the play-offs. He found himself in the same predicament in Miami on Sunday night when Kyle Shanahan's running had all but put Kansas out of town.

Down 10 with seven minutes to go, Mahomes unleashed the 'no-huddle offense' to reel off 14 points without an answer to breached the 50-year gap back to their one and only other Super Bowl with the curly-haired kid from Tyler, Texas at the controls.

It is just the way of that sport and of coach Andy Reid's offence that everything hangs on the shoulders of the QB, no matter the elite weapons around him, like wide-receiver Tyreek Hill and tight-end Travis Kelce.

In the same way, so much of how Ireland perform revolves around the effectiveness and efficiency of their best player, Jonathan Sexton.

The weapons he has to feed, like Jacob Stockdale and Jordan Larmour, are almost exclusively dependent on their primary playmaker.

Just this weekend, coach Andy Farrell got off to a winning start in his new role and he couldn't have done it without his main man. The 34-year-old Sexton was not able to play for seven weeks before accounting for all of Ireland's 19 points at the Aviva Stadium.

Perhaps, the genuine doubts out there failed to take into account the sheer willpower of the man.

As Ireland look to transition into a more expansive, more fluid team, they are bound to experience teething problems.

They survived an unbelievably physical Scotland to get there - unconvincingly.

When Gregor Townsend's troops threatened to tear up the pre-ordained script, the captain stepped forth to disabuse them of their notions.

The veteran and captain is just as tied to Ireland's success and failures as he was when finally shaking off Ronan O'Gara at the turn of 2012.

The 24-year-old Mahomes will now contemplate this off-season as the youngest ever winner of both the National Football League MVP and Super Bowl MVP. The sky is the limit for the NFL's newest, shiniest superstar.

The next three years form the great unknown for Sexton, the 2021 Lions tour to South Africa and the 2023 World Cup perhaps sitting there as his ideal farewells to the game.

Only time will tell whether he will have the form and the fortune to go out on his own terms.