Travis Kelce Admits the Chiefs’ Embarrassing Loss to the Buccaneers Fuels Quest to Return to the Super Bowl: ‘It’s in the Back of My Mind’

The Kansas City Chiefs have become a dynasty under head coach Andy Reid. They boast seven consecutive playoff appearances, two straight Super Bowl appearances, and one Lombardi Trophy of their own since 2015. Still, this team learned a harsh lesson in the embarrassing loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Super Bowl LV. Travis Kelce admits he still thinks about that game.

The Pro Bowl tight end and the Chiefs have used the humble pie to fuel their quest to get back to the big game.

The Super Bowl loss to the Buccaneers still haunts Travis Kelce

Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce looks on before Super Bowl against the Buccaneers
Travis Kelce of the Kansas City Chiefs on the field before Super Bowl LV against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers | Patrick Smith/Getty Images

The Kansas City Chiefs pulled off an impressive feat in 2020, repeating as AFC champions and advancing to their second straight Super Bowl.

Andy Reid’s squad knocked off the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl LIV and carried that momentum into the 2020 season. However, the Chiefs didn’t enjoy the same success against Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Super Bowl LV.

Tampa Bay ran roughshod over Kansas City to the tune of a 31-9 beatdown at Raymond James Stadium. Travis Kelce hasn’t forgotten that night. He’s kept the heartbreak bottled up inside of him for this very moment.

“It’s in the back of my mind,” Kelce said per The Kansas City Star. “For the most part, it’s a new year, man. You’ve got to focus on the things that you’ve got going on this season. But at the end of the day, that thought’s always in the back of our mind that, ‘Yeah, we’re on a goal to prove to ourselves that we are who we think we are, we are who we know we are,’ and that’s Super Bowl champs, man.”

Kelce and company know what it takes to get to the Super Bowl and win it. Still, the way they lost has undoubtedly bugged them ever since.

“That’s just how you’ve got to roll,” he added. “You can’t think about it, but just know that it’s in the back of your mind every time you go to work.”

The Pro Bowl tight end will be key to another run

Travis Kelce is the heart and soul of the Kansas City Chiefs. He’s been with the franchise since it selected him in the third round of the 2013 NFL Draft.

The Cincinnati product has become a staple in the Chiefs offense, with Andy Reid and offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy maximizing his unique abilities.

Kelce has recorded 704 receptions for 9,006 yards and 57 touchdowns in nine seasons in Kansas City. He’s eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark in each of the past six seasons. It helps that he gets to catch passes from Patrick Mahomes for a living.

For the Chiefs to get back to the Super Bowl, Kelce must continue to play an integral role in the offense. The 7-time Pro Bowl tight end is coming off a monster game against the Pittsburgh Steelers in the Wild Card Round. He caught five passes for 108 yards and one touchdown. Kelce also threw a touchdown pass to Byron Pringle in the red zone.

At 6-foot-5, 256 pounds, Travis Kelce is a matchup nightmare for opposing defenses. He’s usually too big and strong for defensive backs but too quick and athletic for linebackers. For that reason, the Chiefs must keep him heavily involved regardless of the matchup.

Can Kansas City get back to the big game?

The Kansas City Chiefs are gearing up for a stiff test against the Buffalo Bills in the Divisional Round. The two teams are becoming very familiar with one another, as they’ve needed to get through one another to advance in the NFL playoffs.

The Chiefs ended the Bills’ 2020 season after beating them 38-24 in the AFC Championship Game. Buffalo ousted Kansas City in the 2021 regular season behind a masterful performance by Josh Allen. However, a different Chiefs team will be taking the field in the postseason.

Kansas City is leaps and bounds better than it was in Week 5. Andy Reid’s crew features a top-5 offense and a top-10 defense. Still, neither side of the ball has been perfect. The Chiefs cannot afford to drift back to their early-season ways with the Bills on tap.

With Patrick Mahomes, Travis Kelce, and Tyreek Hill, this offense can score with anyone. The defense must rise to the occasion to take down Buffalo, though. If Kansas City gets past the Bills, it will set up a rematch against the red-hot Cincinnati Bengals.

The Chiefs have a championship pedigree, which gives them an advantage over the rest of their AFC counterparts. A return to the Super Bowl is well within reason, but it won’t be easy to get back.

All stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference

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