Chiefs

AFC Championship Game: Chiefs not engaging in battle of underdogs against Patriots

Andy Reid doesn’t plan on playing the underdog card anytime soon.

After all, the Chiefs are slight favorites — three points — in the AFC Championship Game at Arrowhead Stadium this weekend. But even if Vegas wasn’t on his team’s side, Reid wouldn’t use that tactic. It doesn’t matter that they haven’t made it to an AFC Championship Game since the 1993 season and that they’re going up against a team that’s made it to eight in a row.

Instead, it’s the New England Patriots, the AFC title-game regulars, who are using that storyline as motivation.

Seriously.

The Chiefs aren’t buying it.

“Last week, I could’ve played that,” Reid said of being the underdog. “But that’s not what I do. We just go through the process. I shield all that out. Probably in that building, they’re just kind of going and doing their thing.

“And they’re pretty good. This is like their eighth one in a row. I don’t know how much disrespect can go on. They’re pretty dang good.”

Building off quarterback Tom Brady’s post-divisional round comments that “everyone thinks we suck,” the Patriots launched another round of motivational tweets and videos Wednesday.

Patriots players like Julian Edelman tweeted a hype video with the hashtag #BetAgainstUs. A couple of hours later, Edelman tweeted a T-shirt with the phrase inside a Patriots logo.

“I don’t think they suck,” Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce said. “I can tell you that.”

Veteran linebacker Justin Houston understands where Brady and the Patriots are coming from, but he said he doesn’t necessarily subscribe to the motivational strategy.

“I think he’s just trying to get himself and everybody else over there fired up,” Houston said. “Everybody knows the Patriots, this is what, their eighth year making it the AFC Championship? I think something for himself and the Patriots.

“To each his own. Whatever gets him fired up.”

While the Patriots are whipping their fanbase into a frenzy using the disrespect narrative, the Chiefs aren’t planning to manufacture a storyline to hype themselves up.

Instead, Houston began rallying his team for the playoffs in an emotional display at the center of the locker room after the Week 17 win against the Oakland Raiders. Naturally a quieter person, Houston has developed into a vocal leader in the last couple of years as he’s morphed into one of the older players in the locker room.

“I just, I speak what I feel in my heart and in my mind,” Houston said. “I just know we young, so I have experience in certain situations. I just try to tell them and help enlighten them.”

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Brooke Pryor covers the Kansas City Chiefs for the Kansas City Star, where she works to give readers a deeper understanding of the franchise and the NFL through daily stories, game coverage, and player profiles. She attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and grew up in Winston-Salem, N.C.
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