Kansas City Chiefs coach Andy Reid conceded Patrick Mahomes is not 100 per cent healthy ahead of Super Bowl LVII.

Mahomes' health is the dominant storyline for the Chiefs ahead of their clash with the Philadelphia Eagles at State Farm Stadium on Sunday.

He suffered a high ankle sprain in the Chiefs' Divisional round win over the Jacksonville Jaguars, an injury that forced him to come out of the game before returning in the second half.

Mahomes subsequently played through the injury in the AFC Championship Game with the Cincinnati Bengals, willing them to a thrilling 23-20 victory.

Speaking at Opening Night on Monday, Mahomes said his ankle is "definitely better", however Reid on Tuesday clarified that his star quarterback is still not at full strength.

"Yeah, so I wouldn't tell you he is 100 per cent," Reid said.

"But the training staff works with him endlessly. I guess it'd be a tribute to both of them for Pat coming back for more and for those guys cranking on him."

Despite his ankle issue, Mahomes has still performed at a very high level in the postseason.

Across his two playoff games, Mahomes has completed 69.9 per cent of his passes for 521 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions.

Reid is used to seeing Mahomes producing magic on the field, but even he has been taken aback by what his signal-caller has produced while playing on one healthy ankle.

"So, Julie [Frymyer, Chiefs physical therapist] spent most of the time with him," Reid added. "We've got all the latest greatest stuff to use, technology-wise, so he's used it all and has been able to make these jumps here where he can actually function and play in a game, which is very remarkable."

Patrick Mahomes never wants to experience the sour taste of defeat in a Super Bowl again, as the Kansas City Chiefs quarterback prepares to face the Philadelphia Eagles.

Mahomes was MVP when the Chiefs won Super Bowl LIV three years ago, but a year later they were outgunned by Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Last season saw Kansas City edged out by the Cincinnati Bengals in the AFC Championship Game, so they missed out on the biggest game of the year.

This time they are back in the spotlight in Phoenix, raring to go at Glendale's State Farm Stadium, and Mahomes underlined the highs and lows of the Super Bowl as he looked back on his mixed bag of experiences.

"The win is amazing," said Mahomes. "It's one of the best moments of your entire life. You take away all the positives from that.

"But that loss, that stings. That motivates you for years. That's what it's done for me. It's motivated me to be back in this game again. I want to make sure that I can have that winning feeling and not that losing one because that losing feeling is one you'll never forget."

He said the Eagles possess "one of the best defensive lines in history", and with both teams managing NFL-best 14-3 records in the regular season it is clear Sunday's match will see the two best teams of the year duke it out for the Vince Lombardi Trophy.

Ahead of Super Bowl LVII, Mahomes spoke at Opening Night, saying: "The motivating factor is to be the best.

"You're in the biggest game of your life, and you want to go out there and make memories with your teammates. I think the biggest motivating factor is to step on that field and try to be the best. We know we have a great challenge in the Philadelphia Eagles, so it'll be a great game."

There will be a first sight of two African American quarterbacks going head to head in a Super Bowl, with Mahomes facing Jalen Hurts.

"It's special," Mahomes said.

"I have a lot of respect for the guys who came before me and laid the foundation. To play against a guy like Jalen – a genuine, great dude who has worked his tail off to be in the position that he's in – it's going to be a special game and a special moment for a lot of kids to watch."

Patrick Mahomes' injured ankle is "definitely better" than before the AFC Championship Game as he prepares for his third Super Bowl appearance on Sunday.

Mahomes helped the Chiefs reach a third Super Bowl in five seasons by helping Kansas City defeat the Cincinnati Bengals in the Conference Championship on January 29.

It was a case of the MVP frontrunner overcoming the odds, knocking off a Bengals team that had stunned them at the same stage last season despite playing on a sprained ankle he suffered in the Divisional round win over the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Mahomes will now go against a vaunted Eagles defense in a mouth-watering Super Bowl LVII clash at State Farm Stadium in Arizona.

And he goes into the game seemingly in much improved shape.

