Back in 2017, Arians coached the Arizona Cardinals and the team was planning to pick Mahomes with the draft's No. 13 overall pick, league sources told ESPN. Prior to that draft, the Cardinals sent a large contingent of officials, including Arians and team president Michael Bidwell, to Texas Tech to work out Mahomes.
What they saw that day stayed with them.
"He probably had the best workout of any kid I went and worked out personally -- he and Andrew Luck were the two by far on the board," Arians recalled this past week while preparing for Sunday's game against Mahomes. "Unbelievable ability."
Arizona planned to take Mahomes and even attempted to trade up in the draft to get him. But before they could, the Chiefs beat them to it, trading up to the No. 10 spot, three slots in front of Arizona.
That changed the course of both franchises, and Arians will be reminded of it again Sunday. The Cardinals stayed at No. 13, drafted Temple linebacker Haason Reddick in 2017 and then quarterback Josh Rosen in 2018.
Arians retired as coach after the 2017 season before returning to the league as Tampa Bay's coach ahead of the 2019 season.
That day that the Cardinals spent in Lubbock, Texas, also helped bring about another result. It gave Cardinals officials the chance to spend extensive time with then-Red Raiders coach Kliff Kingsbury, who left his own mark on team officials.
One year later, Arizona hired Kingsbury as its head coach.
Arizona lost out on Mahomes but landed Kingsbury, which also led to landing Kyler Murray.