In 2020, the Chiefs got to the Super Bowl for the second straight year. They lost. They didn’t expect to lose the way they did.
“We felt very confident going into the last game,” tight end Travis Kelce told Zach Frydenlund of Complex.com. “We knew who we were. We knew the type of game that we were capable of having and we didn’t really think that losing 31-9 was even in the f–ing picture, excuse my language, but we didn’t. It wasn’t even a thought in our mind. We thought, ‘Oh, it’s going to be a good game.’ If anything, we would lose in, you know what I mean, not to say that if we were to lose, you know what I mean? Just in your mind, it’s going to be a great game or we’re going to blow them out like we did in the regular season, or we’re just going to run away with it like we did in the first game that we played that season.”
Kelce made it clear that a blowout loss simply wants on the radar screen.
“It was never even a thought and sure enough, everything happened rapidly,” Kelce said. “I forget what happened in the first half, but we got down real quick and from that point on, it was just an uphill battle that we couldn’t, the hill just kept getting higher and higher on us. We couldn’t get to the top of it to start to get some momentum to come back down and it was a struggle, man. It was a helpless feeling, but looking back on it, you start to find things throughout the game, throughout the first half that could have gone your way.”
Kelce took personally his own failure to turn around an outcome that was fueled by a defense that bottled up one of the best offenses in football.
“I could have made a play here or there that could have gave us some momentum that could have made everybody feel more at ease, taking a little pressure off of the offensive line, taking a little pressure off of Pat, feeling like he has to be Superman out there,” Kelce said. “That was a great defense. Absolutely phenomenal defense. Did we move the ball on them? Yeah, but we got to put up touchdowns in the Super Bowl. We can’t put up three points. And it was just once we got down, it was tough. It was tough to get back on a great defense like that.”
The end result was a feeling of embarrassment, one that prompted him to become a bit introverted in the aftermath of the defeat.
“It was just an embarrassing kind of just . . . I don’t know,” he said. “It was something that I wasn’t proud of that I didn’t even want to really show my face around the city. I didn’t want to be around anybody. I didn’t want to talk to anybody about it. There was nothing to talk about. Everybody saw exactly what happened, right?”
Indeed they did. But the Chiefs have addressed their weaknesses. They’re better. They could get back to the Super Bowl again. If they do, they’ll have extra motivation to atone for what happened last year.