By Mackenzie Meaney
PHOENIX – Kansas City Chiefs guard Joe Thuney has protected two of the best quarterbacks to play in the NFL in the past 20 years.
Patrick Mahomes, his current QB and the 2022 season MVP, has consistently ranked in the top of the league due to his playmaking ability and talent for outrunning defenders and extending time he has in the pocket.
The other is the recently retired Tom Brady. Thuney spent five seasons with the New England Patriots before signing with the Chiefs in 2021.
“I got to play with Tom (Brady) for a couple years and now Patrick (Mahomes), and it’s just been amazing,” Thuney said. “I just try to do my part and contribute as much as I can on the field.”
His contributions do not go unnoticed. Since joining the league in 2016, Thuney has played more than 100 games at the left guard position and has only allowed Mahomes to get sacked three times this season. He rarely takes penalties and is one of the best in the league at blocking for the running back to get through the gaps.
Thuney said both Mahomes and Brady are competitive and have a similar attention to detail when it comes to controlling the offense.
“The only difference is Tom was a little older when I played with him,” Thuney said. “And that’s about it.”
While with the Patriots, Thuney made it to three straight Super Bowls in his first three years in the NFL, a record no one has since touched. He won Super Bowl LI in 2017 and Super Bowl LIII in 2019, but lost in 2018 to the Philadelphia Eagles.
As Thuney prepares to take on that familiar foe ahead of Sunday, he has been looked to in the locker room to help the rookies with their approach to this week mentally. The Chiefs roster has 11 rookies listed, and the first trip to the championship can be chaotic and overwhelming to someone who has never experienced it before.
“This week is a unique week of the season,” he said. “A lot of chaos, a lot of media. I’ve kind of been saying it’s important to keep things in perspective. We’re here to play a game on Sunday, so you’ve got to find that fine line between absorbing it all and soaking it all in, and locking in for the game and preparing how you prepare if we were back in Kansas City.”
The Eagles roster has gone through a near-complete overhaul of its championship team from 2018. Only seven players on their current roster were there five years ago. Still, they are a formidable opponent who worked just as hard as Thuney and his team to get to Phoenix.
“Only a couple of guys on that team are with the Eagles still,” Thuney said. “They are a defense that is hungry. They play really hard. They play really smart defense. Another big challenge but looking forward to it.”
Mackenzie Meaney is a sports media master’s student at Northwestern University. You can connect with her on Twitter and LinkedIn.