Super Bowl 2024 Fact or Fiction: Travis Kelce Cements His Legacy

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What a wildly entertaining Super Bowl between the Kansas City Chiefs and the San Francisco 49ers in Las Vegas.

The Chiefs won back-to-back Super Bowls after Patrick Mahomes connected with Mecole Hardman Jr. for the game-winning touchdown in overtime to defeat the 49ers, 25–22.

With so much to break down from one of the greatest Super Bowls in NFL history, let’s not waste time. Let’s get to a jam packed “Fact or Fiction” column form Allegiant Stadium. 

[Buy now! Relive Super Bowl LVIII with Sports Illustrated’s commemorative issue]

Travis Kelce is the greatest tight end of all time

Manzano’s view: Fact

With three Super Bowl rings, it’s time to crown Kelce as the greatest tight end of all time. Kelce had another clutch postseason performance, providing many key plays for the Chiefs to get into overtime and eventually defeat the 49ers. Kelce had nine catches for 93 yards, and recorded a 22-yard gain on third-and-7 to put the Chiefs in the red zone and set up Harrison Butker’s game-tying field goal on Kansas City’s final possession of regulation. Kelce has the career stats, accolades and several memorable performances. If this is truly it for Kelce, then Tony Gonzalez, Antonio Gates, Shannon Sharpe and Rob Gronkowski better acknowledge Kelce as the greatest at their position. And the Hall of Fame voters better make Kelce a first-ballot Hall of Famer in a few years.

Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce

Kelce celebrates after the Chiefs' thrilling overtime victory over the 49ers.

Kyle Shanahan should have gone for it on fourth down late in regulation

Manzano’s view: Fiction

Usually, I’m all for aggressive play calls. But given the monumental circumstances, Shanahan made the right move to settle for Jake Moody’s 53-yard field goal and the three-point lead instead of going for it on fourth-and-5 from the Kansas City 35-yard line with 1:53 left in regulation. Earlier in the fourth quarter, the 49ers had a key red-zone stop to force the Chiefs into a field goal from San Francisco’s 6-yard line.

Side note: I wrote the prior paragraph as the Chiefs moved upfield and it seemed Shanahan was going to regret his decision. He did not, as the 49ers’ defense came through again and the Chiefs settled for a Harrison Butker game-tying field goal to send Super Bowl LVIII into overtime.

Shanahan made many right decisions in regulation, including going for a gutsy fourth-and-3, which led to Jauan Jennings’s go-ahead touchdown with 11:22 in the fourth quarter.

Play shouldn’t have counted when streakers ran onto the field

Manzano’s view: Fact

Two “partial” streakers rushed the field before the Chiefs ran a play on third-and-8 with 5:24 left in the third quarter. The play should have been stopped, but the officials didn’t notice the security guards chasing the shirtless fans running on the opposite side of the field. The Chiefs didn’t get the first down and were forced to settle for a field goal, which Harrison Butker drilled from 57 yards for a Super Bowl record, as Kansas City trimmed the deficit 10–6.

Nick Bosa had a subpar Super Bowl performance

Manzano’s view: Fiction

The Chiefs heavily focused on Bosa by chipping him away from Mahomes with an extra blocker. Bosa had success beating his defenders, but he was often a tad too late to hit Mahomes. With an extra blocker, however, the Chiefs had minimal playmakers in the passing gam,e and they weren’t often rushed offensively to avoid Bosa. It played a role in why the Chiefs only had three points and 157 yards at halftime. Bosa finished the game with six tackles and two tackles for loss.

L’Jarius Sneed is better than Trent McDuffie

Manzano’s view: Fiction

Sneed, the Chiefs’ standout cornerback, had a rough Super Bowl performance. He got beat a few times in coverage, including on the touchdown pass to Jennings to give the 49ers a 16–13 lead in the fourth quarter. Sneed was also called for an unnecessary roughness penalty after hitting Brandon Aiyuk’s helmet. Sneed was dominant in the postseason games vs. the Dolphins, Bills and Ravens, but McDuffie offers more versatility as a cornerback who can play on the outside and from the slot position. In the second quarter, McDuffie stayed with Deebo Samuel in coverage and batted down a pass in the end zone on third-and-14. Later, McDuffie hit Brock Purdy on third-and-5 late in the game to prevent the 49ers from continuing the drive.

