Patrick Mahomes shatters helmet during bitter cold Chiefs-Dolphins Wild Card

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (WDAF) — Kansas City Chiefs star quarterback Patrick Mahomes displayed the perfect example of how cold the team’s Wild Card game against the Miami Dolphins was on Saturday.

Midway through the third quarter, the Chiefs were in the red zone trying to increase their 16-7 lead, when the game was stopped because Mahomes’ helmet was shattered, leaving behind a gaping hole.

The temperature at kickoff was minus-4 degrees Fahrenheit with a wind chill of minus-27, making it the fourth-coldest in NFL history. And that might well have made the shell of Mahomes’ helmet more brittle than usual. So when it clashed with the helmet of Dolphins safety Deshon Elliot, Mahomes was left with a fist-sized chunk missing from the outer layer just above his left eye.

You can see the piece flying off Mahomes’ helmet in the photo below.

KANSAS CITY, MO – JANUARY 13: Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) helmet cracks taking a hit from Miami Dolphins safety DeShon Elliott (21) in the third quarter of an AFC Wild Card playoff game between the Miami Dolphins and Kansas City Chiefs on Jan 13, 2024 at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, MO. (Photo by Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

“I was trying to get in there. I was trying to get in that end zone. Young Pat would’ve got in. I’m getting a little old,” Mahomes said, referencing the famous scramble touchdown that he made against the Tennessee Titans in the 2020 AFC Championship.

“I would’ve spun, got up in there, but I got squared up and got my helmet cracked. I try not to do it too much but it’s playoff time. Sometimes you gotta put in on the line and try to get in the end zone to win football games.”

“He knew his helmet was cracked, and he just tried to go on to the next play,” Chiefs wide receiver Rashee Rice said. “He was like, ‘Come on. Get the play. Get the play.’ But he switched out the helmet, and he didn’t like it.”

“I’m sure it had to do with it being really cold,” Mahomes continued, “but yeah, I didn’t know that happened in the moment. I got to the huddle and everyone was telling me, and I was like, ‘I got you all, but I’m not coming out of the game.’”

Mahomes played two more plays with a hole in his helmet before play was stopped and simply switched helmets before third-and-goal occurred.

The drive ended with a field goal.

On the broadcast, NBC rules analyst and former NFL referee Terry McAulay said that the Chiefs should have been required to take a timeout since the clock had stopped and Mahomes should have had to come out for a play since he had an equipment change.

Since a helmet was damaged, some fans wonder if Mahomes should have had to at least been evaluated for a concussion.

According to the NFL Head, Neck and Spine Committee, a player goes into concussion protocol if:

  • the player exhibits or reports symptoms or signs suggestive of a concussion or stinger (a nerve pinch injury); or
  • the team Athletic Trainer, booth ATC spotter, team Physician, NFL game official, coach, teammate, sideline Unaffiliated Neurotrauma Consultant (UNC) or booth UNC initiates the protocol.

Since Mahomes finished the game, these standards must not have been factors.

Mahomes said in the moment, he was hoping to score and figure it out on the sideline.

The backup helmet was sitting on the sideline all game so it was “completely frozen” and Mahomes struggled to put it on.

“We were able to adjust it on the sideline, get it kind of warmed up a little bit and get rolling from there.”

Chiefs head coach Andy Reid and some players got to marvel at the sight of a helmet breaking in the coldest game in Chiefs history.

“Once you go, now you’re just survival right there,” Reid said about it. He acknowledged that he loves to see Mahomes scramble because he usually would slide if it were in the regular season.

Playoff time is different.

“His will to win is ridiculous,” he said. “He’s a great competitor.”

Mahomes wound up throwing for 262 yards and a touchdown as the Chiefs rolled to the 26-7 victory over the Dolphins, sending home a happy bunch of Chiefs fans who had braved the elements to watch their 15th consecutive home playoff game.

The AFC’s 3-seed Chiefs now wait for their opponent for the Divisional round.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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