During half of Sunday’s Super Bowl LVIII, Travis Kelce was noticeably quiet.
With the notable exception of his furious outburst on the sideline against Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid, all Kelce did during the first two quarters was a single catch on a single target for a single yard.
Then the man known to many as Mr. Taylor Swift started making noise. It wasn’t overwhelming production (nine catches for 93 yards), but for the Chiefs and their emotional leader, it was a turning point. The San Francisco 49ers defense that had stifled Kansas City in the first half suddenly became vulnerable, the relentless pressure of Nick Bosa and Chase Young slowed down a bit, and the breaks that had been going against the Chiefs of They suddenly went in his favor.
At the end of regulation, Kelce was raising hell, charging at 49ers defenders to set up the Chiefs’ game-tying field goal to force overtime, where he picked up a key first down deep in game territory. the 49ers.
That play would set up Patrick Mahomes’ winning touchdown pass to Mecole Hardman, and with the 25-22 victory in hand, Kelce and the Chiefs were champions for the third time in five years.
Kelce celebrates winning Super Bowl LVIII against the San Francisco 49ers at Allegiant Stadium
Travis Kelce yells at Chiefs head coach Andy Reid after a Kansas City turnover
Taylor Swift and Blake Lively are seen watching the Chiefs in front of Travis’ brother Jason.
Kelce runs after a catch against the 49ers during Super Bowl LVIII in Las Vegas on Sunday.
Kelce was almost invisible in the first half.
The 34-year-old tight end had two good blocks, one of which made Isiah Pacheco jump for a 10-yard gain.
But instead of catches and yards, Kelce brought some fire in the first half as he confronted 49ers defensive end Nick Bosa and even his own coach, Reid, during a momentary outburst on the sideline.
Ultimately, Kelce had to be pulled away by teammate Jerrod McKinnon after appearing to grab Reid’s arm during the outburst.
By all appearances, Kelce was upset about being removed from the game on a play that ended in a Chiefs turnover (Pacheco’s fumble in the second quarter), but Reid didn’t seem bothered by the incident and No. 87 returned to the field. field for the next possession.
That fire is nothing new for the Chiefs, who have been harnessing that enthusiasm since he burst into the league in 2013.
He has helped Kelce become an All-Pro and likely Hall of Famer. It’s also why the Chiefs asked Kelce to give an inspiring speech Saturday night to his teammates, some of whom he reportedly reduced to tears.
“Not even close,” a Chiefs coach told SI.com’s Albert Breer. ‘Best talk/speech I’ve ever heard.’
The Super Bowl was nothing new for Kelce heading into Sunday. This was her fourth appearance in five seasons, and while her romance with Swift has added an extra layer of media attention, she wasn’t exactly an unknown before this season.
Kelce already held the tight end record for receiving yards in a Super Bowl, accumulating 133 on 10 receptions in the Chiefs’ loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers three years earlier. But he was almost as impressive in Kansas City’s two recent Super Bowl victories, recording a dozen receptions for 124 yards and a pair of key touchdowns in wins over the 49ers (LIV) and the Philadelphia Eagles (LVII).
Nick Bosa of the San Francisco 49ers argues with Travis Kelce of the Kansas City Chiefs
Travis Kelce performs the national anthem before appearing at his fourth Super Bowl
And it was last year’s victory over Philadelphia that helped make Travis and his brother Jason, an Eagles center, popular celebrities. The couple already had a joint podcast, New Heights, but the rival brothers and their bank manager mother, Donna, quickly saw a wave of endorsement deals and became regular fodder for morning talk shows.
Travis even took advantage of the surge in popularity and his second Super Bowl ring to host Saturday Night Live last March.
But nothing has compared to the 2023 campaign since it was revealed that Kelce and Swift were in a relationship.
The two had crossed paths at one of his concerts in July, but it wasn’t until September, when she started attending his games, that they became official. Since then, the previously separate NFL and Taylor Swift universes have consumed each other.
Attendees at Allegiant Stadium were seen wearing ‘Mr. Replica Swift’ Chiefs jerseys and sweatshirts adorned with a modified NFL logo that reads: “Taylor’s Version.”
Former President Donald Trump attempted to capitalize on the couple’s palpable star power Sunday morning with a social media post accusing Swift of being somehow disloyal to him, while saying Kelce “may be liberal.”
If the Republican presidential candidate’s Truth Social post was an attempt to steal some of the spotlight, it only worked until the start, at which point football fans and Swifties had better things to worry about.
And on Sunday, in just the second overtime game in Super Bowl history, both sides got what they wanted: Taylor made her customary cameo on the scoreboard, where she was seen drinking a beer, while the 49ers and Chiefs offered one of the most dramatic. The Super Bowl ends in recent memory.
Former President Donald Trump attempted to take advantage of the couple’s palpable star power on Sunday.