Asked about his ankle at Super Bowl Opening Night in Phoenix on Monday, Mahomes replied: "It's definitely better for sure.

"You never know until you get into the game, but it's definitely better than it was this time last week before the game.

"I'll play through all the injuries that the trainers let me play through."

He then joked: "[Tight end] Travis Kelce hurts my feelings like every single day and I still play so I'm still going to play through it and try to get a win."

Mahomes threw for 5,250 yards and 41 touchdowns in the regular season, marking the second time in his already glittering career he has surpassed 5,000 yards and 40 touchdowns in the same season.

The Eagles represent arguably his biggest test yet, though, their defense the best in the NFL by yards per play allowed. In two playoff games, Philadelphia's defense has given up a combined 14 points.

Patrick Mahomes revealed as no surprise that he wanted to retain star wide receiver Tyreek Hill for this season, but he trusted the plan of Kansas City Chiefs general manager Brett Veach.

Hill, 28, was drafted by the Chiefs as a fifth-rounder in 2015, and he is likely on track to make the Pro Football Hall of Fame after becoming one of the most devastating offensive weapons in league history.

He made the Pro Bowl every year from 2016-2022, and this season earned his fourth First Team All-Pro selection after setting career-highs with 119 receptions and 1710 yards with the Miami Dolphins.

Veach said there were warning signs early in free agency that Hill would demand a record-breaking contract for a receiver, and he had to make the painful decision to prioritise the defensive side of the ball instead.

"It became obvious as free agency started, given the way wide receiver contracts were going up, that it was going to be tough to do both [extend Hill and address the defense]," he said. 

The Chiefs knew some tough calls were on the horizon after Mahomes signed his NFL-record 10-year, $450million deal, as his salary jumped from $8m in 2021 to $35m this season.

Hill ended up signing a four-year, $120m deal – and in a salary-capped league, something had to give.

"Everyone knew what the next two or three years would look like and how many players we'd have to potentially cut and how difficult things would be,'' he said. "We would have had a lot of expensive players.

"It's hard to be successful in this league year after year. It's hard to win games year after year. There are going to be moments where we have to step out there and do something uncomfortable. 

"No one wanted to lose Tyreek – he's a great player. But if you're going to do something, trust the process and trust how you do things and don't be afraid to commit to change a year sooner when you have more ability to potentially make those changes work better.''

Veach said his willingness to make such a franchise-defining call is attributed to his belief that the franchise can not waste any seasons with Mahomes at the helm.

"When you have Pat Mahomes, we're wired to go after it every year,'' he said.

Mahomes himself said it was no secret that he wanted to re-sign Hill and keep the band together after winning the Super Bowl in 2020, but he understood all the moving pieces.

"I wanted to keep him, for sure,'' he said. "They had a plan for it, though. 

"They told me the plan and we were going to get these draft picks. We were going to go out there and bring in some free agent receivers, and I think they executed on that.

"We know that to keep having success in this league we have to keep evolving, keep getting better. I always want to be successful this year, but at the same time, I'm here for the long haul. 

"If we're going to have a long time here, I want to have a chance to win Super Bowls every single year.''

The Chiefs' other offensive star, Travis Kelce, said he had concerns after the Hill trade, including how effective the Chiefs might be on offense and what it all might mean for him.

"Yes, that was a question,'' he said. "But once I saw how hard guys were working, paying attention to details, how Pat keeps progressing as a quarterback... Right now, we're in a good routine that we just keep getting better. 

"You could feel that from the day we started from May until now."

Mahomes is in his fifth year as a starter, and after another spectacular season he is the favourite to add a second MVP to his resume, as well as a fourth All-Pro selection, while he prepares for a chance at his second championship.

Patrick Mahomes, Ryan Jensen and Conor McGregor are among those paying tribute to Tom Brady after the NFL veteran announced his retirement.

One year to the date after he first announced he was hanging up his cleats, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback has confirmed he is quitting "for good" after previously walking back his decision.

