Mahomes happy to play the villain:
Patrick Mahomes, the quarterback, even stated that he and his teammates are "OK" with being thought of as the bad guys.
"I think I just like winning,'' Mahomes said on Wednesday during media availability. "If you win a lot and that causes you to be a villain, then I'm OK with it. But at the end of the day, I'm going to enjoy playing the game and try to win as much as possible."
The fans booed the Chiefs when they arrived for their first appearance on opening night in Las Vegas. Chris Jones, the defensive tackle for Kansas City, stated rather frankly that it's because he and his colleagues are the new "villains" and the squad that fans want to despise.
From 2002 to 2019, the New England Patriots were the previous team to hold that distinction. They participated in nine Super Bowls and won six of them. The Chiefs are not like those teams in the slightest since their supporters have something else to be angry about besides winning all the time.
There was the Tuck Rule in 2002, the videotaping scandal in 2007, the deflategate in 2015, the Antonio Brown signing in 2019 and those are just to name a few situations. Players like quarterback Tom Brady, safety Rodney Harrison and more were regularly lighting rods for opposing fans.
Kansas City shares effectively none of those similarities. It has a head coach in Andy Reid who people typically think highly of. He regularly jokes with the media and fans, which is a stark contrast to former Patriots coach Bill Belichick, who was known for his frosty disposition.
A team that is frequently praised is highlighted by Mahomes and tight end Travis Kelce. The two, along with Reid, have become a staple in State Farm's commercial skits.
The consensus among fans appears to be that there should be more diversity in the Super Bowl field and that they are sick of watching the same club win the championship every year. The players for Kansas City seem to grasp this, which is why they all agreed it's okay to lean into it.
Kelce has no plans to retire:
"I love coming into the building and playing this game more than anybody and I know I'm going to miss it when it's over with," Kelce said. "I can't put a timestamp on it, but I know I'm going to enjoy every single bit of this one."
Kelce hopes to build on his stellar playoff legacy with several new accomplishments.
After the Chiefs defeated the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC Championship Game last month, he took the lead in playoff receptions all-time. With his 11 catches, he reached 156 yards, five more than legendary 49ers wide receiver Jerry Rice.
In terms of postseason receiving yards (1,810) and touchdown catches (19), Kelce is ranked second. In those areas, rice has the highest score (2,245) and the lowest score (22).
One of the all-time great tight ends in the NFL is thought to be Kelce, a nine-time Pro Bowl selection. He is listed with players from all eras, including Rob Gronkowski, Tony Gonzalez, Antonio Gates, Shannon Sharpe, John Mackey, and Kellen Winslow.
Having earned a Super Bowl ring against the 49ers to end the 2019 season and another against the Philadelphia Eagles last year, he is more fixated on obtaining a third one. However, the one he lost still stings.
"I've been on a mission ever since I won my first Super Bowl," Kelce said. "We made it back to the Super Bowl (to end the 2020 season) and we lost to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. That's motivated me to get back to this point right here.
"You'll hear me say this a lot - I want this one more than I've ever wanted a Super Bowl before in my life, and it's because of the type of team we have.
"But also because of that tier of team because the teams that have done it (three times) have gone down in history as some of the greats."
During the Chiefs and Eagles Super Bowl victories, Kelce was the beneficiary of touchdown throws. In the Buccaneers game, he had 10 catches for 133 yards.
Fred Warner, regarded as one of the best covering linebackers in the league, is anticipated to spend most of the game defending Kelce for San Francisco. In the Super Bowl LIV meeting between the two teams, Warner intercepted a throw from Mahomes.
Naturally, inquiries over Kelce's relationship with singer Taylor Swift abounded on Monday night.
Swift won't be a part of the Super Bowl week buzz because she has gigs in Tokyo booked for Wednesday through Saturday. It is anticipated that she will be back from Japan in time for the Sunday night game.
Kelce insisted that there were no higher expectations as a result of their friendship with Swift.
"You can't put any more pressure on me than I put on myself, I can promise you that," Kelce said. "The heart of a competitor.
"She's brought a lot of new faces to the game, and it's been fun to experience that.
"She seems to be enjoying the games and she's a part of Chiefs Kingdom right now. It's fun seeing her enjoy the game of football knowing that it's kind of new to her life."
Coach Reid expects an even better 49ers side in Super Bowl rematch:
Despite trailing by 10 scores heading into the fourth quarter, the Chiefs defeated the 49ers 31–20 at Hard Rock Stadium in 2020 to snap their 50-year Super Bowl drought.
Since then, Reid's squad has been on a roll, and this Sunday's game in Las Vegas against San Francisco will be their fourth Super Bowl appearance in the previous five seasons.
However, the 65-year-old feels that quarterback Brock Purdy's rise and the addition of standout running back Christian McCaffrey have strengthened Kyle Shanahan's team even more.
“The 49ers have an offence that has a lot of talent, a lot of guys that can do a lot of things,” Reid told a press conference.
“There are quite a few of the same guys (from 2020) and they played to a very high level then. I think they are even better now.
“McCaffrey would be new, he’s a pretty big ingredient, the quarter-back (Purdy) is new and he’s a heck of a football player. The rest of the surrounding cast is similar to what they had before.”
It hasn't been an easy road to Sunday's highlight game for the Chiefs, who are attempting to become the first NFL club to win back-to-back Super Bowls since the New England Patriots in February 2005.
The Chiefs finished the regular season with four straight losses, but Reid believes that their play-off success can be attributed to a combination of focus and pleasure.
He added: “Listen, we try to have fun within the intensity of the game. During the week there is a time to focus, a time to mess around.
“They don’t have to come in where they feel they’re up tight in practice, some of that is we keep it relatively consistent so they know what they’re coming into every day.
“The times are the same, they know the drill, they know when they can focus and need to focus. And then they can also know when they can mess around, goof around with each other and let their personalities show.”
Reid also disclosed that the Chiefs team had a conversation with NFL security representatives regarding potential temptations they might see in the lead-up to Super Bowl LVIII in "Sin City."
“The league does a great job of that of talking to our guys. We had the league security rep come in and talk to the guys right when we got here. Literally when we got here,” Reid said.
“Part of the conversation was gambling. He made it very clear to reinstate the rules and regulations. Temptations are here obviously in Las Vegas so that was addressed.”
The Super Bowl is this Sunday at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas.