By Matt McMullen – Chiefs.com Reporter
The countdown to Super Bowl LVII is officially underway as the Kansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles took the stage in downtown Phoenix on Monday as part of the annual “Opening Night” celebration.
The festivities included interview availability for every player on both teams, reporters from every corner of the globe and even a special appearance by Donna Kelce, whose sons – Chiefs’ tight end Travis Kelce and Eagles’ center Jason Kelce – are the first pair of brothers to ever face off in a Super Bowl.
In fact, Donna surprised both Travis and Jason with individual boxes of cookies while the two were being interviewed on stage.
“The plan is to scream really loud whenever somebody has the ball,” Donna said. “It’s just amazing that they’ve both been able to get to this point in their careers, and to enjoy this Super Bowl together.”
The week leading up to the Super Bowl is always a special one for everyone involved, but these next few days will understandably mean even more to the Kelce family.
“It’s a dream come true [to play in a Super Bowl against my brother],” Travis said. “It’s just cool for my family to be able to have this much fun and to enjoy this with everybody. I want to thank the fans for [that]. It’s not going to be fun for one of us at the end of the day, but it’s definitely a fun ride right now.”
The “Kelce Bowl” was one of many off-the-field storylines discussed at length throughout the night, but the game itself also received its due. For starters, quarterback Patrick Mahomes provided a simple answer when asked to describe what the Chiefs’ motivating factor was heading into Sunday.
“The motivating factor is to be the best,” Mahomes said. “You’re in the biggest game of your life, and you want to go out there and make memories with your teammates. I think the biggest motivating factor is to step on that field and try to be the best. We know we have a great challenge in the Philadelphia Eagles, so it’ll be a great game.”
A portion of the evening featured Mahomes sharing the stage with Eagles’ quarterback Jalen Hurts, who will compete against Mahomes on Sunday in the first matchup between African American quarterbacks in Super Bowl history.
“It’s special. I have a lot of respect for the guys who came before me and laid the foundation,” Mahomes said. “To play against a guy like Jalen – a genuine, great dude who has worked his tail off to be in the position that he’s in – it’s going to be a special game and a special moment for a lot of kids to watch. We’re trying to set the example for [them].”
Best of the best 🤝 pic.twitter.com/YEHMpc9bE7
— Kansas City Chiefs (@Chiefs) February 7, 2023
Elsewhere, on the other side of the ball, defensive lineman Chris Jones had an opportunity to discuss the performance of the Chiefs’ defense in recent weeks.
“We’ve been honed in on our craft,” Jones said. “We’ve faced a lot of great quarterbacks, but we’ve played together and built up chemistry. We’re peaking at the right time.”
Jones, Mahomes and Kelce were just a few of the dozens of players who spoke on Monday night, from the Chiefs’ most significant contributors to members of the practice squad. Every single one of those guys had a hand in getting Kansas City to this point, and while the energy in the area was reflective of a squad that was excited to be in the moment, it was also clear that they were hungry for much more.
Mahomes, in particular, didn’t mince words when asked to describe if he felt any pressure heading into the game.
“I feel the pressure to prove my teammates right every day, and to be the man that I try to set the example to be. That’s coming to work every day and giving everything I have,” Mahomes said. “If I do that the rest of this week and into the game, I believe that we’ll come out with the win. If we don’t, I’ll know that I gave everything that I had. That’s what I can always live with.”