Across a career stretching 23 years, two teams, seven Super Bowls and five MVP awards, the 45-year-old has earned a reputation as one of the sport's all-time greats.

His announcement has sparked an outpouring of affection and respect from his peers, with fellow quarterback Mahomes leading the tributes.

The Kansas City Chiefs man posted three goat emojis to Twitter, in reference to the acronym GOAT, which stands for greatest of all time.

Brady's Tampa Bay team-mate Jensen, who won Super Bowl LV alongside him, penned a heartfelt message after he helped him through injury last season.

"Thanks for pushing me every day this season, mentally and physically, to get back on the field," he wrote.

"I'm glad I was able to take the field with you one last time!  Enjoy retirement, don't dog me too much in the booth. Love ya man!"

Praise for Brady was not limited to American football, with MMA veteran McGregor praising the player's Irish roots.

Former New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter also offered his congratulations on "an unbelievable career", adding: "It was fun to watch!"

Brady spent the majority of his career with the New England Patriots, taking the team to six Super Bowl successes between 2000 and 2019.

He moved to the Buccaneers for the 2020 season, and inspired them to a surprise championship in his first campaign in Florida.

At the end of his career, Brady ranks first for a host of statistical categories.including most passing yards (89,214), regular season touchdowns (649) and playoff touchdowns (88).

Patrick Mahomes "definitely didn't feel good" in the Kansas City Chiefs' AFC Championship Game win, but his performance added to "an already great legacy", according to general manager Brett Veach.

Superstar quarterback Mahomes sustained a high ankle sprain in the Divisional round victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars.

That sort of injury would generally bring about a spell on the sidelines, but Mahomes was determined he would not miss Sunday's game against the Cincinnati Bengals, who had won at Arrowhead Stadium last year to reach the Super Bowl.

While clearly limping in the second half, Mahomes battled through to finish with 29-of-43 passing for 326 yards and two touchdowns in a 23-20 Chiefs success.

Most notably, a painful five-yard run in the final seconds of the game was followed by a shove from Joseph Ossai that prompted a 15-yard penalty to put Harrison Butker in field-goal range to snatch victory.

Mahomes' fellow Chiefs were in awe of his commitment, including GM Veach, who said: "People don't realise how hurt he was.

"We all saw the injury. High ankles are terrible injuries, and sometimes guys miss two, three weeks, and he was out there and running for a first down and a big play in the game that got us in field-goal range.

"But it just adds to an already great legacy."

Mahomes' pain was not in doubt for those watching, but he emphasised afterwards: "I definitely didn't feel good.

"I think the worst one was when I fumbled. I tried to pick it up, and that was probably the worst I tweaked it during the game.

"[The team] got me as close as they could to 100 per cent. Then I just battled through, and I'll have a few more weeks to get it ready [for the Super Bowl]."

Joseph Ossai knows he must learn from a painful experience after he gifted the Kansas City Chiefs the chance to seal their place in Super Bowl LVII.

Cincinnati Bengals defensive end Ossai was hit with a roughing-the-passer penalty for a shove on Patrick Mahomes after the quarterback had run out of bounds right at the end of the AFC Championship Game on Sunday.

A 15-yard penalty allowed Harrison Butker to convert a decisive 45-yard game-goal to snatch a 23-20 win and set up a showdown with the Philadelphia Eagles at State Farm Stadium, Arizona on February 12.

The 22-year-old Ossai was emotional after such a costly late penalty in a rematch of last year's AFC Championship Game and knows he must be more disciplined going forward.

"I gotta learn from experience," Ossai said. "I gotta know not to get close to that quarterback when he's close to that sideline if it's anything that could possibly cause a penalty in a dire situation like that. I gotta do better."

He added: "I was just in full chase mode. I was trying to push him, maybe get him going backwards because I knew he was going for that sideline.

"I was trying to make him go backwards, get that clock running. I haven't seen it yet. I don't know how far out of bounds we were."

DJ Reader backed Ossai to use the hurt he is feeling now to drive him on to better things.

Reader said: "That play is going to find him again. Those roles are going to find him again as a player, and just be ready for it."

