In an otherwise forgettable Super Bowl LV showing, Travis Kelce was again one of the lone bright spots for the Kansas City Chiefs, which struggled to find its offensive footing against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. With 133 yards receiving on 10 catches, the three-time All-Pro surpassed the century mark for the third consecutive playoff game and the eighth time in his last 11 contests.
Fresh off of his most productive regular season, Kelce was (finally) widely recognized by past and present peers as the game’s best tight end in 2020. Among the most vocal supporters has been NFL Network host and CBS Sports analyst Nate Burleson, who also dedicated an entire five-minute Good Morning Football segment to the 31-year-old in the lead up to the big game.
In an exclusive Super Bowl interview with Heavy on behalf of Crown Royal — reminding fans to take water breaks and not be the one who ruins game day for their friends — Burleson made it known that Kelce would already have a place in Canton, Ohio if it were up to him.
“I’ve been yelling for a long time that Travis Kelce is the best tight end in football,” Burleson told Heavy.com. “He’s going to go down as one of the greatest tight ends to ever play the game. I guarantee you that. He’s already a Hall of Famer in my book.”
In terms of credentials, Kelce has already cracked the top-10 leaderboard at the position in receptions (612), receiving yards (7,881) and touchdowns (48) despite playing the 23rd most games (111) through his first eight seasons.
“He’s a hybrid tight end/wide receiver — I don’t even like calling him a tight end when I’m on the show,” Burleson continued. “I don’t like calling him a wideout either. He’s the new generation of athlete. … I think because of that, his ability to use his hips in and out of breaks or lower his body, he’s just a matchup nightmare. Like truly a matchup nightmare.”
“For me, it’s that he possesses every skill set a premier wide receiver has, but he’s framed in a tight end’s body. And let me just say this. People always say he’s not a great blocker. Tell me how many times Patrick Mahomes has got smacked by a defender and Travis Kelce is looking at him saying ‘my bad.’ Where are these plays that makes you think that Travis Kelce is just some winkling when it comes to blocking? I don’t see it, man. I think he’s the most complete tight end and he’s one of the most complete players in the NFL.”
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Deion Sanders Wouldn’t Want to Guard Kelce
Kelce has long validated Burleson’s claim of being a true “matchup nightmare,” often proving indefensible against opposing linebackers, safeties, cornerbacks and any hybrids there within. Even Hall of Famer Deion Sanders has acknowledged the predicament Kelce puts his defensive counterparts in.
In a separate pre-Super Bowl interview with late Yahoo Sports senior writer Terez Paylor, who died suddenly on February 9, Sanders gave a hilarious response when asked how he would attempt to defend Kelce if he were still playing.
“I ain’t trying to get up there with no Kelce. I ain’t trying to deal with no Travis Kelce,” Sanders exclaimed. “That ain’t my responsibility. That’s not my job. That’s above my weight limit. I’m not fighting [Mike] Tyson. I’m not fighting [Evander] Holyfield. You better put me with Floyd [Mayweather], man, please. Conor McGregor, I don’t mind fighting that dude [instead].”
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Chris Licata is an NFL contributor covering the Kansas City Chiefs from enemy territory in Denver, Colorado. Follow him on Twitter @Chris__Licata or join the Heavy on Chiefs Facebook community for the latest out of Chiefs Kingdom!