Late in the fourth quarter of Week 14’s game between the Chiefs and Bills, Travis Kelce made one of the greatest plays of his career.
With Kansas City trailing 20–17 just past midfield, Kelce caught a pass 20 yards downfield and turned up looking for more. But rather than accepting his fate when the defense closed in for a tackle, Kelce pivoted and threw a backward pass across the field to wide receiver Kadarius Toney.
Toney was wide open and scampered into the end zone untouched. The Chiefs took a 23–20 lead.
Except they didn’t.
Officials had thrown a flag right at the snap and called Toney for lining up offsides. The play, which would have been solidly in the first minute of Kelce’s already impressive career highlight reel, was called back. It never actually happened.
The Bills would hold on to win, 20–17.
On the sidelines, Patrick Mahomes was fuming after the play. Speaking with reporters after the game, Mahomes elaborated on why he was so frustrated with the penalty that called back the play. While Mahomes was obviously disappointed the call affected the Chiefs’ chance to win the game, his problem with the flag went far deeper than that.
“That’s a Hall of Fame tight end making a Hall of Fame play that won’t be shown because [they] threw a flag for offensive offsides,” Mahomes said during his postgame press conference. “It takes away from, not only this game, this season, but from a legendary career that Travis has had. That hurts me because I know how hard he works for it.”
Mahomes could only continue to praise his teammate.
“It’s a legendary moment, man. It’s not taught. Something that only a couple people in this world would even think about doing,” Mahomes added. “For him to make that play in that moment—making the play, making the catch, making a couple dudes miss and then throwing the ball across the field to another guy and scoring a touchdown in that moment—I hope they still show it whenever he goes into the Hall of Fame. Because that’s a legendary moment that we didn’t really get to witness.”
Mahomes and Kelce will get their next shot at making magic together next week when they head to Gillette Stadium for Week 15 to take on the Patriots.