Travis Kelce has defended his Super Bowl run-in with head-coach Andy Reid, claiming he was “fired up” about his side’s lacklustre first-half performance.
Although his Chiefs would go on to down the 49ers 25-22 with a touchdown deep in overtime, Kelce’s side struggled to get into the contest in the first half.
In the second quarter, cameras caught the moment Kelce grabbed at and screamed in the face of his 65-year-old coach, causing him to stumble.
AS IT HAPPENED: Super Bowl 2024
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It appeared at the time Kelce was angry he wasn’t on the field for the play and yelled at Reid to keep him in the game. He had to that point taken only one catch and gained only one yard.
Speaking on ESPN following the game, Kelce gave a somewhat tongue-in-cheek explanation.
“Man, I was fired up — I was fired up that we weren’t hitting on all cylinders,” he said.
“I had to give ‘Big Red’ a love tap and let him know that we were all here fighting for him no matter what.
“I just had to tell him I loved him real quick.
“I put so much trust in him and how he goes about being a head coach, as a leader – he’s one of the best leaders in the game. I can’t thank him enough for giving me opportunities year in, year out.
“This third (Super Bowl victory), this second one back-to-back, this one’s for him, no doubt.”
Despite barely having an impact on the first half, the Kansas City tight end rallied to finish with nine receptions for 93 yards, including a crucial catch in overtime.
One play after Kelce’s reception put the Chiefs on the 3-yard line, Patrick Mahomes found Mecole Hardman alone in the end zone for the winning TD.
After Kelce’s aggressive exchange with coach Reid, criticism flowed, with the star player labelled a “thug” and “certified egomaniac”. Some even believed he shouldn’t have been allowed to return to the field. However, Reid in his own press conference suggested the incident looked far worse than it was.
“He caught me off balance … I wasn’t watching,” he said.
“He was really coming over (saying) ‘just put me in, I’ll score. I’ll score.’ So, that’s really what it was.
“I love that. It’s not the first time. I appreciate him.”
Indeed it was the second sideline incident involving Kelce and Reid this season. During a game against the Raiders on Christmas Day, Kelce spiked his helmet on the sideline, and when a staff member tried to hand it back to the tight end so that he could take the field, Reid grabbed the helmet and refused to give it back.
The close relationship between the Kelce family and coach Reid dates back over a decade, with the star tight-end’s older brother Jason drafted to the Eagles by the veteran coach in 2011, before Travis was selected by the Chiefs a few years later.
Reid said he is usually able to give as much as he gets.
“The part I love is he loves to play the game and he wants to help his team win. It’s not a selfish thing. That’s not what it is. I understand that,” Reid said.
“As much as he bumps into me, I get after him and we understand that. He just caught me off balance.”
The pair reportedly hugged and celebrated their historic victory together on the field, but the moment was missed by cameras.
The Chiefs’ Super Bowl victory ensured Kelce kept a promise made to girlfriend Taylor Swift last week to “bring home some hardware”, after the singer won her fourth career Grammy for album of the year.