He added: "This pain is going to drive him to be great. He'll get there."

Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce declared Arrowhead Stadium "Mahomes' house" after finally defeating Joe Burrow and the Cincinnati Bengals in Sunday's AFC Championship Game.

There had been plenty of talk in the lead-up about the success Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow has enjoyed against the Chiefs, sporting a 3-0 record against Mahomes' crew heading into the contest. It had led to Bengals fans calling the Chiefs' home ground 'Burrowhead', which clearly irked Kansas City players.

Despite playing with a high ankle sprain, Mahomes found a way to get one over the number one overall pick from the 2020 NFL Draft, completing 29 of his 43 passes for 326 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions.

He also made the game-deciding play when he scrambled on his bad ankle with 15 seconds left in regulation, converting a third-and-four and making it to the sideline to stop the clock. After crossing the sideline, he was hit late by Joseph Ossai, resulting in a 15-yard penalty to put Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker into range for the game-winner.

Burrow put together a respectable stat line, completing 26 of his 41 passes for 270 yards and a touchdown, but he threw two crucial interceptions.

In the immediate aftermath during his on-field interview, Mahomes was interrupted by his future Hall of Fame tight end with a very clear message.

"Burrowhead my a**," he said. "It's Mahomes' house!"

Offensive lineman Orlando Brown Jr also chimed in about Mahomes: "World's greatest! Give him his respect! Stamp him!"

Mahomes was far more under control during his interview, but also referenced his displeasure about the Burrowhead nickname.

"First off I want to thank God, man," he said. "He healed my body this week and gave me the strength to be out here.

"As for this team, man, we play together. I said it from the beginning, when we were in the locker room, I said 'we've got to be together' – and this team stepped up against a great football team.

"We showed this place that it's Arrowhead, it's not 'Burrowhead' out here."

When asked about the Chiefs' impending Super Bowl date against the Philadelphia Eagles, Mahomes gave plenty of respect to the NFC Champions.

"They're a great football team, I've watched them all year long," he said. "Great quarterback, and a great entire team. It's going to be a great challenge for us, but I'm going to celebrate this one first.

"I'm going to get back with my team – I don't think we have any cigars – but we'll be ready to go at the Super Bowl."

A limping Patrick Mahomes led the Kansas City Chiefs to Super Bowl LVII with a 23-20 defeat of the Cincinnati Bengals in the AFC Championship Game.

Mahomes had sustained a high ankle sprain in the Divisional round victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars but was determined not to miss the opportunity to gain revenge following last year's loss against the Bengals at the same stage.

In that reverse, Mahomes followed an outstanding first half with an uncharacteristically shambolic second that cost the Chiefs.

However, on Sunday, as the game wore on and the temperature dropped, Mahomes showed signs of his injury affecting him but refused to relent, finishing with 29-of-43 passing for 326 yards and two touchdowns, along with a vital late run.

Mahomes was largely able to stay clean in the first half while Joe Burrow took some punishment, but the Chiefs' sole TD pass found Travis Kelce on fourth-and-one.

Memories of last year's loss might have come to mind as the Bengals came out stronger in the third quarter and Tee Higgins sensationally reeled in a pinpoint Burrow TD pass down the sideline.

A hobbling Mahomes battled on and connected with Marquez Valdes-Scantling for a scrambling score, only for Burrow to find Ja'Marr Chase deep on fourth-and-six to set up Samaje Perine to run it in.

With the scores tied, both QBs struggled to get the job done as overtime neared, but Chris Jones sacked Burrow to force a Bengals punt, with Skyy Moore's 27-yard return keeping the Chiefs alive.

When Mahomes – understandably reluctant to run the ball until that stage – made up five yards and was shoved by Joseph Ossai after running out of bounds, a 15-yard penalty left Harrison Butker with the 45-yard game-winning field goal to set up a Super Bowl meeting with the Philadelphia Eagles.

