LAS VEGAS — It wasn’t long after the Kansas City Chiefs took the Allegiant Stadium field for the first time this week that the boos — in large part due to Kansas City fans being outnumbered and, also, in large part, due to Taylor Swift hate — rained down on the AFC Champions.
Not soon after he took the same field that he is trying to win his third Super Bowl trophy, tight end Travis Kelce, the man mostly targeted with the vitriol swirling around amongst the stands, did he want to take off his track suit and don the pads at that moment.
Just imagine what the rest of the week will be like in Sin City.
One of the overarching themes of Super Bowl Opening Night on Monday was the completion of the heel turn that the defending Super Bowl champions have undergone over the past year. Starting from that the questionable defensive holding call late in last year’s Super Bowl against the Philadelphia Eagles that led to the game-winning field goal, many now view the red-clad Chiefs as the man in black.
The sentiment amongst many is that Patrick Mahomes has gone from the lovable, endearing, early-Brett Favre-like go-for-broke gun slinger to the Tom Brady-like diva who supposedly begs officials to call penalties in a bratty fashion. And, obviously, Mahomes’ favorite target, Travis Kelce, is the target of most haters’ ire: from the brash, outgoing, superstar podcaster and tight end who played in the shadow of Rob Gronkowski for years, to the brash, outgoing, superstar podcaster and tight end who happens to be the beau of music megastar Taylor Swift, herself the target of scorn amongst football fans — almost exclusively from misguided fans with misogynistic tendencies and susceptible to faux conservative media outrage.
At least Kelce isn’t taking the hate lying down, evident when the large number of San Francisco 49ers fans booed Kelce in the middle of him answering a question during a joint Q&A session he was having with Niners tight end George Kittle.
“Y’all are firing me up making me wanna play right now!,” Kelce said before continuing to answer a question from NFL Network’s Michael Robinson. “I love the boos more than I love the cheers, baby. Keep ’em coming, Niners gang!”
Kelce may end up getting the last laugh, not only with a third Lombardi trophy — and second at the 49ers’ expense. Later on in the evening, he teased Swift’s new album, which is set to drop on April 19.
“I have heard some of it, yes, and it’s unbelievable. I can’t wait for her to shake up the world when it finally drops.”
*Editor’s note: Above the byline is the photo gallery from Monday’s event, with all photos taken by Las Vegas-area photographer Arnie Bazemore. After clicking on the first photo to enlarge the picture, make sure to press the left and right arrow buttons to scroll through the rest of the pictures. There are 11 pictures in total.