NFL

'I f****** love you!' – Kelce lauds Chiefs hero Mahomes after sealing Super Bowl berth

By Sports Desk January 19, 2020

Travis Kelce professed his love for the NFL's "best quarterback" after Patrick Mahomes led the Kansas City Chiefs past the Tennessee Titans and into the Super Bowl.

Mahomes starred in the AFC Championship Game at Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday, throwing three touchdowns and rushing for a sensational 27-yard score to help the Chiefs clinch a 35-24 victory.

Kansas City will now face either the San Francisco 49ers or the Green Bay Packers in their first Super Bowl appearance in 50 years and tight end Kelce was in the mood to celebrate.

The 30-year-old interrupted Mahomes' post-game interview with broadcaster CBS to boisterously praise the reigning NFL MVP.

"This is the best quarterback in the National Football League right here, baby," Kelce said.

"And he shows it every time! Humble as can be. I f****** love you!"

Mahomes went 23 of 35 for 294 passing yards as he became the first player in the team's history to record multiple passing touchdowns and a rushing touchdown in a postseason game.

The two-time Pro Bowler called the victory a vindication of the Chiefs' willingness to succeed in any manner necessary.

"I knew going into the NFL I was going to do whatever it took to just win games," Mahomes said.

"You can see that in every single player on this team. We don't care if we win 10-7 or 35-24. We're just going to go out there and find a way to win the football game, whatever it takes."

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    It is Monday September 28, 1992, and Sevilla's Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan is the location of a media circus rarely seen before or since in the stadium. Bavarian giants Bayern Munich are in town for a hastily arranged friendly.

    Aside from the two teams' meeting in the UEFA Super Cup on Thursday and a Champions League quarter-final tie in 2018, this friendly 28 years ago is the only previous occasion in which Sevilla faced their illustrious German visitors.

    Yet, Bayern were not the focus of the media attention. No, they were there for the first game of Diego Maradona's return to Spain.

    The world's most renowned footballer - formerly of Barcelona - was barely given enough space to take part in the coin toss such was the scrum around him, with microphones and cameras shoved towards his face with little regard by voracious reporters.

     

    STILL THE BEST

    Maradona, wearing the captain's armband, was making his comeback from a 15-month ban for cocaine use which ultimately ended his love affair with Napoli.

    From midfield, the 31-year-old dictated the tempo and stretched Bayern's defence with his imaginative passing. He, Diego Simeone and Rafa Paz combined excellently in the middle, while an understanding with a young Davor Suker showed evidence of promise.

    Maradona forced goalkeeper Raimond Aumann into a smart early save before hitting the crossbar with an audacious free-kick from near the corner flag.

    Out of shape, unfit and without competitive football in over a year, Maradona was still the best player on the pitch, setting up Suker before also playing a key role in one of Monchu's goals. Sevilla won 3-1.

    His weight was mocked by a banner depicting a Maradona caricature whose belly could not be contained by his jersey, but, his "cosmic barrel" physique aside, this was the same player who had astonished with Napoli and Argentina.

     

    REUNITED AND IT FEELS SO GOOD

    His move to Andalusia meant a reunion with Argentina's 1986 World Cup-winning coach – and close friend – Carlos Bilardo.

    Bilardo called the signing a "gift", while Maradona said his "happiness is complete" upon arrival at Seville's San Pablo airport in a striking cerise suit – "I looked a treat," he concluded about his fashion sense.

    Having lost Ivan Zamorano to Real Madrid, Sevilla president Luis Cuervas and vice-president Jose Maria del Nido will have been looking on, certain they had pulled off a masterstroke by getting Maradona in as a replacement, reportedly boosting season ticket subscriptions from 26,000 to 40,000.

    His performances continued to excite in competitive games and he enjoyed what many consider to be his best display in Spain during an ill-tempered 2-0 win over Real Madrid on December 19.

    Madrid, complete with the likes of Manolo Sanchis, Fernando Hierro, Michel and Luis Enrique, simply had no answer as Maradona ran the show. Everything was going as well as it could have, until things – somewhat inevitably – turned ugly in the second half of the season.

     

    THE FALLOUT

    A dispute over El Diego's juggling of international and club commitments saw the two parties at loggerheads, but things got out of control late in the campaign.

    After being given painkilling injections against his will for a persistent injury caused by receiving a kick from an angry Venezuela fan in 1985, Maradona was withdrawn by Bilardo early in the second half of a 1-1 draw with Real Burgos and he blew his top.

    "Bilardo, you m***********," he claimed to yell in his coach's direction, with the pair coming to blows a day later, as detailed in the troubled star's autobiography.