Kelce keeping fine company

Restricted by his injury, Mahomes needed help from his receivers and got it. He completed passes to 10 team-mates, but Kelce was unsurprisingly his primary target, completing seven of nine attempts for a TD.

That was Kelce's 15th receiving TD in the postseason, drawing him level with fellow tight end Rob Gronkowski and now trailing only wide receiver Jerry Rice (22) for all-time postseason scores.

Burrow takes a beating

This was the first time Burrow had lost to Mahomes, with the Chiefs clearly irked by talk of the Bengals QB's dominance in this matchup. The Chiefs got to Burrow time and again early on, with four sacks before halftime.

Coming into the game, Burrow was 14-1 this season when sacked four times or fewer but 0-3 when sacked five times or more. That fifth and final sack from Jones proved so pivotal.

This year's NFL conference championships have provided a fascinating line-up of potential Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks.

In the AFC Championship Game, Patrick Mahomes is hosting Joe Burrow in a repeat of last year's matchup, with both men having already been to the big game.

Meanwhile, in the NFC, Jalen Hurts and Brock Purdy have each played just two postseason games, green enough both to provoke excitement and concern in equal measure.

Three of these QBs were confirmed as MVP candidates this week, with Purdy the obvious exception as 'Mr Irrelevant', enjoying a fairytale story that would surpass just about any other.

So, which of the four is best placed heading into this weekend, and who can expect to be playing in Arizona in two weeks' time?

Brock Purdy, 49ers @ Eagles

It is safe to say Purdy did not expect to be playing in this game when he was selected with the final pick of the 2022 draft.

Injuries to Trey Lance and Jimmy Garoppolo have catapulted the rookie into the spotlight, and he has not disappointed, winning his first seven starts to extend the 49ers' streak to 12 straight victories – a team's longest sequence entering a conference championship since the undefeated New England Patriots in 2007.

Purdy, at 22, will become the youngest QB to start a game at this stage of the season since Ben Roethlisberger in 2004, while he is only the fourth to do so having started five or fewer regular season games.

But given this inexperience, Purdy is the one remaining QB who likely will not be handed complete control of the offense, instead asked simply to consistently put the ball in the hands of the 49ers' outstanding skill players.

Christian McCaffrey, like Purdy, has won every start since joining the 49ers in a mid-season trade from the Carolina Panthers, scoring an offensive touchdown in each of his past eight – one shy of both Ezekiel Elliott's 2022-best streak of nine.

Since his first start, McCaffrey ranks third in the NFL for offensive touches (234); since Purdy's first start, he ranks first (136).

Even with McCaffrey and Deebo Samuel each highly effective targets through the air, the 49ers have shifted their focus to the run game with Purdy under center.

They have run the ball on 50.1 per cent of plays since Purdy's first start, the fifth-highest rate in the NFL and the highest of any team who made the playoffs. Prior to Week 14, that figure was 43.2 per cent.

It is unlikely the 49ers move away from that now against an elite defense that leads the league by a considerable margin in sacks (75), sack yards (517) and sack rate (10.7 per cent).

Purdy may need McCaffrey and Co. to carry him through this round, but a Super Bowl appearance would only encourage those Tom Brady 2001 comparisons.

Jalen Hurts, Eagles vs 49ers

Hurts' appearance on this stage is clearly not as surprising as Purdy's, but few could have foreseen the Eagles QB as the Goliath to his opponent's David back when the season began.

The third-year star has delivered on his potential in 2022.

Hurts' ability to run with the ball was never in question, and this year his 14 rushing TDs rank third among all players, with Josh Allen his nearest rival at QB on a comparatively meagre eight.

But there has crucially been progress in the passing game as Hurts posted career-best marks by just about every metric in the regular season – 66.5 completion percentage, 3,701 passing yards, 22 passing TDs, 1.3 interception percentage and a passer rating of 101.5.

Last week, in the Eagles' playoff opener against the New York Giants, he threw two TD passes and zero picks for a rating of 112.2.

Having missed two games and two Eagles defeats, Hurts heads into the NFC Championship Game with a 15-1 record as a starter this year, no doubt confident of improving that mark further against the 49ers.

