Thu, 20 Feb 2020

Healthy Chiefs staying loose in Super Bowl spotlight

Field Level Media
29 Jan 2020, 03:55 GMT+10

The Kansas City Chiefs are back in the Super Bowl for the first time in 50 years, but if they're feeling the pressure ahead of Sunday's bout with the San Francisco 49ers, they sure aren't showing it.

Head coach Andy Reid's media session Tuesday morning included plenty of carryover from Monday's lighthearted Opening Night. In between football-related topics, there were more mentions of the food (specifically cheeseburgers) and casual attire (shorts) that Reid has long been fond of.

Fifteen years removed from his first Super Bowl appearance with the Philadelphia Eagles, the 61-year-old Reid said his second time at the big game carries fewer mental burdens than the first.

"Well I'm older, right?" Reid said. "So I've probably seen a little bit more than what I'd seen before. ... I don't know if relaxed is the right thing, but I've kind of walked in this path before, so I know what to expect for the most part."

The Chiefs' players are following their coach's lead, spending as much time of their media sessions joking with each other as discussing Super Bowl LIV.

Hours after comparing his quarterback's voice to Kermit The Frog's, wideout Tyreek Hill poked more fun Tuesday morning at Patrick Mahomes, specifically his 27-yard touchdown run in the AFC Championship Game against the Tennessee Titans.

"He got outside the pocket and was going like 11 mph," Hill said with a laugh.

Tight end Travis Kelce also took a friendly swipe at his quarterback, referencing Mahomes' famous predilection for a tomato-based condiment.

"Who puts ketchup on steaks?" Kelce asked reporters rhetorically. "I know that's old news, but it's still foul to me."

For his part, Mahomes said his team has been keeping it loose all year, and there's no reason to stop now.

"We're enjoying it," Mahomes said. "That's who we are. We have fun. We love being able to play football and be together and be able to hang out and do that stuff. And I think if we keep that mentality, it'll help us play our best football on Sunday."

It's certainly easier to keep a light mood when there are no injury concerns entering the biggest game of the season. Reid said all players are prepared to practice, adding, "I think we're healthy and ready to go."

The only major injury the Chiefs had entering the AFC title game was to the calf of defensive tackle Chris Jones, but the Pro Bowl selection has deemed himself fully healthy. Jones, who had nine sacks and 20 quarterback hits during the regular season, played only 28 snaps against the Titans -- being used primarily on passing downs -- but he's expected to have closer to his full allotment of work this week.

For all of the joking and laughing, the Chiefs remain locked in on Sunday's opponent.

Reid acknowledged the 49ers' devastating run game, which piled up 285 yards in a dominant NFC Championship Game victory over Green Bay.

But he's not sleeping on quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, who has thrown only 27 passes in two playoff games while head coach Kyle Shanahan has leaned on the run game.

"I wouldn't slight Jimmy, because Jimmy can throw the ball when needed," Reid said. "... As well as they run the football, and as well as they make you honor every gap and every zone on the field, you can't slight the pass game, either."

--Field Level Media

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