Travis Kelce found himself in pretty unfamiliar territory for much of his Kansas City Chiefs’ surprising blowout of the New England Patriots in the NFL season opener on Thursday.
As part of a college-style spread option offense that head coach Andy Reid used to run the football down Bill Belichick’s defense’s throats, the All-Pro tight end found himself often lining up behind the line of scrimmage, to block, rush, catch pitches, and act as a decoy when the option didn’t go his way.
One such play saw Kelce catch a forward pitch from quarterback Alex Smith before the tight end pounded up the gut for eight yards.
But under the ensuing pileup, the tight end and Patriots linebacker Kyle Van Noy engaged in some extracurricular activities—which Kelce ended with smashing the football into the linebacker’s nuts.
With the first nutshot of the season, football truly has arrived. pic.twitter.com/9xLVSp3gPy
— Deadspin (@Deadspin) September 8, 2017
Kelce was whistled for a 10-year unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on the play—for taunting, not for ball crushing.
But a better look at the play reveals Van Noy probably deserved it. After helping on the tackle, the linebacker took his sweet time getting off Kelce, going so far as to put his hand on the tight end’s face mask and rubbing his helmet into the ground.
That’s when Kelce had had enough, turning the football into a weapon against a man’s most sensitive of spots.
Closer look at what triggered Travis Kelce’s reaction & personal foul. Kyle Van Noy got away with a little extracurricular. pic.twitter.com/zJrK6iKPWH
— Rob Rang (@RobRang) September 8, 2017
Kelce is no stranger to antagonizing opponents. Last season, he mocked the Oakland Raiders’ Marquette King by doing the punter’s favorite celebration in front of him. A month later, Kelce appeared to taunt Tom Brady to his face before their teams faced off.