Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce and his older brother — Philadelphia Eagles center Jason Kelce — host a weekly podcast called "New Heights." The title is an homage to the Cleveland Heights, Ohio, neighborhood in which they grew up.
In the latest episode, Travis discussed the Chiefs’ disappointing 24-9 loss to the Denver Broncos, which saw Kansas City’s eight-year, 16-game winning streak against Denver come to an end. Travis went into great detail about the team’s offensive struggles — and said that it is up to leaders like himself to step up and get it right before things get out of control.
"New Heights" with Jason & Travis Kelce | Jukes Original Presented by Wave Sports + Entertainment | You can also listen to the show on Spotify.
1. Losing to Denver sucks
You never want your team to lose a game. You especially don’t want to see it lose to a divisional opponent. And — dear Lord! — you never want to watch it lose to a divisional opponent it has beaten 16 straight times!
Travis nicely summarized how we’re feeling.
“F*ck... that’s embarrassing!”
Broncos celebrate win vs Chiefs with Taylor Swift music pic.twitter.com/3TFdN8InJC— Yahoo Sports (@YahooSports) October 29, 2023
Against the Broncos, the Chiefs never looked comfortable. They looked disjointed. And Travis said the whole game felt awkward.
“You talk about that sense of urgency on the sideline? It didn’t feel like we had too much of that,” he recalled. “And when we finally had that sense of urgency, we turned the ball over.”
He went on to say the loss felt like having your heart ripped out of your chest.
I agree with him. Losing to Denver sucks. I hope the Chiefs don’t do it again.
2. The offense has to stop killing itself
Travis believes the contrast between the effort (and performance) of the team’s defense and offense is unacceptable
“Our defense is playing their tail off, man. And for us to keep turning it over and putting them in bad positions — and them saving our tail? It’s getting real one-sided.
“I don’t think I’ve been in a situation where we’ve stalled this much... it’s just frustrating, man.”
But for Travis, the offense’s inability to finish drives is the biggest issue.
“Not putting up touchdowns — week after week — is getting old,” he said. “It’s getting old to watch. I know it, Chiefs Kingdom — I know it is.”
It’s true: under head coach Andy Reid, Kansas City fans have become accustomed to a certain level of offensive excellence. Travis and his teammates know they are not living up to those expectations.
“We’ve got the best offensive mind in the game,” he declared. “We’ve got the best quarterback. So this is unacceptable — and we all feel that way. Don’t think that we’re not in this thing [and] feeling the urgency. We’ve just got to go out there and freaking do it.”
For Travis, fixing the problem starts with everyone avoiding mistakes — including himself.
“It starts with not killing ourselves,” he said.
That covers a lot of ground.
“Just guys running the wrong routes,” he said — and raised his hand.
“Guys not making blocks. Guys dropping the football.” He raised his hand again — and again.
“It’s a challenge at this point in the season,” he concluded, “to get this thing right — right now — before it gets out of control and it gets really bad.”
3. It’s time for a gut check
Travis said that the team is at a tipping point. Will it step up and fix the mistakes, or continue to struggle?
“One of the things we wanted to do this week was attack,” he explained. “Don’t go in there trying to feel the game out. Just be on the attack.
“I think rewatching that film, Denver just had a lot more energy... [It’s] making me sick to my stomach to feel (or even say), but we’ve got to have a gut check — especially on the offensive side of the ball.”
But Travis wasn’t pointing a finger at others — at least not without first pointing a finger at himself. He is embarrassed by his own performance,
“Everybody is looking each other in the eyes, trying to figure it out — and trying to make sure that we do this thing the right way. And [we’re] not necessarily [saying] ‘Burn the ships!” and everything like that — but definitely “Circle the wagons!’
“We still have the determination to get better. It’s like your boy Rocky said: ‘It’s not about how hard you can hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward — how much you can take and keep moving forward — because that’s how winning is done.’”