WHO: Patrick Mahomes, the Tyler native and Texas Tech star who’s grown into the NFL’s best quarterback.
WHAT: His favorite burger chain (and probably yours, too).
WHY IT’S SO GREAT: It’s no secret that many Texans base perhaps a slightly ridiculous chunk of their identities on an affinity for Whataburger. But also: Whataburger’s food is delicious, the vast majority of its restaurants are in Texas, and every time we are out of the state for a sustained period of time, we miss it. Most of us, however, aren’t in a position to start our own franchise group in order to bring Whataburger to wherever the siren call of life, love, or employment has pulled us.
Patrick Mahomes, of course, is built different from the rest of us—look, here’s proof!—and that also applies to how the Kansas City Chiefs quarterback feeds his Whataburger cravings. According to Yahoo! Sports, Mahomes and a group of investors operating under the name KMO Burger plan to open thirty Whataburger locations in Missouri and Kansas over the next seven years—ensuring that on Mahomes’s cheat days, he’ll be able to order a No. 3 with jalapeños whenever he feels the urge.
“Obviously, being from Texas, you have a lot of Texas pride. And Whataburger is kind of at the forefront of that,” Mahomes told NBC Sports, echoing a sentiment once parodied in the Onion. “I’ve always ate Whataburger since I was a little kid. And then when I got older, I’d babysit my brother, and there was a Whataburger literally down the street. And we would always grab that and kind of have that while my mom was working.” That is the Whataburger experience of many a Texan, and waving the orange-and-white banner while relating his childhood connection to the brand can only bolster Mahomes’s current standing as one of Texas’s most charming ambassadors.
It’s not uncommon for athletes to invest in fast-food franchises, either, though their reasons aren’t always as sentimental as those behind Mahomes’s Whataburger boosterism. University of Texas legend Colt McCoy decided to pay forward (and profit from) his fondness for Dunkin’ Donuts by opening dozens of locations around Austin; former New Orleans Saints running back Deuce McAllister invested in the chain McAlister’s Deli just because of its name. Former Super Bowl MVP and Austin native Drew Brees developed a taste for Jimmy John’s while playing college football in Indiana, and he brought the chain to New Orleans while playing quarterback for the Saints. By bringing Whataburger to Kansas City, Mahomes isn’t pioneering the role of athlete turned franchisee—he’s merely doing what he did with the quarterback position: perfecting it.