Travis Kelce Explains His Attitude Problem “I don’t see what is wrong because I have a goal in mind and must achieve it..”

Travis Shout at Coach


Travis Kelce knows he fucked up on the Super Bowl sideline Sunday, and like the kind of emotionally mature man deserving of Taylor Swift’s company, he is talking about it.


Travis Kelce shout at Chiefs coach

On New Heights, the Kelce brothers’ podcast, the football stars ran back the tape on Travis’s temper tantrum with Kansas City Chiefs coach Andy Reid. “Oh, shit,” Travis recalls he thought at the time, adding, “Sometimes those emotions get away from me, man, and that’s been the battle of my career.”

“Kelce is given to raw emotion, a fount of ‘Let’s fucking go’ and pro wrestling bravado,” Tom Kludt wrote in his 2023 Vanity Fair profile of Kelce.

After last year’s super bowl, Kludt noted, Kelce “commandeered the postgame interview on Fox, first emitting a primal scream and then, while jabbing his finger at the camera, calling out anyone who doubted the Chiefs along the way.”

Travis Kelce and Jason Kelce New Heights

Travis denied he pushed his coach on Sunday night, making a distinction between using force and “running up on him.” Just before the game started, Reid had actually declared Travis’s temper a thing of the past.

“As a player, he has always been very good,” Reid told CBS. “Now, he had a temper. So on the field, he would go off and do some crazy things.”

But Travis’s temper made a postseason comeback, and his gaping, sweaty scream face immediately lit up the Swiftverse, who called red flags on the play.

It was remarkable enough to still be a story today, day three, even in sports talk media where announcers and experts are accustomed to the sight of athletes blowing their lids.

The Kelce brothers’ podcast has never seemed PR-micromanaged, but it was a smart move to acknowledge and address it. (Travis Kelce did not respond to Vanity Fair with further comment.)

Did we forget what we were watching? In our collective persona creation of Travis as some kind of epic Build-a-Bear boyfriend, custom-made for Swift, everyone seems to have forgotten what the guy actually does for a living.

Travis’s career is in an industry based on grown men violently slamming one another around in the name of glory and money. I’m old enough to remember when we had a healthy amount of national anxiety about our problematic passion for football.

There’s the CTE specter—these guys are hurting themselves and one another enough to cause severe brain damage, which itself carries the potential for violence and aggressive behavior.

There’s the tension around kneeling, patriotism, and activism (Kelce once took a knee—the political conspiracists are all over it, fear not); this is a sport in which the bosses and many players are unable to uniformly acknowledge and condemn state violence against Black and brown people.

There’s the shaky symbiosis of college ball, where players can now be compensated for their image and likeness, if not their skill: “The dynamics of an unpaid labor force, asked to use their fragile bodies to generate revenue for ubiquitous institutions, make power impossible,” Bomani Jones wrote in this magazine in 2020. All of which manifested in a commercial slump for the NFL that started in 2017.

But the slump is standing back up, and perhaps owing to Swift herself, more people than ever tuned in and subsequently watched Travis lose it. This year’s Super Bowl was the most-watched telecast of all time, with nearly 124 million viewers (that’s more than six times the viewers of last year’s Oscars telecast, or more than 100 times the number of households that watched Barbie its first four days streaming on Max).

Even outside of football, athletes are known to have emotional outbursts, both against opponents and with their own teammates and coaches.

The NHL discourse of the week has centered on a cross-check—to the head. In the NBA, the Golden State Warriors’ Draymond Green recently returned from an indefinite suspension and picked up a long-running beef right where he left it.

Some of them are chronic dickheads. Have you ever heard of John “You Cannot Be Serious” McEnroe? And the scrutiny’s not always on men, either.

Though I think there are lots of bones to pick here, Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova, Elizabeth Lambert, and Danica Patrick all made Bleacher Report’s “35 Meanest Athletes of All Time” (ah, the days of low-hanging listicle fruit). Jason Kelce even went on Shaquille O’Neal’s podcast to talk about the anger phenomenon among athletes.

Does all this excuse Travis? No. The man himself doesn’t even seem to be excusing it as much as he is trying to wrestle with it and explain it, with the help of Jason (fellow teddy bear and apparent student of therapy).

On New Heights, Jason didn’t let his brother off the hook, either. “I’m not trying to make this situation acceptable, but this is what happens when you have highly motivated, passionate individuals,” the Eagles center said.

“You don’t become the best tight end in the world by being a fucking reasonable like levelheaded fucking person, like that’s not how it fucking works, alright?” he added. “You be the best in the world by being a fucking insane human being, that’s how it happens.”

Don’t hate the player, hate the game. Or, you know, as Taylor herself puts it, she loves the player, and you love the game.