Making sense of Travis Kelce, Andy Reid and Super Bowl sideline shouting | Opinion

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It’s sad that on the day after a Super Bowl that was one for the ages, one of the hottest hot takes revolved around Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce yelling at and bumping head coach Andy Reid.

It is a blemish on what would otherwise be being talked about as a more-or-less miraculous overtime comeback over the San Francisco 49ers, for a 25-22 victory and the Chiefs’ third NFL championship in the last five years.

The brief kerfuffle came during a key moment, when running back Isiah Pacheco fumbled away the Chiefs’ first scoring chance in a game that the 49ers were then winning on both sides of the line of scrimmage.

We don’t know exactly what was said, but it apparently involved Kelce being upset that he was on the sidelines and not on the field during that pivotal play.

In expressing that sentiment, loudly, Kelce banged into Reid and Reid was momentarily knocked off balance.

That’s about as far as I’m willing to go without further proof, because there’s been too much Internet weirdness already surrounding this.

For example, various sports sites were reporting Monday morning that Philadelphia Eagles star receiver A.J. Brown had tweeted (or whatever the people on the social media platform X do these days) that “If that was me I would’ve been kicked out the league.”

As the day progressed, it was discovered that it wasn’t really Brown, but a random fan with an X account in Brown’s name who writes in first-person as if he were the football star himself (this kind of nonsense is why I stopped using X).

The real A.J. Brown deactivated his X account more than a month ago.

But as we so often find in this social-media-driven culture, “viral” can have two meanings.

One is it that it reproduces at a phenomenal rate as people share it to an ever-broadening audience — the other is once it’s out there, like a virus, you may wind up carrying it for life.

Across social media platforms, hundreds of thousands, probably millions of Americans have weighed in on the tantrum seen (but not heard) around the world.

The poles of the argument are these:

1) That it showed an egregious lack of respect by Kelce for Reid and he should have been benched for the game and kicked off the team or,

2) That it was a short lapse of sideline decorum during an emotional and pressure-packed moment, easily excused under the circumstances.

Like most things in life, it’s probably somewhere in between.

Bear in mind that the people commenting so authoritatively know both Kelce and Reid mainly from brief sideline glimpses and State Farm commercials.

And I put myself in that category. Reid and I are both alumni of Glendale Community College in California, where he’s in the school’s sports Hall of Fame and I’m not. His last year tearing up turf for the Vaqueros was the year I stood on that same field for my high school graduation, so we never met.

What I can say for sure is that you don’t reach the pinnacle of playing or coaching in the NFL without the highest level of intensity and desire to win, which occasionally overflows.

That, and NFL history is littered with talented players and smart coaches who never amounted to much.

Kelce’s career might have been different if he didn’t have someone like Reid, who’s spent the last 40 years mastering the art of how to channel the energy of very large young men to productive purpose on the gridiron.

And if Reid hadn’t had Kelce’s sure hands and powerful legs to execute his strategy, well, who knows where he would have wound up?

But as of today, both Andy Reid and Travis Kelce are at the top of the football world, three-time Super Bowl champions and shoo-ins to make the Pro Football Hall of Fame as soon as they’re eligible.

They climbed that mountain together, no doubt with some shouting and jostling along the way. They’ve been in this relationship for a decade — an eternity in football years — and they’re both mature enough to realize how much they need each other.

So in the end, they’re really the only two whose opinion on Sunday’s sideline incident truly matters.

They seem to be OK with it.

Maybe we should be too.