In an intriguing battle that pits the league's best run offense (47.0 per cent success rate) versus its second-best run defense (32.1 per cent), Hurts can provide the X-factor.

The 49ers have shown few signs of weakness this year but did so against Marcus Mariota, another running QB, whose Atlanta Falcons ran the ball on 69.6 per cent of plays in Week 6 and were successful 43.6 per cent of the time.

The Eagles will have been watching the tape from that matchup to give Hurts the best possible chance to find joy against an otherwise fearsome defense.

Joe Burrow, Bengals @ Chiefs

Bengals cornerback Mike Hilton dubbed the Chiefs' home stadium, so terrifying for so many visiting teams, "Burrowhead" as Cincinnati prepared for their return in the AFC Championship Game.

Burrow went into Arrowhead last year and got the better of Mahomes, leading the Bengals to a third conference championship win in three attempts all-time.

Although the Los Angeles Rams then defeated the Bengals in the Super Bowl, Burrow has continued to show himself to be the man for the big occasion, taking down the much-fancied Buffalo Bills last week.

He has won five of his first six playoff starts, with only Brady (7-0), Russell Wilson (6-1) and Mahomes (6-1) winning six of their first seven since 1995.

So calm and composed, Burrow is an outstanding passer, ranking second in the league with his 68.2 completion percentage this year and third with his 85.9 well-thrown percentage.

His problem has long been a lack of protection from the Bengals' offensive line, with Burrow taking a league-leading 148 sacks since his debut season in 2020 – a campaign that was cut short by ACL and MCL tears sustained in one hit.

But Burrow took just one sack against the Bills, and the Bengals are consistently doing a better job in giving their QB time to make the pass – albeit with his help.

The Bengals have allowed a pressure rate of just 32.4 per cent this year, the fourth-best in the NFL, as Burrow has taken just 2.46 seconds to release the ball, the fifth-fastest average among QBs with 100 attempts.

It is Burrow's ability to work this quickly while maintaining a league-low pickable pass percentage of 1.53 that cuts him out as a star capable of again going to Kansas City and withstanding all they throw at him.

Patrick Mahomes, Chiefs vs Bengals

Mahomes is the one man who cannot be planned for. If he is on his game, there is surely no stopping the Chiefs superstar.

Happily for the Bengals, he was a long way from the Mahomes everyone knows in the second half of last year's AFC Championship Game, and his hopes of performing at peak level will be limited by injury this week.

A high ankle sprain would rule out just about any other QB, but Mahomes, no doubt determined to put right what went so wrong last year, is set to play.

Mahomes completed only eight of 18 passes after halftime in the Chiefs' 2021 defeat, throwing two interceptions for a remarkable passer rating of 12.3.

That was the sixth-lowest rating in the second half of a playoff game this century – not the sort of company the best QB in football is used to keeping.

But that passer rating in the second half against the Jacksonville Jaguars last week, when Mahomes was playing with an injury, was up at 110.7.

Even as he hobbled around the field, Mahomes was able to finish a fourth postseason game with a completion percentage above 70.0 (72.3) and multiple TD passes.

Only four players – Brady (six), Drew Brees (six), Troy Aikman (five) and Joe Montana (five) – have had more such performances. Mahomes has played just 12 playoff games in his career.

If that is the sort of form the Bengals can expect to find Mahomes in this week, with revenge on his mind, all the focus on that ankle might count for very little.

The Kansas City Chiefs will have Patrick Mahomes under center for Sunday’s AFC Championship game – not that there has been much doubt this week.

Despite suffering a high ankle sprain in last weekend's 27-20 Divisional-round win over the Jacksonville Jaguars, Mahomes was able to practice three times this week and declared "I'm ready to go” on Wednesday.

Chiefs head coach Andy Reid has confirmed that Mahomes would play in the AFC title game for the fifth year in a row on Sunday when the Chiefs host the Cincinnati Bengals.

"He looks good," Reid said on Friday. "I mean, he's moving around good. He's going to go out and play."

