The Kansas City Chiefs will need to have the game of their lives against the Tennessee Titans on Sunday if they want to take their talents to South Beach next month. Lucky for them, an unlikely figure could be sporting the red and white in their honor. On Thursday, Pope Francis was gifted an autographed Patrick Mahomes jersey ahead of this weekend’s AFC title game.
Per the Catholic News Service, Bishop James V Johnston of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph presented the collectible to pontiff. Although he’s more of a soccer fan himself, Pope Francis was all smiles upon receiving the jersey.
The AFC Championship game is a Week 10 rematch between the Chiefs and the Titans, with Mike Vrabel’s men claiming victory over Andy Reid’s side back in November. Quarterback Ryan Tannehill tossed a 23-yard touchdown to Adam Humphries with 23 seconds left on the clock and the Titans blocked a last-second field goal attempt to top the Chiefs 35-32 and spoil Mahomes’ first game back from injury.
With a healthy Mahomes under center and a rejuvenated defense since that devastating loss, the Chiefs are looking to avenge that regular season setback and bring home just their second Super Bowl trophy in franchise history on February 2.
Pope Francis Also Owns a Lamar Jackson Jersey
This isn’t the first time the Pope has been presented an NFL jersey this season. In December, members of the Archdiocese of Baltimore gifted a Baltimore Ravens number 8 jersey to Pope Francis during a visit in Rome.
The jersey features MVP frontrunner Lamar Jackson’s number, has “Francis” written on the back and was signed by both coach John Harbaugh and Jackson.
“Baltimore is the home of the Catholic Church, Roman Catholic Church,” Harbaugh said when asked about the gesture. “It first started here in the New World, here in Baltimore. So, it’s an honor to have Pope Francis here, obviously, especially as a Catholic. I appreciate that. And it’s kind of neat.”
Harbaugh then added with a chuckle, “We’ll see if he’s wearing his jersey any time soon.”
Although they might differ on their preferred sports, the Pope is a big fan of the game in general, and has written about the significance of sports in a world often divided on social issues.
“Sports is a privileged area around which people meet without any distinction of race, sex, religion or ideology,” the 83-year-old wrote, via Vatican News.
Mahomes’ Hometown Adopting a KC Tradition
Red Friday has been a Kansas City tradition for decades. Now, a Texas town is looking to bring the celebrated practice to their community.
Mahomes’ playing career began at Whitehouse Independent School District in Texas, and officials from the town are hopping on the Chiefs bandwagon and donning their best red outfits ahead of Sunday’s contest. In a Facebook post Tuesday, Whitehouse ISD administrators asked students and teachers alike to lend their support behind the 24-year-old star.
“Join us in supporting Patrick and the Chiefs by wearing KC colors this Friday, January 17th!! Let’s go!!” a portion of the message reads.
With the Pope and many fans from his hometown owners of his famed number 15 shirt, looks like Mahomes is in great shape to lead the Chiefs to an AFC title win.