The Chiefs are officially in the playoffs. Even with Patrick Mahomes visibly faltering in Kansas City’s recent game, the Miami Dolphins still couldn’t put a stop to a team showing no signs of a Super Bowl hangover. To understand how they manage to avoid depending too much on their MVP-caliber quarterback, a play from their last game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers tells a layered story.
It was a blocked pass on a trick play, with Mahomes as the intended receiver. It didn’t work, the ball probably should’ve been run. Postgame interviews and comments by head coach Andy Reid, in particular, hilariously explain why the play went down as it did. The whole situation reveals a lot about what kind of team Reid is running.
The harebrained schemes of Travis Kelce and Patrick Mahomes
It’s Mahomes’ job to throw the ball, but Kelce has long pushed to get more opportunities to handle that end of things himself. At the Bucs’ one-yard line, Kelce got what he wanted, if not the ultimate result he’d sought. Tampa Bay’s Carlton Davis deflected his pass to Mahomes.
It would have been Mahomes’ first receiving touchdown, The Kansas City Star reports. It turns out that Mahomes and Kelce devised the play between games, tailoring it their matchup with the Buccaneers. They called it “The Black Pearl,” and it hinged on TE Kelce’s throwing ability. And yeah, it didn’t go as the pair hoped. But Kelce earned the opportunity.
Kelce used to play quarterback at the University of Cincinnati
It’s funny for a tight end to have a pact with his quarterback to switch roles whenever the opportunity comes up, sure. But the premise actually makes some sense. Kelce started his college run at the University of Cincinnati — at quarterback himself.
According to Bleacher Report, he was a bombastic high school QB. Kelce racked up 2,500 yards of total offense during his senior year, and threw 31 touchdown passes. At Cincinnati, though, challenges exposed the flaws in his passing game. He went from being a particularly athletic QB, not unlike Mahomes, to splitting time at TE.
Andy Reid’s hilarious take on Travis Kelce and Mahomes’ TD quest
The Chiefs drafted Kelce 63rd overall in 2013, as USA Today reports. Then he lost his rookie season to knee surgery. That kept him under the radar and lowered expectations for his prospects in the NFL. Obviously, that’s changed recently. His improvements have added up to a player so complete that Madden rates his play at a 99. That’s the highest rating possible.
But he’s not content with being one of the most consistent TEs in the league. He wants a bit of that QB shine, too, and Reid knows it. After his failed attempt at glory with Mahomes as his receiver, Reid gave him some gentle ribbing.
In a post-game interview recounted by Yahoo Sports, Reid was more jovial than annoyed by the wasted touchdown attempt. “Son of a gun, that’s why they moved him to tight end at Cincinnati,” Reid joked. “Son of a gun. We probably should have scored there. Anyways, yeah, we’ll get the next one.”
It’s clear that Reid gets what Mahomes and Kelce are trying to do, and how to best shape the culture on his team. It builds camaraderie between the two, and also opens up more possibilities for trick plays. With a talent like Mahomes, who regularly brings his own plays to Reid, not even a missed touchdown is worth getting angry over.