After Mahomes said on Wednesday that he would be fit, the quarterback began fielding questions about how much a sprained ankle might change his effectiveness or style of play.

"I feel like I can still do a lot of things," he said. "We'll see as we get closer and closer, and we'll see during the game.

"You can't fully do exactly what you're going to be doing in those moments in the game [in practice], but all I can do is prepare myself the best way possible and then when we get in the game, you hope adrenaline kind of takes over."

Mahomes returned to last Saturday’s game to help lead the Chiefs over the Jaguars, but he was clearly limping and was unable to pull off some of his signature improvisation due to his injury.

After a week of rehabilitation, neither Mahomes nor Reid are willing to say publicly if the 2018 NFL MVP will be able to run the entire playbook.

"We have enough in the game plan where you can kind of pick and choose where you want to go with it," he said. "You have a variety of things that you can go to. Obviously, you don't use all the plays in the game plan, but they're available and so if you have to go a certain direction, you can go that direction with the calls."

Meanwhile, the Bengals are not expecting Mahomes to be any less potent.

Cincinnati pass rusher Sam Hubbard said: "We're preparing for Patrick Mahomes like he's 100 per cent, because I'm sure he's going to be playing 100 per cent. That's all you can do."

Patrick Mahomes acknowledges he will be relying on "adrenaline" to carry him through an AFC Championship Game in which the Kansas City Chiefs will be thirsty for revenge against the Cincinnati Bengals.

Mahomes sustained a high ankle sprain last week, an injury that could have ruled the Chiefs quarterback out for the rest of the postseason.

But the MVP frontrunner is set for a swift recovery after his return to practice this week went "better than I expected".

Mahomes is still restricted in his movement, however, as he said on Thursday: "I feel like I can still do a lot of things, but we'll see as we get closer and closer.

"We'll see during the game. You can't fully do exactly what it's going to be like in those moments in the game.

"All I can do is prepare myself the best way possible, and then when we get in the game, you hope adrenaline takes over and you can make those throws when you need to."

The concern for the Chiefs is the Bengals won this game last year, again at Arrowhead Stadium, when Mahomes was fully fit.

This is the first time a conference championship has been repeated in consecutive years since the New England Patriots and the Baltimore Ravens played back-to-back AFC Championship Games in 2011 and 2012, with both of those in Foxborough.

However, the teams split those games. The Steelers, against the Houston Oilers in Pittsburgh in 1978 and 1979, are the only team to have beaten the same opposition at the same venue in successive conference championships.

The Bengals will be confident of joining that company, however, as they have won all three of their conference championship appearances, a record only bettered by the 5-0 New York Giants.

Cincy are also 3-0 in their past three games against the Chiefs, although the margin of victory has been just three points on each occasion. No team have ever won four consecutive games against a single opponent by exactly three points.

If nothing else, this is familiar territory for the Chiefs, who will have hosted five AFC Championship Games in a row.

No other team in either conference have hosted more than three straight championships, although Kansas City are 2-2 over the first four.

Two days after Andy Reid said Patrick Mahomes would play in Sunday's AFC championship game against the Cincinnati Bengals, the Kansas City Chiefs superstar quarterback reiterated his coach's sentiment.

'"AFC championship week," Mahomes said Wednesday. '"I'm ready to go."

Mahomes confirmed he would play four days after sustaining a high ankle sprain while being tackled by two Jacksonville Jaguars defenders towards the end of the first quarter of Kansas City's 27-20 divisional-round win.

He sat out Saturday's second quarter but after X-rays during the game came back negative, he returned in the second half to lead the Chiefs to a fifth straight AFC title game.

An MRI on Sunday showed no structural damage, and Mahomes said the right ankle is doing much better.

"It's doing good," he said. "I've done a few days of treatment, a few days of rehab. I'm excited to get on the practice field and kind of test it out and see where I'm at. But it's feeling good so far."

Wednesday marked the first of three practices for the Chiefs in preparation for the Bengals. Reid said Mahomes would go through a full practice without any limitations, so it appears the team is not too concerned with the injury.

