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.
The Chiefs locked up their eighth consecutive AFC West championship last Sunday against none other than their try-too-hard rivals, the Cincinnati Bengals. Things got chippy, but the Chiefs were able to ride the thunder leg of Harrison Butker to seal up the No. 3 seed in the playoffs.
The brothers also discuss Carolina Panthers owner David Tepper's $300,000 temper tantrum and how Green Bay Packers cornerback Jaire Alexander anointed himself a team captain and went out for the opening coin flip in Green Bay's Week 16 game, and messed it up, getting himself suspended 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. No. 8 is pretty great
They say the best championship is the next one. And it's true. After the up-and-down year the Chiefs have had, it feels pretty rad to lock the AFC West up for an eighth consecutive season and get to flex for a hot second on the rest of the AFC West.
The fact that the Chiefs did it against their newest and perhaps most bitter rival at the moment, the Bengals, makes the victory all the more sweet.
For his part, Travis said it was the first time in a while that the energy felt right on the sideline.
"Guys were making plays. We had a really great week of preparation on the offensive side."
Continuing, he said that it felt like the offense was able to build some momentum, and it started in the trenches.
"It felt like we caught a rhythm there, and it all started with that offensive line. Guys came together and made a statement that we were going to control the line of scrimmage."
And what a statement it was: when the dust finally settled in Arrowhead Stadium on New Year's Eve, running back Isiah Pacheco had run for a career-high 130 yards on 18 carries, which caused players like Dallas Cowboys cornerback Jourdan Lewis to take notice.
Pacheco run like he bite people.— Jourdan Lewis (@JourdanJD) December 31, 2023
2. Red-zone struggles
Sure, the Chiefs failed to get into the end zone in the second half, but they were moving the ball so well, and placekicker Harrison Butker was so light out that it never felt like the Chiefs were struggling to score. On Wednesday's episode, Travis called Butker the team's safety net.
"Harrison Butker was dialed in for this one. 6 out of 6 on field goals."
When he was asked by Jason why the Chiefs are struggling to get the ball in the end zone, Travis pointed to the fact that opposing teams have switched up the way they defend the Chiefs in the red zone.
"A lot of teams are playing this goalline style defense once you get inside the 15," explained Travis. "Basically, keep it all in front of you, don't give up the touchdown. Hold it — and when teams are doing that, you have to be able to run the ball."
The defensive backs are playing off coverage to prevent any receiver from getting open in the end zone.
"The DBs are kind of sitting there on the goalline waiting on everything and kind of passing guys off in zones."
Regardless of what the defense does, Travis said the offense has to figure out a way to finish drives off.
"Needless to say, we have to be able to punch that thing in."
3. The Arrowhead effect and song requests from the sideline
Travis said another factor in the Chiefs' success against the Bengals was Chiefs Kingdom showing up in force at Arrowhead Stadium and losing their mind, screaming their heads off.
"The place was absolutely electric,” said Travis. “I mean the stadium — it was loud, it was ferocious— everybody was screaming their tale off."
He said that the team fed off of the fans going wild in the stands.
"We felt that on the sideline,” added Travis. "Sure enough, you get a big sack here, a big sack there, and suddenly everybody on the sideline is acting like crazed animals at the zoo."
The Chiefs' defense would go on to hold the Bengals to a total of 80 yards in the second half.
At one point during this frenzy, Chiefs linebacker Willie Gay Jr. flagged down a cameraman and told him to text somebody up in the sound booth to tell them to play the song Swag Surfin' by F.L.Y. (Fast Life Yungstaz).
"Go on and tell them to play ‘Swag Surfin,’ we really need it."
Sure enough, on the next defensive possession, the song's catchy hook that goes.
"I'm swaggin', I'm surfin', I'm clean like dish detergent, on Patron, yeah," blasted over the speakers in Arrowhead Stadium.
The song has become a bit of an anthem for the Chiefs' defense in recent years and a call to action of sorts to step up and make a play.
"Since I've been here, it's been a huge fourth quarter, big time moment, big time drive in the game [thing] for our defense. They [also] play a highlight video that has Swag Surf on it."
If you were on the Chiefs sideline and could call the booth and request any song you wanted, what song would you choose to set the place off?