While the projections for the AFC and NFC Super Bowl champions continue, let’s take a step back and discuss what it could mean for the Chiefs in the final weeks of the NFL’s regular season. When quarterback Patrick Mahomes was drafted in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft, many fans (me included) didn’t know what to expect.

What I know now is that in my opinion, he is ready to be a star at the NFL level. Before this season, I thought that he would need another year to learn and mature. After just one season, I think he may be ready to be a franchise quarterback — just as soon as he wins a Super Bowl.

Now, Mahomes just threw seven touchdown passes in the 2018 AFC Championship Game to lead the Chiefs to a 42-27 victory over the Patriots. The Chiefs have been in this situation before. When they won a Super Bowl in 1970, the entire team was in their first season as an NFL franchise. The 1969 squad was mentored by John Unitas, who was already an NFL legend at that point in his career.

The Jayhawks also had their first season with the NFL in 1969, and a rookie quarterback called Bud Foster started at quarterback. Foster was not expected to be a game-changing player, but instead the centerpiece on a young team.

Mahomes will be called upon to carry his team next season. That doesn’t mean he won’t win a Super Bowl in Kansas City. He has proven to be a team leader.

In addition to Mahomes, the Chiefs have two Pro Bowlers in wide receiver Tyreek Hill and strong safety Eric Berry. They have a huge free-agent class coming in next offseason and will need to add more players. One of those players could be veteran wide receiver Golden Tate, who is having a tremendous year with the Lions. He could be a great addition for the Chiefs.

But the Chiefs’ stars are Mahomes and Hill. They have rejuvenated the Kansas City offense. If Mahomes can carry the team through the offseason — as he did for the last five months — the Chiefs will have a great chance at contending for an NFL title next season.