Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce and his older brother, Philadelphia Eagles center Jason Kelce, recently launched their new podcast, “New Heights,” which is an homage to the Cleveland Heights, Ohio, the neighborhood where they grew up in. New episodes drop each Wednesday. We will extract the best Chiefs-related highlights from each podcast and discuss them here. Let’s talk about episode No. 4.
1. No excuses, catch the ball
In what has become a calling card of the Kelce brothers podcast, older brother Jason didn’t pull any punches, coming hot out of the gate mentioning his younger brother's Week 3 loss to the Indianapolis Colts.
“The Kelce’s are no longer undefeated, thanks to Travis and the Chiefs losing their first game to the Colts, 20-17.”
To which Travis replied, “F—k!”
It was a brutal and refreshing opening to the latest edition of New Heights, which pretty much embodies everything Chiefs fans felt last Sunday as Kansas City snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.
It would be easy for Travis to make an excuse about why the Chiefs lost the game. He had a decent day, catching four passes for 58 yards and a touchdown. But decent isn’t the standard when you are a future Pro Football Hall of Famer.
“It’s just an embarrassing performance, on my end,” continued Travis, “I know I had at least four opportunities to come up big for my team... I just got to catch the frickin’ ball man. It was a great ball by Pat (Mahomes).”
The pass Travis was referring to, came halfway through the fourth quarter with the Chiefs still clinging onto a 17-13 lead. Mahomes threw a perfect ball to Kelce in the end zone, and it bounced right off his hands. The touchdown would have sealed the game and ensured a Chiefs victory. It’s a catch that Kelce has made a career out of bringing in.
True to form, Travis didn’t mince words when Jason asked him why he dropped the pass—
“Lack of focus... there is no excuse at all as to why I dropped the ball,” explained Kelce. “My focus had moved on from catching the ball to making sure my feet were down. I just have to lock in mentally and differentiate the two, catch the ball first and then worry about the feet.”
2. Mahomes and Bieniemy’s sideline conversation
Just before halftime last week, the sideline cameras caught offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy and star quarterback Patrick Mahomes in what appeared to be a tense conversation. Mahomes was visibly upset that the Chiefs decided to run out the clock instead of attempting to score.
Here's the exchange between Patrick Mahomes and Offensive Coordinator Eric Bieniemy at the end of the half.— Hayley Lewis (@HayleyLewisKSHB) September 25, 2022
Mahomes looks to be unhappy about the call to run the ball on 2nd and 20 and run down the clock to end the 1st half. Andy Reid steps in.#Chiefs #Colts #Chiefskingdom pic.twitter.com/cvkyWebjyZ
It had been a messy first half, as special teams and offense both looked sloppy and out of sync. It was second-and-20 and the Chiefs were not close to field goal range, and replacement kicker Matt Ammendola was having a day so terrible that it may have ended his career.
When he was asked about it, Travis stared off by saying that he loves both of them.
“I mean it’s two guys who are fired up who love playing the game, and who love coaching. They put all of their heart into it, and it’s a situation like we had in the first half where I don’t think we were necessarily on fire. We were struggling.
“You know — you’re going to have guys bumping heads on what we think should happen or what we should do in the future, and we were getting the ball at the half, so I understand both sides of the story.”
Any time your franchise quarterback and your offensive coordinator have a public disagreement, it’s going to be blown out of proportion like it’s the ”Real Housewives of Beverly Hills,” but in Travis’ mind, it was just the byproduct of two men who are dedicated to their craft.
“You’re going to see that in every single locker room. You’re going to see that on every single sideline. If the cameras are on the sideline — it’s a heated battle, man — guys are putting everything they can into this, so every single decision matters... I don’t think we were right or wrong with whichever decision we made.”
3. Attack everything
When Travis was asked how the Chiefs move forward after such a disappointing loss, the Chiefs tight end said that they needed to “attack everything.”
“Attack your fundamentals, attack your mindset, attack your focus,” he continued, explaining his thought process. “Be your own biggest critic when you watch the film, find ways to keep getting better.
“That’s why I love coach [Andy] Reid man, he’s going to challenge you right here. He’s going to challenge you as a man. As a professional, he’s going to challenge you about your job and what your livelihood is. And how are you going to respond to that?”
There is no time to lick your wounds in the NFL. If you’re not looking in the mirror and trying to get better then your not going to last very long in this league. It’s a tough and brutal game, and only those who are the most honest with themselves and the most dedicated to improvement endure.
“We’ve already started the process of figuring out how to overcome last week” declared Travis. “It starts with every single decision you make. What time am I getting up tomorrow, so that I can get into the facility and get my work done?
“You just keep knocking out the right decision time after time, day after day — when you’re in practice, your focus is. What are the intentions of this play call? What am I trying to do? How can I help 1- 5 (Mahomes) back here? How can I help these running backs get downhill?
“It’s the ultimate focus you have to have... the players who sustain in this league: they keep finding a way to get better, even when you have a terrible game and don’t show your best.”