Not all Kansas City Chiefs gear is created equal.
One shirt, that has been sitting on — or perhaps flying off — Hy-Vee shelves for about a week now, was designed by the star quarterback himself, Patrick Mahomes. And a native Topekan helped Mahomes bring the idea to life.
John Doole, a graduate of Topeka West High School, is owner of Ultimate Athletic Sportswear in Parkville, Mo., just north of Kansas City. Ultimate Athletic Sportswear, Doole said, has a partnership with Patrick Mahomes and the 15 and the Mahomies Foundation to produce all of the quarterback's clothing for distribution in Kansas and Missouri.
"We manufacture his clothing line right here in the kingdom," Doole said.
Ultimate Athletic Sportswear is the same company that produced the Mahomes wig and headband that has become popular among Chiefs fans this season.
Doole said his company was already working with Mahomes to roll out new apparel celebrating the one-year anniversary of the NFL naming Mahomes 2018's Most Valuable Player when it became clear the Chiefs might end up going to the Super Bowl.
At that point, Doole's company started exchanging new T-shirt ideas with Mahomes, narrowing the design to four or five possibilities. But just before it was time to get the screen-printing presses rolling, Mahomes had a critique of the shirt.
"When it was time to go, our shirts said it was all about Patrick Mahomes," Doole said. "It was his picture. It was his name — Mahomes, 'King of the Kingdom,' all kinds of stuff. And he specifically said, 'No. We need to make this about the kingdom and reward the fans.'
"So he changed everything and made it 'For the Kingdom.' Those are his words."
The T-shirt Mahomes designed comes in red or dark gray. It features a picture of Mahomes in the forefront with the outline of a football field in the background and the phrases "For the Kingdom" and "Miami 2020." It's a nod not only to the Chiefs' star player, but also to the team's Super Bowl appearance and the fans who were along for the ride.
"Fans have the ability to buy an exclusive product that is ordained by Patrick," Doole said. "His autograph is screen printed on every shirt. It has his official logo on there."
The shirt is sold exclusively at Hy-Vee stores in Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska and Iowa. Doole said they're one-of-a-kind and limited-edition.
"Whereas, there are over 50 companies that do Super Bowl merchandise," he added, "there is only one shirt where you can get Patrick Mahomes with this graphic. It’s a no-brainer if you’re a collector."
Adam Green, assistant director of store operations for Hy-Vee in Topeka, said he thinks the new T-shirt design is "awesome" and he expects the apparel to go fast.
"I'd say people are very interested — and definitely anything Patrick Mahomes is a plus," Green said.