Plenty of charged emotions led up to the AFC Championship game between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Baltimore Ravens, including notable pregame antics from an unexpected source. On Friday, Chiefs’ tight end Travis Kelce spoke to the media about the preparation that led to the Chiefs’ victory.
“I think it's what we saw on film from their defense,” Kelce said when asked what got the offense “pumped up” for this game. “Guys flying around, playing to the whistle and kind of trying to impose their will on guys, and we knew that we had to meet that kind of mentality ourselves.”
The road to the Super Bowl proved to be more difficult this time around. Unlike in years past, success was not as easy to come by this season for the offense, contributing to the loss of the “Arrowhead Invitational.”
Kelce said that the teams’ regular season struggles were a factor in his overall health.
“This year I think the fact that we weren’t winning kind of piled up on how I was feeling physically, and you can just catch yourself in a you know, just like a darker room, I guess if that makes sense,” said Kelce. “Being able to find some ways to win, kind of rally with the group, find a way to win the division, still find a way to get into the playoffs, and get to where we are today — it just makes it that much more fun.”
After losing on Christmas Day at home to the Las Vegas Raiders, the Chiefs found their footing and have not lost since. Kelce credits head coach Andy Reid’s unwavering confidence for the team’s timely turnaround.
“Coach Reid does a great job of rechanneling that mindset every single week and presenting a challenge against the defense or the offense of just the team that we’re going against in the near future,” he explained. “And this week, [there’s] no better time to challenge everybody in that building — he’s got everybody fired up.”
The Chiefs will play in their fourth Super Bowl in five years, and this will be the second time they face the San Francisco 49ers in the big game. Kelce said that the week before was full of excitement, no matter how many times the Chiefs had experienced it.
“It’s the biggest stage in the world, man, and that Monday night, that’s going to be kind of where it starts for everybody,” Kelce said of the week leading up to the Super Bowl. “It’s an exciting time, it’s a once-in-a-lifetime type of thing that I’ve been able to enjoy a few times, man.”
When Kelce reflects on this season, the 11-year veteran can appreciate the adversity the team has had to overcome to reach this point.
“When you look back on it, it was definitely a time of like now or never, let’s refocus, let’s get this thing going,” Kelce reflected. “But at the same time, every journey is different, so it’s definitely appreciated that we had to go through that but it don’t mean nothing if you don’t come out of this last game with a victory.”