Chiefs-Eagles News: Travis and Jason Kelce discuss NFL turf

Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce and his older brother — Philadelphia Eagles center Jason Kelce — host a weekly podcast called “New Heights.” The title is an homage to the Cleveland Heights, Ohio, neighborhood in which they grew up.

In the latest episode, the Kelce brothers discuss their Week 5 games, including Travis’s heroic effort to fight through his ankle injury and help lead the offense to their fourth consecutive victory.

“New Heights” with Jason & Travis Kelce | Jukes Original Presented by Wave Sports + Entertainment | You can also listen to the show on Spotify.

1. The king of food fights

Have you ever noticed how some of your favorite memories growing up are also the things you wouldn’t think of doing as an adult — as if, now that you’re a grownup, you can finally admit that you were a little punk in high school? But still, if you’re being really honest with yourself, if you had it to do over again, you wouldn’t change a thing.

In this episode, Travis admitted to being the main instigator of food fights at his high school.

“I got some bad karma coming my way,” laughed Travis, recalling his fond memories of mischief. “Every fight, I would start a food fight. Any time I would see a fistfight — because everybody, when you see a fistfight, everybody gets up from the table and runs over to see who’s fighting, well that means there’s a bunch of trays waiting to get tossed.

“[I would] Just throw an open milk carton — watch it splatter on the wall, and now all of the sudden everyone is throwing — I definitely ruined some people’s day, that’s for sure.”

From personal experience, I remember a food fight in particular that was one of the best nights of my life. I was in my early 20s, and my friends and I decided to throw a somewhat formal dinner party, but if you knew one thing about our friend group, we were all the reason our parents could not have nice things growing up, so it was not long before the evening devolved into full-blown cuisine-based warfare.

I can still remember my buddy Kevin riding our friend’s bike through their dining room with a basket of hot rolls, chucking them at people, while my other friend hurled mashed potatoes and sprayed champagne across the room. The situation was chaos personified, but no matter how hard we tried, I don’t think any of us were ever able to top that night.

2. Should turf be banned?

In recent weeks, there has been a lot of attention paid to what types of artificial turf teams are using in their stadiums. Some claim that slit film turf (specifically) is more dangerous to play on than other artificial surfaces. Pro Football Talk ran a piece on this subject last November.

“The problem with slit-film turf comes from the construction of the various fake blades of grass. Instead of a single blade of fake grass (monofilament), slit-film has openings in the pieces, creating a potential risk of cleats catching in the material.”

This matters to Chiefs fans because U.S. Bank Stadium, which is where the Minnesota Vikings play, is one of the few NFL stadiums that still utilize slit film turf — and it’s also where Travis hurt his ankle.

Travis said that in his mind, the type of turf is less important than the number of black pellets that are used in the backfill.

“My theory on any turf is that there are black pellets and when your cleat is on top of the turf you don’t really get that natural [feeling like] you’re digging into the ground,” explained Travis. “It kind of just grabs on top of the turf… and if you have too many pellets, it kind of feels like you’re on stilts a little bit or at least an unstable surface, and that’s where it gets kind of iffy for me, because the more unstable it is and the more you throw your feet in the ground. That’s not a good equation.”

Jason was less tactful in his criticism, arguing that with UV light technology, there is no reason the NFL cannot have natural grass in every indoor stadium.

“There are pot barns down the street that are growing mountains of f—king pot. We can grow grass indoors, I don’t want to hear this nonsense.”

3. Travis’ Hail Mary defense

With time expiring, the Vikings attempted a last-second Hail Mary, but Minnesota quarterback Kirk Cousins never got the pass off. Instead, he was sacked by Chiefs defensive lineman Mike Danna to end the game.

As a precaution, Chiefs defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo put Travis Kelce in the end zone to defend the possible jump ball. Teams usually deploy their tallest and best jumping players for these sorts of situations, but Travis joked that at his age, that might not be him anymore.

“I think they put me out there because I’m kind of savvy… Spags is just like, I trust that you are going to figure it out.”

Pretty much every team runs the Hail Mary play the same way: You place a receiver in front of the group of players who attempts to jump up and catch the ball, while at the same time, you place a guy at the back of the group on the off chance the ball is tipped backward, so he can try to snag it before it hits the ground.

Because of this, defenses are taught to hit the ball sideways away from the receivers. Travis compared it to playing volleyball.

“I’m not going to hit it at somebody; I’m going to hit it to the open spot.”


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