Last night, the Kansas City Chiefs and the San Francisco 49ers shared the stage for their opening night media sessions at Allegiant Stadium. The fans were juiced and rooting for the Bay Area team. The Chiefs love every minute of being the villain, but they were all business heading into the work week.
If you think the Kansas City Chiefs feel or act like the underdogs in this Super Bowl LVIII matchup against the San Francisco 49ers, you don’t know this team. On Monday afternoon, while the 49ers complained about the field conditions, they approved at UNLV stadium; the Chiefs were in Henderson, Nevada, practicing in full pads.
In preparation for Super Bowl LVII against the Philadelphia Eagles, while they never had a padded practice all week and seemed happy to be in Phoenix, Andy Reid had his team in pads for all four Super Bowl practices, and Kansas City won the game.
I am unsure if the 49ers will tough it out and don their pads this week, but Monday’s tone tells me, once again, that this is a business trip for the Chiefs. Quarterback Patrick Mahomes even told his teammates that if they won this game, he’d fly the team back to Las Vegas to celebrate their victory.
As the evening festivities wore on and the media had their turn, it was clear to me that the Chiefs were excited to be in Las Vegas but eager to get back to work. Today is supposed to be an off day for the players on the field, but I suspect the team will work plenty on the 49ers game plan and film study. In other words, no detours to the Strip.
Wide Receiver Kadarius Toney did speak to reporters about his Instagram rambling last week. In the post, it sounded like he was complaining about the injury status the Chiefs had placed on him. However, the audio was chopped up, and in his words explaining the incident, the message was more for Giants fans who had been trolling him.
“I talked to everybody. You know, at the end of the day, I’m a grown man,” he told NFL Network. “I can stand on what I said, and, at the end of the day, what was going on. Just communication, poor communication, I guess you could say, or whatever from that end, but as far as the social media chopped up footage or whatever and released, I don’t really care for it. So, it is what it is.”
Toney was the hero in Super Bowl LVII, and it’s clear his 2023 season was a disaster, but last weekend, he welcomed a baby girl; he’s practicing with the Chiefs, and I would not be shocked if he played Sunday.
Running Back Jerrick McKinnon also spoke to the media Monday night, and he said the last several weeks, he’s been focused on his rehab. However, he believes he can contribute to the Chiefs on Sunday.
“I feel good,” McKinnon told the Kansas City Star. “It’s a long week. We’ll see what happens and go from there.”
Adding McKinnon to the offense would be a big plus for Reid and Mahomes. So, will he play on Sunday? Well, Clyde Edwards Helaire was not with the team last night, and again, according to the KC Star, his name was removed from the player interview list for Tuesday.
Tight End Travis Kelce was a hit among the media members. While he clarified that he was in Las Vegas to win Super Bowl LVIII, many reporters wanted to talk about his famous girlfriend, Taylor Swift. To Kelce’s credit, he answered every question with a smile.
Earlier in the day, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell also commented on the Swifties effect in the NFL, and he said he and his twin daughters were big fans of Taylor Swift. Still, I thought Kelce was gracious in his comments and patient with the media who wanted more details about America’s hottest couple.
“She’s definitely brought a lot of new faces to the game,” Kelce said to the media Monday night. “Taylor has an unbelievable fan base that follows her and supports her throughout her life. It’s been fun to kind of gather the Swifties into Chiefs Kingdom and open them up to the football world and the sports world.”