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.
There was no blubbing but Swift was in the stands and, for once, she was in the shade, too. Shortly before half-time in Las Vegas, with his team trailing the San Francisco 49ers, Kelce screamed in the face of Chiefs head coach Andy Reid. He nearly knocked the 65-year-old off his feet and had to be hauled away.
It was shocking and it threatened to become the defining image of a night when Kansas City unraveled and spurned a chance to make history. Instead, as night closed over Sin City, Kelce was grasping the Vince Lombardi Trophy, shouting three less vulgar words: Viva Las Vegas.
Because this is a special team. Built on the backs of a ferocious defense. And led by a peerless quarterback – one blessed with immense talent but, more important still, a refusal to die even when nothing is working. When the chips are down, Kansas City looks to Patrick Mahomes. He doesn’t let them down.