    What made the situation worse for Maradona was Sevilla's chiefs revealed to him just a few days earlier their plan to offer him a player-coach role after ditching Bilardo. They received a stern refusal in reply, with El Diego not about to betray his friend, but he ultimately felt as though such loyalty was not reciprocated.

    Everyone wanted out of the marriage, and Del Nido's public comments about Maradona's fitness proved the final straw.

    "That's probably why that w***** Del Nido dared to say I wasn't even fit enough to play table tennis; to make me leave," Maradona wrote in his autobiography. "He knew I wouldn't put up with that kind of stuff. And that's how it happened, that was how my story with Sevilla ended. Badly."

    Maradona then missed out on £625,000 worth of unpaid wages as Sevilla withheld payment because he had "not met obligations to the club", bringing a bitter close to a chapter which had promised so much on a thrilling evening against Bayern.

  • Dak Prescott 'looked like Michael Jordan' in stunning Cowboys comeback Dak Prescott 'looked like Michael Jordan' in stunning Cowboys comeback

    Dak Prescott "looked like Michael Jordan" as he guided the Dallas Cowboys to an incredible comeback against the Atlanta Falcons, according to Rob Ryan.

    Dallas trailed 20-0 and 29-10 on Sunday, then were still nine points behind by the time Atlanta punted the ball back to them with just over three minutes remaining.

    A touchdown, a recovered onside kick and a field goal gave the Cowboys the most unlikely of 40-39 victories, quarterback Prescott ending the day with 450 yards and one touchdown through the air, having completed 34 of 47 attempts.

    He added three rushing touchdowns after earlier being responsible for one of the team's three fumbles, with Ryan seeing Prescott's clutch play in the closing stages as similar to NBA great Jordan in his prime.

    Ryan also feels the victory, which moved the Cowboys to 1-1, will help Prescott to get the recognition he has not always received amid a high-profile contract negotiation with his team.

    "He looked like Michael Jordan did late in games - he was intense, ready for the moment," Ryan, the former Cowboys defensive coordinator, told Sky Sports.

    "This guy has been putting up great numbers and all that for the last few years - people just don't give him the respect that he deserves. Maybe after this game they will start doing it."

    Prescott is not the first QB to be compared to Jordan, Clemson Tigers head coach Dabo Swinney previously doing the same with Houston Texans signal caller Deshaun Watson.

    Ryan has concerns over Dallas' defense ahead of their Week 3 trip to the Seattle Seahawks, who themselves won a thriller last time out, emerging triumphant against the New England Patriots.

    He added: "The Cowboys have to play much better defense. They have not stopped anybody since I got fired [in 2012].

    "Coming up to play the Seahawks this week; two of the most emotional wins for anybody in the regular season – they are now going head to head. That is going to be a great game.

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  • Bears legend & Hall of Famer Gale Sayers dies aged 77 Bears legend & Hall of Famer Gale Sayers dies aged 77

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    The Hall of Fame confirmed his passing in a statement on Wednesday.

    "All those who love the game of football mourn the loss of one of the greatest to ever play this game with the passing of Chicago Bears legend Gale Sayers," Hall of Fame president and CEO David Baker said in a statement.

    "He was the very essence of a team player -- quiet, unassuming and always ready to compliment a team-mate for a key block. Gale was an extraordinary man who overcame a great deal of adversity during his NFL career and life.

    "The 'Kansas Comet' burst onto the scene in the National Football League and captured the attention of all of America. Despite playing only 68 NFL games because of an injury-shortened career, Gale was a clear-cut -- and first-ballot -- Hall of Famer for his accomplishments on the field and for the man of character he was in life.

    "The entire Pro Football Hall of Fame family mourns the passing of Gale. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife, Ardie, and their entire family.

    "We will forever keep his legacy alive to serve as inspiration for future generations. The Hall of Fame flag will fly at half-staff until he is laid to rest."

    A fourth overall pick by the Chicago Bears in 1965 after racking up 4,020 all-purpose yards at the University of Kansas, Sayers made league history as a rookie.

    Sayers scored an NFL-record 22 all-purpose touchdown in his first season, including six in one game.

    He earned four Pro Bowl selections and five first-team All-Pro nods in his decorated career and came back from an injury-shortened 1968 season to lead the league in rushing yards in 1969.

    His efforts in that season earned him the Comeback Player of the Year award but further injuries cut his career short.

    Sayers retired before the 1972 season and was inducted into Canton as a first-ballot Hall of Famer five years later. 

    Labelled "the greatest player I've ever seen" by fellow Bears legend Mike Ditka, Sayers was named to the NFL's 50th, 75th and 100th Anniversary teams. His jersey number 40 is retired by the Bears.

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