Travis Kelce sparks controversy after ‘unacceptable’ act during Super Bowl

Travis Kelce is facing criticism after shoving his Kansas City Chiefs coach Andy Reid in a furious exchange during Super Bowl LVIII.

Kelce, the star tight-end, would finish his night in Las Vegas with another Super Bowl title as he celebrated with girlfriend Taylor Swift after the Chiefs defeated the San Francisco 49ers 25-22 in overtime.

Kelce made several key plays in helping the Chiefs come from behind late on, as he provided a reliable target for quarter-back Patrick Mahomes to win a third Super Bowl in five seasons.

But when the 49ers were ahead at half-time, it seemed as if Kelce’s night would be defined by his bust-up with Reid as the tight-end exploded at the Chiefs coach towards the end of the second quarter.

The Chiefs were down 3-0 when the team lost the ball close to the 49ers end zone, and Kelce was furious with Reid after the coach opted to take him out of the play.

Kelce stormed up to Reid and barged into the 65-year-old coach while shouting into his face. Reid was briefly knocked off balance and turned away from Kelce as his player continued to yell in anger.

Kelce yells into the face of his coach, Andy Reid (Getty Images)
Kelce yells into the face of his coach, Andy Reid (Getty Images)

Kelce had to be pulled away by a team-mate and he was led to the sideline to cool off, where the 34-year-old whacked his helmet against a bench in rage. After half-time, Kelce was one of the players of the game and finished with 93 receiving yards, but when the incident occurred he had been limited to just one yard by the 49ers defence.

Kelce, who shared a kiss on the pitch with Swift during the Chiefs’ celebrations, played down the incident afterwards.

“Man, I was fired up — I was fired up that we weren’t hitting on all cylinders,” he told ESPN.

“I had to give ‘Big Red’ a love tap and let him know that we were all here fighting for him no matter what. I just had to tell him I loved him real quick.

“I put so much trust in him and how he goes about being a head coach, as a leader — he’s one of the best leaders in the game.

“I can’t thank him enough for giving me opportunities year in, year out. This third one, this second one back-to-back, this one’s for him, no doubt.”

Talking to reporters Kelce added: “I’ve got the greatest coach this game has ever seen.

“He’s helped me a lot with channelling that emotion, channelling that passion and I owe my entire career to that guy and being able to control how emotional I get. I just love him.”

Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce (C) and US singer Taylor Swift (L) celebrate (EPA)
Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce (C) and US singer Taylor Swift (L) celebrate (EPA)

Reid also played down the incident and appeared to make light of the situation. The veteran NFL coach joked to CBS: "He keeps me young. "He tested that hip. He caught me off balance - normally I’d give him a little bit but you know what, I didn’t have any feet under me."

Kelce confirmed in his post-game speech during the trophy presentation that he will be returning to the Chiefs next season to target a historic ‘three-peat’.

However, some NFL fans were not impressed by Kelce’s behaviour towards Reid and criticised the 34-year-old for showing a lack of respect towards the veteran coach. Kelce’s actions were labelled “unacceptable” and “out of order” in comments from fans online.

Kelce’s relationship with Swift had dominated much of the build-up to Super Bowl LVIII and the music icon was shown on screen throughout the match as she watched on in Las Vegas.

Already one of the biggest stars in the NFL, Kelce’s fame has exploded since he started dating Swift late last year and their relationship has brought a new wave of attention to the game.

It’s not the first time Kelce has been involved in a moment of controversy while he’s been in the league, however. Kelce has racked up thousands of dollars of fines following incidents of “unsportsmanlike conduct” during his career, including when he lost his cool at a referee over a close call during a game in 2016.

Kelce has also received penalties for taunting opposition players and in 2014 he was accused of making an “immature” hand gesture towards a referee during a game against the Denver Broncos.