Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce is not very superstitious, but he does eat French toast every gameday.
Last Sunday’s batch must have been extra savory because he got off to a sweet start against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, scoring a touchdown 40 seconds into the game and catching five passes in the first quarter.
“I was very dialed in,” Kelce exclusively shared. “We were all on the same page in terms of starting fast and putting up touchdowns early because I think — where we got caught in the Super Bowl is — that we were settling for field goals and got so far behind.”
Indeed, en route to defeating the Buccaneers 41-31, the Chiefs scored 14 points just over 11 minutes into the first quarter in a game that provided a dose of revenge against the team who bested them in Super Bowl LV.
In addition to eating French toast before Super Bowls and regular-season games alike, Kelce’s other routine is to wear one wristband on his left — but not right arm.
That’s a habit he got used to when the NFL was doing contact tracing for those who had been in close proximity of someone with Covid-19. (Players had to wear contract tracers, and the wristband covered up the tracer.)
Though Kelce may not be that superstitious with his gear, a recent Proctor & Gamble survey revealed that 73% of NFL fans wear a lucky jersey that they think helps their team win, and 52% of those fans declined to reveal how often they wash it.
Incentives to wash those jerseys range from autographed items to sideline passes.
The campaign, which runs through Oct. 23, is trying to motivate NFL fans to use Tide Hygienic Clean Heavy Duty 10X Power PODS to remove dirt from their favorite jersey.
Kelce is a natural spokesman for Tide since it is a brand of the Cincinnati-based Proctor & Gamble. Kelce went to high school in Cleveland Heights and then spent five years at the University of Cincinnati.
“These are brands that I grew up around, that I’m very familiar with,” Kelce said. “I can relate to a lot of sports fans and a lot of people in those areas.”
Kelce’s favorite jersey, however, was not a Cleveland Browns one. After all, Kelce’s formative rooting years came when his hometown Browns had moved to Baltimore.
Instead, he wore Brett Favre’s No. 4 Green Bay Packers jersey nearly every Sunday.
He’s now catching passes from Patrick Mahomes, a gunslinging passer often compared to Favre.
“And little did I know that Brett Favre was actually being coached by Andy Reid back in the day,” Kelce said.
Fast forward a few decades, and Reid is now Kelce’s head coach, and many NFL fans sport jerseys of Kelce — widely considered the best tight end in football.
After Sunday’s game Buccaneers head coach Todd Bowles even mentioned Kelce’s “greatness.”
“He’s a heck of a ballplayer,” Bowles said. “I’ve got a lot of respect for him.”
Against Bowles’ defense, Kelce’s team-high nine receptions and 92 yards started with the touchdown, in which he beat Buccaneers linebacker Lavonte David with a double move.
“We had the coverage that we wanted,” Kelce said. “That put Lavonte in a stressful situation: Having to guard me in space in the middle of the field. That’s where I feel most comfortable.”
Despite Kelce’s early success, the Buccaneers did not really change their coverages against him. They ran mainly a zone scheme — except on select third downs — similar to the one they employed during Super Bowl LV.
But that 31-9 loss two years ago is in the rear-view mirror for the 3-1 Chiefs.
“There was a sour taste in our mouth,” Kelce said. “We’re here now. We’re going to roll with this momentum and how well we played.”