Not once had the masked slipped an inch. Not once had he lost patience or any of his easy charm. Travis Kelce’s opening words this week were about Taylor Swift as he answered the first of countless questions about the relationship which dominated the build-up to this first Super Bowl in Sin City.
On Saturday night, his final message to his Kansas City Chiefs teammates was so inspiring it moved some people to tears. And then, on the biggest stage of all, in perhaps the biggest Super Bowl of all, it was Kelce’s turn to break down.
Not even when his offense malfunctions – as it did again on Sunday. Not even after San Francisco threatened to strangle the Chiefs in Sin City. Not even after four hours of battle. Time and again, the quarterback hauled his team back into this game. And then, in overtime, at the end of a titanic tussle, he drove them down the field and found Mecole Hardman to write another slice of history.
Moments later, emotion got the better of Mahomes too – the quarterback dropped to the floor and lay on his back. He had just the Chiefs to a third Super Bowl in five years their second in successive seasons. No team had gone back-to-back in two decades. This is a dynasty, be in no doubt.
To think these Chiefs were written off after a regular season of struggle and distraction. The defense stopped the foundations from coming undone and on Sunday the defense provided a foundation for Mahomes to claw Kansas City to victory. What a remarkable end to a remarkable season, decided once again by a truly remarkable player. Mahomes is now one of only three quarterbacks to have won three championships in his first seven seasons. Reid is now one of only five coaches to win three or more Super Bowls. Not even a bump from Kelce could knock him off course.
But how this will hurt for San Francisco. Not for the first time in a Super Bowl against this team, they had glory in their grasp. Not for the first time, they suffered late heartbreak. Their 20-year wait for a title goes on. This one will take some getting over.
There was no happy ending to the Brock Purdy fairytale. Christian McCaffrey’s tireless running went unrewarded. Jauan Jennings made one touchdown and scored another but still ended up on the losing side. As both a coordinator and a head coach, Kyle Shanahan has now let three double-digit leads slip in three Super Bowls. Is there a worse place to be when digesting a defeat like this than Las Vegas?
Is there a better place to toast a win like this than The Strip? It promises to be a long night for these Chiefs players and their loved ones. Swift had touched down around 1pm local time. Her journey from a stage in Tokyo to a suite in Las Vegas had included a pit stop in Los Angeles and a dig from Donald Trump. Beyond that, though? Pretty painless.