Travis Kelce Is Getting Praise, But His Week 18 Move Might Not Ever Matter

Travis Kelce Is Getting Praise, But His Week 18 Move Might Not Ever Matter


While Sunday’s Kansas City Chiefs game was largely irrelevant—the result wasn’t going to change playoff position—there were still a couple of storylines around the contest including Travis Kelce sitting out the game.


Travis Kelce Is Getting Praise, But His Week 18 Move Might Not Ever Matter
Defensive tackle Chris Jones, who started the season holding out for more money, needed half a sack to earn an extra $1.25 million. Kelce, who had a down year by his lofty standards, needed 16 more receiving yards to keep his streak of 1,000-yard seasons alive.

Jones suited up on Sunday and got his sack. However, Kelce remained in street clothes.

And while the tight end was officially ruled out as a “coach’s decision,” the Chiefs’ head coach Andy Reid eventually explained that Kelce had made the call himself. As you might expect, that team-first move earned him plenty of praise.

But the harsh reality of pro sports is that Kelce’s choice will become meaningless if the Chiefs don’t win some football games.

Football may not have the same reverence for numbers as Major League Baseball (MLB), but stats do matter. In Week 18, however, Kelce chose to let his historic National Football League (NFL) streak lapse.

The tight end needed a handful of yards to break 1,000 receiving yards for the eighth consecutive season. No one else at his position had ever accomplished that feat more than three times in a row.

But the Chiefs’ star didn’t suit up against the Chargers. After the game, Reid explained that Kelce made the choice himself.

Travis might, he is a humble, humble guy,” Reid said during a press conference. “It’s different because of the financial part of it with Chris [Jones, who did play]. He didn’t want to be selfish or come across as selfish. I mean, everybody, all the players want him to play, but he just goes, ‘You know what? I don’t like the way it feels.’ He’s not into that, and so he chose not to play. And I completely understand it, but that’s him. Most guys would have probably gone out and done it, but he said, ‘I’ve got a lot of records, and this one here, you know, I’m not gonna do it this way.'”

The head coach also added that he would have let Kelce suit up to keep the streak alive if he wanted to take the field.

Kelce’s move earned plenty of praise online. In an era of social media highlights and big-money deals, fans appreciated his willingness to take a step back.

The man is a team player. Always has been,” Reddit user SideBet2020 wrote on a Chiefs subreddit post about Reid’s explanation.

“It is easy to love Travis. KC legend,” EKsaorsire added.

“Damn, Patrick [Mahomes] and Trav are fighting hard to make me love them more than the other one,” user couchjitsu wrote.

And while there’s always a variety of opinions out there—some wondered if Kelce should have been a little bit selfish on Sunday—he’s largely riding high on the (public relations) hog. That position, however, is tenuous at best.

No. 87’s decision to sit out on Sunday also has some eyes toward the playoffs. Even if we believe that his prime motivation was declining to chase numbers in a way that didn’t feel right, the homestretch couldn’t not be in the picture. Patrick Mahomes, after all, didn’t have anything to play for, and he was benched on Sunday to keep him safe.

That, whether it’s fair or not, will determine how the tight end’s Week 18 choice is remembered. If he uses the rest as a springboard to return to his best and leads the club back to the promised land, his self-sacrifice will be the stuff of legends. If Kelce catches four passes for 25 yards during a meek wild card exit, though, no one will really care about his thought processes.

Sound harsh? That’s largely the reality of life in pro sports. Willis Reed’s dramatic return to the floor would be less significant if the New York Knicks didn’t claim the 1970 National Basketball Association (NBA) title. Curt Schilling’s bloody sock is also remembered because of the Red Sox’s legendary comeback and subsequent World Series title.

When it comes time to hang it up, Kelce is going to be remembered as a Chiefs legend. Whether his Week 18 decision becomes a part of the narrative or not depends on what he does during the upcoming postseason.