We live in the golden age of powerhouse football teams claiming “NOBODY BELIEVED IN US!”
Only a month removed from college football juggernaut Georgia claiming no one believed they would repeat as national champions (despite the fact that they were the best team in the nation all year), Travis Kelce upped the ante after Super Bowl LVII by saying that no one in the NFL media world predicted that the Kansas City Chiefs would take home the championship.
— Awful Announcing (@awfulannouncing) February 13, 2023
“Not one of y’all said the Chiefs were gonna take it home this year,” Travis insisted after the game. “Not a single one! Feel that shit. Feel it! And on top of that, the next time the Chiefs say something, put some respect on our name!”
Kelce doubled down during the Lombardi Trophy presentation, telling Terry Bradshaw “Not one of y’all said the Chiefs were gonna win it and look at us now.”
The ability for elite players led by elite coaches to synthesize underdog narratives is amazing. Bill and Brady did it. Kirby had his team thinking they would be under .500. And now this. Amazing https://t.co/wfOhKVsS5X
— Joshua Perry (@RIP_JEP) February 13, 2023
Setting aside the fact that it’s absurd to think the Kansas City Chiefs, who have been to three of the last four Super Bowls and have a two-time MVP at quarterback, are anything resembling an underdog, Kelce’s claim is also just factually wrong.
Now, it’s unclear if Kelce was referring to preseason predictions or predictions made specific to the Super Bowl. If we’re going to give him partial credit, it’s to say that everyone on Fox’s NFL studio team picked the Philadelphia Eagles to win the game, so the Chiefs tight end might have simply been responding to that. However, if we’re talking about whether or not anyone in the media thought Kansas City was a Super Bowl contender throughout the season, the answer is a very obvious yes.
To be fair, NFL on ESPN commentators overwhelmingly thought the Buffalo Bills would emerge from the AFC and win the Super Bowl. But credit is due to Jeff Darlington and Louis Riddick, who both not only said the Chiefs would win the Super Bowl but also predicted Patrick Mahomes would win MVP.
FiveThirtyEight had the Chiefs fourth overall in the NFL preseason in their 2022 NFL Predictions, trailing only the Bills in the AFC. That was also a common refrain in a lot of other places, where the Bills were considered the AFC favorite but the Chiefs weren’t that far behind them.
If we’re just talking about NFL media folks picking between the Chiefs and Eagles to win the Super Bowl, again, Kelce’s premise falls apart immediately.
Amongst ESPN’s NFL commentators, two-thirds did pick the Eagles to win, but 26 people picked KC, including Todd Archer, Rob Demovsky, Dan Graziano, Mina Kimes, and Brooke Pryor. ESPN’s Football Power Index also favored the Chiefs with a 53.3 percent chance to win the game.
Over at CBS Sports, Pete Prisco and four other NFL writers and experts picked Kansas City.
At Fox Sports, eight of their 12 writers and gambling experts picked the Chiefs, including Geoff Schwartz and Ralph Vacchiano.
Meanwhile, Sports Illustrated’s Monday Morning Quarterback folks split four apiece on the Eagles and Chiefs, with Albert Breer picking Kansas City to win.
11 of NFL.com’s 24 experts picked the Chiefs as well, including DeAngelo Hall, Eric Edholm, Maurice Jones-Drew, Michael Baca, and Kevin Patra.
And all of this is to say nothing of many other outlets, websites, podcasts, newsletters, and writers who picked the Chiefs to win.
Was all of this an unnecessary and somewhat childish exercise in semantics? Absolutely. But then again so is claiming that you’re some kind of underdog when you’re 13-3. And if you’re going to claim no one in the media believed in you, you better be able to back it up, especially in this day and age where “nobody believed in us” has gone too far.