Travis Kelce was out of line screaming at Andy Reid

Manzano’s view: Fact

Kelce was furious after Reid took him out of the game on the play that saw running back Isiah Pacheco fumble in the second quarter. It’s understable that Kelce wanted to remain in as the lead blocker (tight end Noah Gray was assigned the responsibility on the play). But there’s no need to scream at his coach on the sideline to nearly knock him off his feet during the Super Bowl. Reid has helped Kelce develop into one of the greatest tight ends of all time. He deserves a lot more respect than that.

Chase Young earned himself a lucrative long-term contract this offseason

Manzano’s view: Fact

Young, a pending free agent, made himself money with his productive Super Bowl performance vs. the Chiefs. Young disrupted Mahomes’s rhythm in the pocket and recorded a sack early in the game. The No. 2 pick in the 2020 draft had a rough NFC postseason and had a handful of quiet games since joining the 49ers from Washington during the league’s trade deadline in October. But many NFL teams need a standout pass rusher and would be willing to overlook Young's flaws, like setting the edge against the run.

Perhaps Young won’t get a contract extension in San Francisco because the team doesn’t have much cap space flexibility and they already paid Bosa, Arik Armstead and Javon Hargrave. But it would not be a surprise if a different team takes a chance on him and signs Young to a lucrative long-term deal when free agency opens in March.

Taylor Swift knows how to chug a beer

Manzano’s view: Fiction

Taylor Swift was shown on the stadium screen during the second quarter and was caught chugging a beer. Good to see the pop icon doing regular things, but she needs more practice to improve her speed at getting to the bottom of the cup. But I did enjoy seeing her pound the cup after finishing the beer. Gotta love Swift’s competitive side.

Taylor Swift watches Super Bowl LVIII

Swift was joined in her suite by Blake Lively, Ice Spice and others to watch the Chiefs win Super Bowl LVIII.

Lil Wayne, Juvenile will headline Super Bowl LIX halftime show

Manzano’s view: Fact

This better be a fact when the league makes its announcement later this year. Seriously, this needs to happen, otherwise Millennials (like myself) might riot. The Cash Money Millionaires reuniting in their hometown of New Orleans for Super Bowl LIX at the Superdome would be the best decision the NFL has made since having Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre perform for the Super Bowl in Los Angeles in 2022.

Just imagine the roar from the crowd once they hear “Cash Money Records taking over for the ’99 and the 2000s” and Juvenile appears out of nowhere. Heck, maybe even NFL commissioner Roger Goodell might start bobbing his head. Lil Wayne could be the headline with performances from Juvenile, Birdman and Mannie Fresh—also known as the Big Tymers—and B.G., who’s best known for his “Bling Bling” hit in ’99.

A few years ago, I would have never imagined this scenario being an option. But everything changed with Jay-Z now having input for the league’s Super Bowl halftime shows. He got it right with Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre in L.A. Same goes for Rihanna last year in Phoenix and Sunday in Las Vegas with Usher.

Las Vegas isn’t a good Super Bowl city

Manzano’s view: Fiction

Without a doubt, this is fiction. Many complained about the traffic on the Las Vegas Strip, but there are ways around the traffic. One obvious option for this avoidable issue is by staying on the Strip. There are a ton of hotels and many walkable options for food and entertainment. There’s also the free tram that takes you from the Mandalay Bay to New York New York.

But I understand the Strip can be pricey. Henderson isn’t far from the Strip and there are many nice hotels in the area. Also, the area west of the Strip known as Spring Valley is only a few miles away from all the entertainment. (Some nice Airbnbs that way, too.) Yes, you would need to drive or Uber/Lyft more, but you could also just park or get dropped off at the beginning or the end of the Strip. Another golden rule: avoid Las Vegas Boulevard whenever possible. I lived in Las Vegas for three years, so I know all the tricks for avoiding traffic.

Other than that, Las Vegas is a perfect destination for the Super Bowl for obvious reasons. On Thursday, I went to WWE’s WrestleMania kickoff show at T-Mobile Arena and later that night I attended the Teofimo Lopez boxing fight at the Mandalay Bay Events Center, now known as Michelob ULTRA Arena. Only in Las Vegas, baby. I probably should have written this before Super Bowl week to help people out, but remember this for the next time because you better believe the Super Bowl will be back in Las Vegas soon enough. 

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