Is Travis Kelce out of his natural mind?
That was the question on millions of lips when CBS cameras captured the Kansas City star screaming in Andy Reid’s face and body-checking the Chiefs coach on the sideline, to the point that left the 65-year-old reeling. Kelce appeared angry about Reid’s decision to take him off the field in the second quarter of Sunday’s Super Bowl as the Chiefs drove toward the San Francisco 49ers’ goal line. Just as the Chiefs were about to score, running back Isiah Pacheco coughed up the ball, and San Francisco recovered to maintain a 3-0 lead.
The reactions to Kelce’s outburst came quickly and strongly. “Hey kids, never mix your 7th COVID Booster with Bud Light,” conservative commentator Benny Johnson wrote on X, nodding to Kelce’s endorsement relationship with Pfizer and Anheuser-Busch’s politically charged beer brand. “What a disgrace this man is.”
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“If I was, I would have been ejected from the league,” Philadelphia Eagles receiver AJ Brown tweeted, suggesting racial bias may have played a role in the officials’ decision not to eject Kelce from the game.
If it had been Dallas’ CeeDee Lamb, Pittsburgh’s George Pickens or any other black receiver who unloaded on his coach like that, the prevailing narrative would have been very different. But Kelce’s white privilege, along with his status as the very best in his position, gives him wide latitude; it makes him passionatenot overdone aggressive. CBS’ Tony Romo quickly downplayed the incident, calmly explaining that Kelce just wanted to get back into the game to help his team win — and sure enough, he was back on the field for Kansas City’s next possession.
When the Chiefs beat the Niners 25-22 in overtime, the tantrum was water under the bridge. After the game, Reid jokingly flagged Kelce for shooting him cheaply. “He was emotional today,” Reid said. ‘I have five children and I know how that goes. What I like is that he likes to play the game and he wants to help his team win.”
The two also made up during the game, with Kelce hugging Reid on the sideline later in the first half. After the game, Kelce said of his outburst, “I just told him how much I love him.” But he won’t be able to hold back anymore when the audio from the NFL Films microphone he wore during the game comes out.
It would have been nice to hear Kelce publicly apologize to Reid for disrespecting him so prominently. Instead, Kelce went on about their special relationship. “I have the best coach this game has ever seen,” he said. “He is one of the best men’s leaders I have ever seen in my life. I owe my entire career to that man and the way I can control my emotions.
But still, you got the sense that this was more than Kelce’s fierce competitiveness. After all, he’s in a completely different league now. This time last year, he was just a famous NFL player. Now, at least a few weeks in, it is no exaggeration to say that he has become one of the most famous men in the world. While in the past he only had to consider his professional legacy while playing in Super Bowls, he is now Taylor Swift’s boyfriend, and she flew halfway around the world to cheer him on, with her army of fans and dozens more millions more. therefore focused on the game. Before Swift could settle into her luxury suite with an entourage that included Kelce’s brother, Jason, actor Blake Lively and the rapper Ice Spice, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell showed up to welcome her. There was even (unfounded) speculation that Kelce might propose to Swift after the game. That’s a lot of pressure, enough to make Kelce panic.
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In a pregame speech, Kelce brought teammates to tears when he said he “wanted this more than I’ve ever wanted a Super Bowl in my life.” And while Kelce certainly referenced the prospect of winning the NFL’s first consecutive championship in two decades and solidifying the Chiefs’ place among the league’s great dynasties, there’s no doubt he wanted to ride off into the sunset with the pop -superstar. , at.
Kelce initially struggled against a Niners defense that was called in to stop him, yielding just one catch for yardage in the first half. Watching him blow up against Reid, it was hard not to be reminded of David Beckham’s 1998 World Cup knockout of Diego Simeone as the tension of his public relationship with Posh Spice reached fever pitch.
But then Patrick Mahomes took over the game late in the second half and started connecting with Kelce for big plays. Two Kelce grabs late in the fourth quarter helped the Chiefs tie the game at 13-13. Facing third and seven from the Niners 33 with 16 seconds left, Kelce laid out a short pass of 70 feet and reached a top speed of 19.68 mph. his fastest speed as a ball carrier according to NFL Next Gen Stats over the past seven seasons.
That The outburst, which forced overtime — and is notable for a player who should be declining physically at age 34 — led to more social media snapping about how Swift has made him faster And the NFL richer since taking a stake. On the Chiefs’ final drive, Mahomes found Kelce for a short gain that he stretched for seven yards, setting up the quarterback’s game-winning toss to Mecole Hardman a play later. In total, Kelce finished with 93 yards on nine catches, putting him even further ahead of Jerry Rice on the all-time postseason receptions list.
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Onstage after the match, Kelce reprized his wrestling heel persona, shaking off retirement rumors, stoking excitement for a third straight title run and closing with raucous renditions of Fight For Your Right and Viva Las Vegas – as if Usher hadn’t just done that. crushed the halftime show. “The goal has always been to get three,” he roared. “But we couldn’t get here without getting the two and having the target on our back all year. The men we just won this thing with, forever family, baby; I couldn’t be more proud of you.”
But Kelce’s revue seemed stale – even for Sin City – in light of recent events. Ultimately, it must have been a relief to be able to walk off the field under a shower of confetti with Swift on his arm – the two sang You Belong With Me to each other at the Chiefs Super Bowl after-party. But if the tide had turned the other way — if, for example, officials had decided to send Kelce away for his outburst at Reid — we’d say it was the tight end, not the Niners, who lost out.