- a strip of hair left to grow above the upper lip.
Origin: late 16th century: from French and Italian mostaccio, from Greek mustax, mustak-.
On Monday, a handful of Kansas City Chiefs players arrived at practice sporting lip toupees.
Mustache Monday: Who wore it best? pic.twitter.com/EKsj2oqLiJ— Kansas City Chiefs (@Chiefs) August 2, 2021
Social media instantly exploded over the news— I mean who would have possibly thought that a group of men in their twenties who are isolated away from their significant others, would decide to show up to practice looking like the cast of Super Troopers.
I mean, stop the presses — am I right?
At this point, the excitement over the Chiefs players' lip foliage has grown to such a crescendo that one we must legitimately ask ourselves:
Is this bigger than Kelce/Kels-gate 2021?
When tight end Travis Kelce — the ringleader of the face lace crew — was asked about his upper lipholstery after the team’s training camp practice on Wednesday, he proudly boasted that he and wide receiver Gerig Dieter were the masterminds behind the shenanigans.
“I mean, Mustache Mondays baby,” he said. “I shot a text to a few guys, told Dieter, [that] we were doing it, and Dieter got on board. He made sure he let everybody know. We talked [to] the O-line, got a few [of the] guys on the line to jump in with us. We even got Andy Reid to jump in with us... He usually doesn’t jump in on things like that, but this time, Mustache Monday is all about him.”
Despite being the party's organizer, Kelce said has no illusions: head coach Andy Reid is the true mustache master.
“Coach Reid takes it, man,” he declared. “He’s had that thing sitting there for a good 40 years now — I don't even know. I got to ask him when was the last time he shaved that sucker. The only picture I can find [of him without one] is him at BYU— [he] kind of looks like Chris Farley, R.I.P.”
Even with those bangs, Reid looks a little bit better than Farley did. But at the end of the day, it’s not really about mustaches at all. It’s about keeping things light and building camaraderie with your teammates.
“It keeps training camp fun,” remarked Kelce. “And you know, it builds chemistry. It gets guys, you know, rallying together for whatever reason. Have some fun, go out there, get fired up for a Monday after a Sunday off. And, you know, it just is little stuff like that, that kind of gets you through the dog days of training camp and, you know, who knows what this team can be. Right? So right now, we just take every single day to bond a connection with each other so that we can give ourselves the best chance to play for each other when it comes Sunday.”
Unfortunately, all this mustache-a-palooza may be for naught. Kelce said his misplaced eyebrow might be not long for this world.
“I’ve got to ask Kayla,” he said, referring to his longtime girlfriend, “I got to ask my lady. I don’t know. We’ll see. She’s not a fan of it right now — but sometimes, you know, not everybody likes something new. You got to get used to it. So we’ll see. I’ll probably stick it out another week.”
But for Kelce and his teammates, it hasn’t all been mustaches and games. Since training camp’s full practices began, the entire tight end group has flashed the sort of potential that leaves visions of three tight end sets dancing in your head. Fifth-round pick Noah Gray, in particular, has seemed to find open space and haul in a few really nice catches.
“Oh, yeah. He’s going to help us this year,” maintained Kelce. “There’s so much you have to do in this offense as a tight end... Noah’s doing a great job of just getting that playbook and being able to go out there on the snap of the ball, play with confidence, play fast — and from there, it’s just every rep you get, you learn something and you can watch other guys and figure out how you want to attack certain defenses with those reps. And I think he’s doing a great job of just going to work here in training camp — and then trying to become the best football player you can be.”
Kelce pointed out that he and Gray have some similarities in how they approach the game.
“It’s as simple as just understanding the game, understanding what the defense is presenting,” he explained. “When you understand the voids in the zones that they’re in, you understand where to go and where to be and when to be there. And I think Noah has a great feel for that. It’s something that you can try and teach, but you really got to get somebody that’s confident in their ability to go out there and do it right? And that’s what Noah brings to the table.”
Kelce said that like himself, Gray has experience as a quarterback in his background.
“So I mean, any time you’re back there and you’re reading defenses, you start to feel where you want guys to go, right? And, you know, I was a quarterback. I wasn’t very good, but I understood where I wanted guys to be versus certain coverages while I was back there. And I think that’s naturally just made me more comfortable, and when I see is a certain defense, [I know] where I need to be and how I can make it easier on the quarterback to get there.”
But it’s not just Gray who’s working to get better. Kelce didn’t become the best in the league by resting on his laurels. He’s been a meticulous grinder since he came into the league — and part of that has been recognizing where he needs to improve.
“I always have to get better in the run game, be more accountable in the run game for guys like Clyde (Edwards-Hellaire) and Dirty (Darrel Williams) — and even Jet,” said Kelce, referring to wide receiver Mecole Hardman, “[It’s the] little things like always just being accountable. You can always find voids versus certain types of defenses. And that’s the biggest thing, is just getting on the same page as the quarterbacks and making sure that everybody is understanding of what we’re trying to get done. And if something, you know, needs to get tweaked, talk about it and communicate about it. But other than that, man, I’m just trying to be accountable. As the offense changes, new things are going to be presented, and you’ve got to be ready for all of it.”
It’s not just the top of the roster that has Kelce excited. He thinks that the Chiefs have some legitimate depth at his position.
“The Belldozer, baby — man, it’s good to have him back in the building,” he said of veteran tight end Blake Bell, who re-signed with the Chiefs in the offseason. “Just a guy that loves to play football, loves to come into the office and get after it... having another vet in [the tight end] room to bounce ideas off of, to hear what he has to say on a lot of different things. So we’re just non-stop learning in there. And it helps the younger guys like Noah, and Jody (Fortson), Evan (Baylis) — and then, I mean, you throw in Keiz (Nick Keizer), a guy that was here all last year, being a staple for us at the Y.”
Kelce knows — mustaches or not — that with all of the talent that the Chiefs have at tight end, things are going to get hairy when it comes time for the team to trim down to the final 53-man roster.
“And I mean, it’s just right now we have a great room. And we’re definitely going to make it tough on Coach Reid and Brett Veach to just single it down to a few guys, man — because everybody’s out there playing fast, playing aggressive and playing great football.”