Kansas City Chiefs’ Travis Kelce dedicated their Super Bowl comeback win to head coach Andy Reid after earlier barging into the 65-year-old and shouting in his face.
Kelce, whose high-profile relationship with pop star Taylor Swift meant there was even greater focus on him and the game, was unhappy about not being on the field in the first quarter when Isiah Pacheco fumbled the ball with the Chiefs eight yards out and looking for their first touchdown.
Reid was knocked off balance but made little of the incident and, when Patrick Mahomes threw the match-winning touchdown pass to Mecole Hardman Jr to secure a 25-22 overtime win, all was forgotten.
“Oh you guys saw that?” Kelce told CBS when asked about it immediately after the game.
“I’m going to keep that between us unless my mic’d up tells the world but I was just telling him how much I love him.”
Speaking on ESPN SportsCenter Kelce, who shared a kiss on the pitch with Swift after she flew in from her Eras Tour show in Tokyo the day before, added: “Man, I was fired up — I was fired up that we weren’t hitting on all cylinders.
“I had to give ‘Big Red’ a love tap and let him know that we were all here fighting for him no matter what. I just had to tell him I loved him real quick.
“I put so much trust in him and how he goes about being a head coach, as a leader — he’s one of the best leaders in the game.
“I can’t thank him enough for giving me opportunities year in, year out. This third one, this second one back-to-back, this one’s for him, no doubt.”
Talking to reporters Kelce added: “I’ve got the greatest coach this game has ever seen.
“He’s helped me a lot with channelling that emotion, channelling that passion and I owe my entire career to that guy and being able to control how emotional I get. I just love him.”
The experienced Reid, who won his third Super Bowl title, played down the incident telling ESPN: “He came over and gave me a hug, said ‘Sorry about that”.
“He just wants to be on the field and he wants to play. There’s nobody I get better than I get him. He’s a competitive kid, and he loves to play. He makes me feel young.”
In his post-match press conference the head coach added: “He caught me off-balance – he tested that hip out. Normally I get him a little bit but I didn’t have any feet under me.
“As much as he bumps into me, I get after him. We understand that. He just caught me off balance.”