KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Patrick Mahomes plays his first NFL game inside of a dome this Sunday when the Chiefs visit the Detroit Lions, but whether the game is played indoors or out doesn't matter to the quarterback.
“I think other than if it's raining or snow outside, then I don't think it makes too big of a difference,” Mahomes said. “I know when it gets out there, you still have to play football, you still have to make the throws. I've played in it a couple of times, and it feels just like any other football game.”
Mahomes played four college contests in indoor stadiums with retractable roofs closed, compiling a 1-3 record. Despite the losing record, he didn't have any trouble lighting up the scoreboards. The former Texas Tech star led his team to an average of 40.5 points in three games against Baylor at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, and a Texas Bowl loss to LSU at NRG Stadium in Houston.
Mahomes completed 120-of-208 passing for a staggering 1,969 yard in those four games. He also threw for 19 touchdowns versus just four interceptions. While his accuracy of 57.7 percent fell below his college career average of 63.5 percent, the only six-touchdown passing days of his college career both came against Baylor at AT&T Stadium and two of his three top passing yardage performances come in those two games as well.
In fact, Mahomes turned in arguably the best overall performance of his collegiate career against Baylor in AT&T Stadium in 2016. He completed 30-of-46 passing for 586 yards with six touchdowns an no interceptions with a passer rating of 215.3, the highest rating of his college career against a Power Five conference team. That's also the only game the Red Raiders won in a dome with Mahomes, cruising to a 54-35 victory.
Mahomes doesn't see a stark difference playing away from the elements in a domed stadium.
“We practice inside and I've played a few games inside before,” Mahomes said. “We played the preseason last year inside.”
But it's that preseason game last season that tantalizes with what Mahomes can do without wind to contend with. In that trip to Atlanta last season, Mahomes completed 8-of-12 passes for 138 yards and a touchdown in one half of action.
The touchdown, however, punctuated the dreariness of an otherwise routine preseason game. The Chiefs trailed the Falcons 14-3 with 28 seconds left in the first half when Mahomes hit Tyreek Hill for a 69-yard touchdown strike – the ball technically travelled 68.6 yards through the air, according to the NFL's Next Gen Stats.
Mahomes doesn't think the dome made much of a difference in the throw, however.
“You just prepare like if it's any other football game and I think that's how you do regardless if you're in a dome,” Mahomes explained. “If it's snowing, if it's raining, you just try to make sure you're ready to have success with whatever the elements or the circumstances are.”
Mahomes doesn't even see much of an advantage for his speed corps of receivers.
“I mean, they're always fast,” he said. “They might be a little bit faster, but it's hard to beat the speed they already have.”