Based on his recent off-field endeavors, Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce is not exactly shy with the spotlight. As such, he should feel comfortable with the media circus in Las Vegas as his team prepares to face the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl LVIII.
“I just love it,” he confirmed in a media appearance on Wednesday. “I love seeing my teammates get to show their personalities [and] get to tell their stories. Coming up here is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that I’ve been able to go through a few times. I guess I’m just comfortable in the atmosphere and the chaos that goes around us.
Media availability starts in 14 minutes. Kelce’s podium has looked like this for at least a full hour. pic.twitter.com/SvBnEEhzVr— Jeanna Kelley (@jeannathomas) February 7, 2024
“You’ve just got to embrace it. The more you fight it, the more pissed off you might get or more negative you might start thinking. I’m a guy that likes to think about things the positive way. For a week, why not go through all this craziness and showcase my story, my family, and everybody who has gotten me to this point.”
The Chiefs defeated the 49ers in Super Bowl LIV just four years ago, but both teams have seen heavy roster turnover since. Kelce acknowledged the new faces for this matchup — and made it very clear he was aware of recent comments by former Chiefs cornerback Charvarius Ward about his situation being better with the 49ers.
“Just different people,” the NFL’s all-time leader in postseason receptions observed. “Different players [and] different coaching staffs on both sides, really, so not only are they seeing something different, but we are seeing something different.
“One of our corners is over there playing. It looks to see that he’s liking it over there a little more, so hopefully, we can get this win and make him miss Kansas City just a little bit.”
As Kelce prepares for his fourth Super Bowl appearance in five seasons, a major difference is the absence of longtime Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy, who left the team last offseason to serve in the same capacity with the Washington Commanders. Earlier Wednesday, it was revealed that Bieniemy visited Kansas City’s locker room ahead of the team’s 17-10 victory over the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC Championship.
Kelce shared his thoughts on Bieniemy’s visit.
“EB was a special coach here for a long, long time,” he stated. “He’s like my uncle or a father figure in the football world for me. Everybody knows how fired up he can get, and I definitely share that same passion to come into work every single day and to play this game — one of my favorite coaches of all time. I think the biggest thing that we can take away from who he was — as a player and as a coach — is just his passion and his desire to be ready for every single scenario out there on the field.
“His football awareness and understanding of the game was second to none. I’m hoping for the best for him coming up in his coaching career, but I think who he is as a person is always going to go with me in life.”
Where that passion has taken Kelce is being recognized as arguably the best tight end in league history. Head coach Andy Reid acknowledges that Kelce has a fair claim to such status but does not believe Kelce is disproportionately motivated by his individual legacy.
“I tell you,” Reid said on Wednesday, “Travis’ numbers probably stand up for themselves. He has an opportunity to go down as one of the best — if not the best — tight ends to play. Does he spend a ton of time worrying about that? I don’t think he does.
“Every game, he goes, ‘Let’s just go win.’ That’s kind of his thinking; however, he’s competitive, and during crunch time, he’s going to be there for you and want the ball to help out the team.”
However history will remember him, Kelce currently is focused on a more short-term goal.
“I’m trying to be the best tight end on Sunday,” the nine-time Pro Bowl selection claimed. “I know that.”