Nothing against theme parks or anything else touristy that Orlando, Fla., has to offer, but the Chiefs who have been selected to play in the Pro Bowl wouldn’t mind skipping the event.
That would mean the Chiefs are in the Super Bowl. The Pro Bowl, the NFL’s All-Star game, is Jan. 29 at Camping World Stadium in Orlando. That’s the weekend in between the AFC and NFC championship games and the Super Bowl.
“I feel like I’ve kind of been there,” said tight end Travis Kelce, who was selected for the second straight year. “I got my eyes on a different prize. It’s kind of routine right now. I’m not even thinking about it.”
“The Super Bowl,” Kelce said. “Obviously the point isn’t to be in Orlando. It’s to be in Houston.”
And not just for a possible Wild Card playoff game against the Texans, who the Chiefs would be playing the first weekend in January if playoff pairings were locked in today.
No, Super Bowl LI (back to Roman numerals this year) is at Houston’s NRG Stadium on Feb. 5.
Kelce was one of four Chiefs to earn a Pro Bowl spot along with safety Eric Berry, cornerback Marcus Peters and return specialist Tyreek Hill.
Hill, a rookie who leads the Chiefs with 10 touchdowns, also has a sense of gratitude for the selection, but …
“It’s definitely an honor to go to the Pro Bowl but obviously we have a bigger goal here,” Hill said.
The Chiefs’ best path to pro football’s final game would seemingly utilize their top weapons more than they did in Sunday’s 19-17 home loss to the Titans.
Kelce, after four straight 100-yard receiving games, had three receptions Sunday with one catch and one target in the second half as the Chiefs were attempting to hold on to a 10-point halftime lead.
After the game, Kelce blew off some steam, suggesting conservative play calling may have been a factor. He addressed those postgame comments Wednesday.
“The question was asked was what the difference between the first half and second half, or first quarter and the rest of the game” Kelce said. “There are times you want to be able to run the clock out. We have an awesome running game.
“The emotions got to me. It was a frustrating game to lose. It was one of those things where I reacted a certain way in which I shouldn’t have. It’s a team game. I just want to go out there and win for everybody on this team.”
Hill doesn’t often line up at running back. But when he did against the Titans on the first series, he sprinted away on a 68-yard touchdown run. That was Hill’s only rushing attempt of the game. He was targeted three times but didn’t catch a pass.
On offense, Hill usually lines up at wide receiver, and he leads Chiefs wideouts with 56 receptions. He also returns punts and has returned kickoffs. That, coach Andy Reid said, explains why Hill doesn’t get more attempts at running back.
“We’re trying to keep Tyreek’s package relatively tight,” Reid said. “You have to stay disciplined in keeping the package small. You’ve got him at wide receiver, running back, slot position, you’ve got him playing all over the place.”
Hill, who has 15 rushing attempts with two touchdowns and a 10.5-yard average, said he wouldn’t mind the extra work.
“It’s something I’ve been doing my whole life,” Hill said. “If I’m thrown back there, I can do it … I’m definitely comfortable back there.”
Hill’s other rushing touchdown came against Sunday’s opponent, the Broncos. From the 3, Hill took a handoff from Spencer Ware, who had lined up behind center, eluded unblocked Von Miller, got big blocks from Kelce and Albert Wilson and won the race to the pylon.
Hill also notched a free-kick return touchdown and one receiving, becoming the first rookie since Gale Sayers in 1965 to score in those three ways in one game.
The effort helped Hill get selected to the Pro Bowl, a game he and teammates will do everything they can to avoid.