Before practice, Mahomes was named a finalist for the NFL's Most Valuable Player Award.

The 2018 NFL MVP led the league with 5,250 passing yards and 41 touchdown passes while helping the Chiefs to an AFC-best 14-3 record.

Three of the four quarterbacks who have led their teams to their conference's championship game have been named finalists for the NFL's Most Valuable Player Award.

Kansas City Chiefs' Patrick Mahomes, Philadelphia Eagles' Jalen Hurts and Cincinnati Bengals' Joe Burrow are among the five finalists announced on Wednesday.

Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen and Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson were also tabbed as finalists.

Mahomes, the current betting favourite to win the honour for the second time in his career, Hurts and Jefferson are also finalists for Offensive Player of the Year along with Miami Dolphins wide receiver Tyreek Hill.

The 2018 NFL MVP led the league with 5,250 passing yards and 41 touchdown passes while helping the Chiefs to an AFC-best 14-3 record. Top-seeded Kansas City will host Burrow's Bengals in the conference title game on Sunday.

Hurts compiled 3,701 passing yards, 760 rushing yards and 35 total touchdowns to lead the Eagles to a 14-3 record and the NFC's No. 1 seed. Philadelphia will host a San Francisco 49ers team guided by quarterback Brock Purdy, one of three finalists for Offensive Rookie of the Year, in Sunday's conference championship.

Purdy, the final pick of the 2022 draft who has gone 7-0 since replacing an injured Jimmy Garoppolo, is joined by Seattle Seahawks running back Kenneth Walker and New York Jets wide receiver Garrett Wilson as finalists.

San Francisco's stout defence was also represented with end Nick Bosa one of three finalists for Defensive Player of the Year. Dallas Cowboys edge rusher Micah Parsons, the runner-up for the award last season, and Chiefs defensive tackle Chris Jones are also up for the honour.

49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan was also named a finalist for NFL Coach of the Year along with the New York Giants' Brian Daboll and Jacksonville Jaguars' Doug Pederson, both of whom directed their teams to playoff appearances in their first seasons.

San Francisco garnered two other award finalists in running back Christian McCaffrey and defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans. McCaffrey joins Giants running Saquon Barkley and Seahawks quarterback Geno Smith as candidates for Comeback Player of the Year, while Ryans is a finalist for Assistant Coach of the Year.

Eagles offensive coordinator Shane Steichen and Detroit Lions offensive coordinator Ben Johnson are the other Assistant Coach of the Year finalists.

The Defensive Rookie of the Year award will go to either Jets cornerback Ahmad "Sauce" Gardner, Lions defensive end Aidan Hutchinson or Seahawks corner Tariq Woolen.

All of this season's winners will be announced at the NFL Honors event in Phoenix on February 9, three days before Super Bowl LVII will be held at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizozna.

Voting was conducted before the start of the playoffs by a nationwide panel of 50 media members who regularly cover the league.

Patrick Mahomes is set on playing in the AFC Championship Game despite his ankle injury, says Andy Reid.

Mahomes sat out the second quarter on Saturday as the Kansas City Chiefs beat the Jacksonville Jaguars in the Divisional round.

He sustained a right ankle injury while being tackled by two Jaguars defenders towards the end of the first quarter.

The MVP favourite was listed as questionable but returned for the second half and, despite struggling to move freely, helped Kansas City win 27-20 and reach the conference title game for a fifth successive season.

Mahomes said after the game he would be "good to go" when the Chiefs face the Cincinnati Bengals.

And coach Reid told reporters on Monday the 27-year-old had done "amazing things with limited time" as he looks to ensure he can feature.

"He's worked hard in the treatment and is doing okay," Reid told reporters.

"He told you guys. He mentioned to you that he's going to play. That's his mindset. Then we'll just take it day by day and see how he does.

"As far as the reps, I'll have to see how he feels as we get ready for practice."

Reid also suggested the injury is not as serious as that Mahomes suffered at the start of the 2019 season, also against the Jaguars.

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