KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Tom Brady, 41, is too old to take a team to the AFC Championship game and Patrick Mahomes, 23, is too young. So, why can the winner play in the Super Bowl?
Because both are great mental and physical talents that rarely act their ages in the field.
Much of the Chiefs' talk during the week has focused on the challenge of trying to make Brady, out of consecutive games where he had his fastball buzz and ride the black edges of the plate, uncomfortable. Brady combined perfect timing and deadly precision to calm fears about the condition of his left knee and the effects of aging.
In search of help with his work, the Chiefs defensive tackle, fast, with long arms, 6 feet 6, 310 pounds, Chris Jones, spoke with the ticket holders through the media on the last day of interviews before the first AFC Championship Game in the history of Arrowhead Stadium.
"Keep it out loud, keep it strong," Jones said. "I know it's going to be cold, bring your overalls, bring your sweaters, thick coats if necessary, but let's keep it strong, affect this guy in any way possible"
Jones did not hesitate to share what he believes is the main reason why the Patriots have kept Brady on his feet until the end of the year, even against the expert pilots.
"Tom Brady gets rid of the ball quickly," said Jones, who had 15 1/2 sacks during the regular season. Dee Ford had 13 sacks. Justin Houston, who did not play in the Patriots' 43-40 victory at Gillette Stadium in mid-October, had nine sacks. The challenge for the Chiefs is to play with Brady without it being too easy for the Patriots to run, it is not an easy juggling act.
"The race actually opens the pbad game for Tom Brady, so he runs the ball, runs the ball, plays the action for a deep shot," Jones said. "They get out of the race, so if they are successful with the race it will be a long game."
Defensive coordinator Bob Sutton explained why it is so difficult to disguise the coverages compared to Brady.
"Try as the dickens do not give the answers to the test before the ball breaks," Sutton said. "You try, but like I said, this guy has seen everything, he has the answers to the test, he knows what the coverages are."
Obviously, Brady has always had a much faster mind than his feet.
"It can process so fast," Sutton said. "That makes him an extremely difficult guy to defend. He's getting the ball out of his hands at Mach's speed right now. "
Brady's quick reading of the defenses and command of the Patriots' offense makes it difficult to get to him in time.
"He has been in the exact same system throughout his career in the NFL," said Sutton. "He has had different (offensive coordinators) there, but the system has never changed, it is really his system now, I do not know many people who have done that, he plays so many years exactly in the same system, he has many things in his favor. He is a great competitor, he has great talent for the arm. "
One thing that Brady has against him is the crowd, which can generate the kind of noise necessary to make silent counts, which puts the Patriots in danger by multiple false start penalties.
In their most recent game, on December 16, a 17-10 loss to the Steelers, the Patriots were marked five times for false starts, once for an illegal formation, four times for staying.
The forecast for Sunday, which at one point required temperatures below zero, from Friday afternoon projected a maximum of 32 degrees and a minimum of 21 with 8 miles per hour, which is not cold enough to silence the hungry crowd of championships.
The Bosses' defense has been much better at home than on the road.
"It's different because you're not going to be able to hear anything," Jones said. "There will be loud noises, screaming babies, screaming, popcorn, cold air breathing, it's the soccer playoff, it all goes up a notch."