Patrick Mahomes’s WHOOP Stats From Last Sunday Prove He Has Ice in His Veins

The star quarterback's heart rate somehow dropped during the game's biggest moments

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes high-fives fans. Fitness tracker WHOOP recently analyzed the star NFL player's heart rate from January 23, 2022 Bills vs Chiefs playoff game.
Patrick Mahomes can perform under pressure. WHOOP offers a closer look at how.
Jamie Squire/Getty

In this new age of biometrics, we no longer have to judge a quarterback’s performance solely on how many touchdowns or interceptions he threw when the game was on the line — we can actually study how his heart performed under pressure.

WHOOP, the popular wearable technology platform that has massive contracts with MLB, the PGA Tour, CrossFit and the U.S. Army, to name a few, also has a variety of brand ambassadors, like Patrick Mahomes, who actually wears the device during games. During warmups, the national anthem, a scramble on third down and so on, his heart rate is reacting in different ways to the magnitude of the moment, and whatever task his brain and body are focused on.

According to his body markers from last Sunday’s overtime thriller against the Buffalo Bills (a game so good people on Twitter quipped the NFL ought to just cancel the Super Bowl), the Kansas City Chiefs star is extremely good at channeling or conserving energy when he needs to.

Mahomes’s average heart rate for the entire game was 146 beats per minute, which is definitely elevated. For a 26-year-old guy — if you’ll allow an imperfect comparison between a Super Bowl MVP and a random guy at an Orange Theory — 146 bpm is a target zone for about 75% effort. But that number doesn’t tell the full story; Mahomes’s heart rate was juiced by moments where he gave his team maximum effort. Like rushing for a touchdown in the first quarter, when his heart rate soared to 191 bpm.

At other points in the game, his heart rate dropped all the way down to 79 bpm. For a bit of perspective here: The average resting heart rate for an American adult is between 60 and 100 bpm. Mahomes’s heart got down below 80 in the middle of a nationally televised, do-or-die contest, during which he burned 2,347 calories.

In other words, Mahomes is preposterously efficient. When he needs his heart to work hard, it does. When he needs it to calm down, it responds in kind. We can’t know for sure how he’s doing this — he’s a superhuman athlete, so genetics obviously play a role. But considering he’s wearing a WHOOP in the first place, he’s likely aware of the importance of managing one’s heart rate, and has strategies (think box breathing) that help him keep his composure.

Football is a violent sport, but it’s an intensely cerebral one, too, especially for the quarterback. ESPN likes to show clips of Mahomes screaming in the end zone, flapping his arms around with excitement. Fair enough. That sort of behavior can rev up a stadium. But it’s Mahomes’s ability to find quiet and calm (on the sideline, in the huddle) that probably helps his team the most.

As WHOOP concluded in its report, “The HR spikes didn’t come during pressure-packed situations, but rather following game-changing plays by both teams, often when Mahomes wasn’t even on the field. And in the game’s waning moments, those plays came so frequently that his heart rate rarely had a chance to drop.” That’s right. Mahomes got more stressed by things the Bills did, not the challenge of plays he had to make.

His personal trainer, Bobby Stroupe, shared an amusing side-by-side of Mahomes’s WHOOP data for the day and his own WHOOP data. One played the game, the other watched it from the couch. Mahomes and Stroupe had an identical average heart rate.

In the feed of that post, a commenter asked: “Any chance a players heart rate gets displayed on TV in the future? For example, a QBs heart rate during a 2min drill or FG Kickers heart rate for a game winner?” WHOOP replied, “That’s the goal!”

It’s coming. It will revolutionize the way we watch sports, but it will also put a spotlight on a critical element of lasting wellness. Remember, we’re a militantly sedentary nation. More eyeballs and understanding on the importance of heart health could go a long way.

As for now, these stats prove that Mahomes has “ice in his veins” as commentators are wont to say. Tune in this Sunday to watch his heart put on a show all over again.

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