Travis Kelce says Kansas City Chiefs’ blowout loss in Super Bowl still motivates him

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Rich Sugg/rsugg@kcstar.com
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After the last pass he threw in a 31-9 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Super Bowl LV, quarterback Patrick Mahomes slowly walked to the Chiefs’ sideline.

Mahomes sat silently on the bench as offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy shook his hand and walked away. Receiver Tyreek Hill sat next to Mahomes and said, “Helluva season, dog. We’ll be back.”

That’s been the plan, or more specifically, the mission, for the Chiefs this season: get back to the Super Bowl.

In April, Mahomes discussed his motivation.

“I think you have to take it back to the first year that I started, we lost to the Patriots in the AFC Championship Game,” he said on April 19. “I mean, you have to let that stuff motivate you to get better each and every day.

“You look back at that and we were able to find a way to kind of flip a switch and make ourselves better and make a run at the Super Bowl the next year and try to have that same mentality of knowing that we’ve been there two years in a row now.

“We’ve won one, lost one. We have to find a way to get back and try to win it.”

Three months later, tight end Travis Kelce was on NFL Total Access on the NFL Network and said he still felt shame about that blowout loss to the Buccaneers.

It was all the incentive he needed for 2021.

“That was pretty embarrassing, man, taking that last loss down there in Tampa, man,” Kelce said. “If you’re not motivated after taking a shellacking like that, I don’t know what’s wrong with you.

“I want to go win one more than I ever wanted to get one in the first place, and that’s everybody in that building, man.”

Then the season began.

The Chiefs lost a September game, which had never happened in Mahomes’ tenure as a starter. The following week, they were beaten at home by an AFC West foe, the Chargers.

By Oct. 24, the Chiefs had a 3-4 record and were tied for last in the division. Forget getting back to the Super Bowl and winning it, they were in danger of simply missing the playoffs.

The Chiefs course-corrected, winning eight straight games and finishing the year with 10 victories in 11 games.

Ahead of the playoffs, Kelce was asked if the Buccaneers’ loss was still a motivation.

Kelce said he hasn’t forgotten.

“It’s in the back of my mind,” Kelce said. “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, how we’ve got to where we are and how we can keep striving to get better, every single game.

“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.

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

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