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.
Both the Chiefs and Eagles lost again this past weekend. You can sense the frustration in both of their voices when they are discussing their respective games. Travis breaks down the catch and lateral to Kadarius Toney, which was called back — and he gets a little salty in the process.
"New Heights" with Jason & Travis Kelce | Jukes Original Presented by Wave Sports + Entertainment | You can also listen to the show on Spotify.
1. Travis claps back at the media
Travis set aside his usually affable personality for a moment to take issue with some of the criticisms his teammates have received in the media over the last few weeks. "
"We're not rolling like we have been in the past, and I know there is a lot of media pointing fingers at some of the skill players we have — I say f—k that."
Picking up steam, he continued his lecture.
"Excuse my language — I know we usually cuss in lighthearted ways — but I felt like you guys had to feel that," said Travis. "Whoever is talking s—t on the skill players in our offense right now, it's a group effort, and when you turn the film on, what's real is that we got guys who can play this game. We got guys that we can have success with, and win with, and win championships with."
Doubling down, Travis leaned on his substantial résumé to prove he knows what he is talking about.
"I know it, I've been on championship-caliber teams. When you watch the film, it's penalties in critical moments, it's turnovers in critical moments, and it's not one guy."
Travis has a reputation as being a team-first guy. He is loved in the locker room. He is the greatest ever to play his position. He doesn't make excuses for his mistakes. So it makes sense that he would come to his teammates' defense.
We've all felt the subpar play by the Chiefs' skill players this season. Travis is having a good year in his own right, but even his numbers are depressed due to the talent deficit around him.
"We're not rolling like we have in the past," added Travis, highlighting that the thing that is killing this team is mistakes and penalties in crucial moments in the game.
Certain players on this offense are repeat offenders of these mistakes. It's easy to give a guy a pass when he is also producing at a high level and is a reason for your success, but it gets harder to do that when you have guys like wide receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling, who have only caught 19 passes for 295 yards despite running over 350-plus routes this season.
2. The offense playing poorly
Travis continued his speech by saying the defense is doing everything they can to keep the team in the game, admitting that the offense isn't carrying its weight, while also promising that they are doing everything they can to right the ship.
"We're battling our tale off, and we're figuring out what sort of team we are in a different way."
That's all well and fine, but it's not like it's September, and these guys are still trying to figure it out — we're in Week 15. With every game that passes, the clock gets closer to striking midnight on the season. The time to figure it out has passed. It's time to perform.
Travis' frustration with journalists continued, calling out the media once again for their commentary on the team's performance.
"All this I hear in the media right now about who the Chiefs are, it's only building that beast, that we've been trying to create this entire year — it's only going to keep making us better and better, going through these learning experiences and going through these tough games."
3. The play that wasn't
The Chiefs were down by three points with a little over a minute left in the game when Travis ran a deep cross across the middle. After the catch, Travis reversed the field for a significant gain before lateralling the ball across the field to Kadarius Toney, who caught the backward pass and took it to the house.
Insane play by Travis Kelce but Toney was offsides. BRUTAL pic.twitter.com/c8REXqiK0x— Bussin' With The Boys (@BussinWTB) December 11, 2023
There was just one problem. Toney lined up offsides. The referee flagged him for it, negating the play and the subsequent touchdown.
"It was such a bang, bang [play], I caught it and turned upfield, saw the single-high safety coming down," began Travis. "I knew I had broken the containing angle of the guy chasing me, and when I made the safety who was coming down to tackle me — when I broke his angle, I knew it was one on one.
"He (the defender) was the only one left... KT (Toney) was over there from the route he ran, and I saw him out of the corner of my eye... I knew if I could get him the ball, he could score a touchdown."
That being said, Kelce said that he purposely avoided head coach Andy Reid when he got back to the sideline, adding that although the improvisation worked, it wasn't something he was sure Reid would approve of.
"In retrospect, can you imagine if that got tipped?" laughed Travis, acknowledging how easily things could have gone wrong.