The football version of a music video shoot is going down in a cavernous studio that’s starting to get warmer than the temperature outside. It’s a picture-perfect day in the middle of April in Hollywood. Meanwhile, inside, it’s dark and a little stuffy as the director barks out orders over the booming beats of a playlist featuring Billboard Hot 100 hits from Gucci Mane and Offset, among others. After at least an hour of capturing the signature movements and mannerisms of the best young quarterback in the NFL, a production crew of almost two dozen still has another hour to go before they’ve logged every shot on their list.

That’s because Patrick Mahomes—decked out in his full Kansas City Chiefs uniform as he stands in front of a gigantic screen flashing blindingly sharp red and yellow graphics—has a lot of signature moves. He’s asked to flex and fake scream for the camera after he pretends to throw a bomb for a touchdown. Between takes, he bops to 21 Savage. Next up, Mahomes darts across the studio like he’s on the run and throws across his body to a PA playing receiver. Stylists and hangers-on move to the other side of the studio so they aren’t blown up by a pass the PA can’t handle from Mahomes’ rifle of a right arm. After that, he tosses some of those preposterously accurate sidearm passes the NFL hasn’t seen on the regular since Brett Favre’s Green Bay heyday. The only thing the production squad seemingly fails to document is one of his absurd, improvised left-handed throws.

Mahomes spends half a day at Line Studios doing take after take, because capturing his uncanny improvisational skills with cameras only a few feet away ain’t easy. The director, acting like a coach, asks Mahomes to give him more energy.

“That was 50 percent. I need 75 percent on this one,” he says.

“I got you,” Mahomes replies.

More energy, more angles, more takes until the right shot is captured. It’s important they nail it because what they get on film here will be seen by millions tuning into the NFL Draft. That’s when Mahomes will be anointed as a very big deal among a specific segment of football fans.

Patrick Mahomes Cover Art Madden 20 2019 Wide Feature Vertical
Image via EA Sports

Revealed here, the 23-year-old Chiefs signal caller is the cover star of Madden NFL 20. The third-youngest player to grace the game’s cover, Mahomes joins the likes of Barry Sanders, Drew Brees, Tom Brady, and Odell Beckham Jr. as the face of North America’s best-selling sports video game of all time. It’s incredibly cliché for Mahomes to say it’s a dream come true, but like just about every kid who grew playing Madden, he’d be lying if he said he didn’t think about earning the coveted cover one day.

“It’s something that I’ve dreamed about, and to finally get that at a young age is really cool,” says Mahomes, in his distinct, raspy voice that’s been compared to Kermit the Frog’s but really sounds like he has something lodged in his throat. “I’ll have it framed at my house.”

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