Chiefs, QB Patrick Mahomes willing villains if it’s price of winning

LAKE LAS VEGAS, Nevada — Chiefs head coach Andy Reid leads his team back to the practice field on Wednesday for the first of three consecutive on-field workouts before Super Bowl LVIII on Sunday.

“We try to have fun within the intensity of the game within the week,” Reid said Wednesday morning at Westin Lake Las Vegas Resort prior to practice. “There is time to focus in and there is time to mess around. We don’t have to keep it uptight when they’re coming into practice.”

Players were off Tuesday but are scheduled through Saturday’s final walkthrough to return to their typical game-week routine. Quarterback Patrick Mahomes reminded teammates of the importance of physical and mental rest before taking “the business trip” seriously when they clock back in Wednesday.

Reid said players were informed of the temptations in the near vicinity, even though the Chiefs and 49ers are at neighboring resorts 35 minutes from The Strip. An NFL security representative was on the scene to speak to players about rules and regulations with regard to gambling and other “distractions” in Las Vegas.

“It’s a normal week now,” Mahomes said on Wednesday. “We’re going to get back to practice and do what we do for a normal gameday.”

The Chiefs won’t be distracted on Sunday. After wrapping up video review of the challenger, Reid said he’s confident this version of the 49ers is superior to the San Francisco team that lost to Kansas City in Super Bowl LIV. To Reid, it boils down to star power with two MVP finalists Brock Purdy and Christian McCaffrey.

Reid and the Chiefs have 14 playoff wins since 2018 and are appearing in the Super Bowl for a fourth time in six seasons. But it’s Kansas City’s first without franchise matriarch Norma Hunt, a point Reid and others have made this week.

“She leaves a great legacy behind. I think this is the first one she hasn’t been here for,” Reid said. “That speaks for itself, but her heart was the biggest thing. A great person.”

Because of their track record in games like this one, Mahomes and the Chiefs are being cast as villains in some circles, much in the same way the Los Angeles Lakers, New York Yankees and New England Patriots were often rooted against.

Still a fan favorite, Mahomes said he doesn’t enjoy or embrace being the bad guy.

“I just like winning,” he said. “If you win a lot and it causes you to be the villain, I’m OK with that. At the end of the day, I’m going to enjoy playing the game and try to win as much as possible.”