Plus, watch the Kansas City tight end scream in his 65-year-old coach's face in a second quarter outburst
: Gety Images/Ezra Shaw
Travis Kelce, the Super Bowl-winning boyfriend of Taylor Swift, redeemed himself after his meltdown on the sidelines by rallying Kansas City Chiefs with a “heartfelt” half-time speech, his teammates have revealed.
Wide receiver Mecole Hardman Jr, who caught the game-winning touchdown pass from quarterback Patrick Mahomes in overtime, described how Kelce’s stirring words “got the fire going.
Kelce earlier had to be restrained by a teammate after shoving 65-year-old coach Andy Reid, but the star player’s speech at half-time helped the team launch a memorable fightback in Las Vegas.
”(Kelce) really said something in there, just to get us focused and just let them know that we’re being ourselves, because obviously we didn’t play our best half,” he told NBC’s Today programme. “The defence was doing everything they needed to do, but the offence wasn’t producing. So Trav gave a little heartfelt speech at halftime that kind of got the fire going.”
Travis Kelce looked less than enthused pic.twitter/yncKhjtNl4
Kelce had an incredibly quiet first half by his lofty standards, with just one catch for one yard, as his team trailed the San Francisco 49ers 10-3 at the break.
With Swift watching on, he had taken issue with being on the sideline after a key offensive play in which Mahomes found Hardman with just over 13 minutes remaining before the half.
Kelce was then pulled from the game on the next play when Chiefs running back Isiah Pacheco fumbled.
As he headed back to the bench, Kelce confronted Reid, screaming in his face and pushing him, which saw his coach lose his footing before the player was dragged away by Jerrod McKinnon as he slammed his helmet to the ground.
Viewers criticised Kelce’s conduct, saying it was a “bad look” for arguably the most famous current NFL player.
Kelce, 34, later played down the rift after the Chiefs achieved an overtime victory to make it back-to-back Super Bowl wins. “I got the greatest coach this game has ever seen, he’s unbelievable,” he said.
“He’s one of the best leaders of men I’ve ever seen in my life, he’s helped me a lot in the past, with channelling that emotion, channelling that passion. And I owe my entire career to that guy and being able to control and being able to control how emotional I get, and I just love the guy.”
Reid also played down the incident. The veteran NFL coach joked to CBS: “He keeps me young. He tested that hip. He caught me off balancenormally I’d give him a little bit but you know what, I didn’t have any feet under me.”
Hardman, meanwhile, said he “blacked out for a second” amid the delirium of catching the game-winning touchdown pass from Mahomes.
“I don’t remember none of it, like literally when I caught the pass, I blacked out for a second,” Hardman told Today. “I guess the magnitude of the moment just got to me.
“But all I can remember is, after I caught it, I just see (Mahomes) running to me like, ‘You’re a champion!’ and I’m like, ‘Oh, we won! OK, bet.’ And then I started celebrating. But I definitely don’t remember nothing after I caught a ball.”
Hardman hinted at wild celebrations for the team in Las Vegas, adding: “Well you guys know what they say — what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas, right? But it’s been a little party, we went out to the party with the team after the game,” he said. “I kind of ventured off and did a little something here and there. But I’m here though, talking to y’all!”
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