Mecole Hardman Jr. says Travis Kelce's halftime talk helped the Chiefs win

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In a nail-biting showdown, the Kansas City Chiefs found themselves trailing and struggling to score against the San Francisco 49ers in the first half of Super Bowl LVIII. A crucial 28-yard field goal by Harrison Butker finally put the Chiefs on the board, shrinking the 49ers' lead to 10-3 at halftime.

The game's momentum shifted dramatically after the break, thanks to an electrifying pep talk from Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce. Mecole Hardman Jr. said Kelce's speech rekindled the team's fighting spirit.

"He set the fire on everybody," Hardman said Monday on "CBS Mornings." "He flipped a few things over, but he definitely had a good speech to get everyone going and definitely got fuel to the fire, and we came out to the second half doing better than we did in the first half."

It was the catalyst the Chiefs needed, turning the tide and propelling them to a remarkable comeback victory. The game-winning moment coming from Hardman himself — he caught a pass by quarterback Patrick Mahomes with 13 seconds left in overtime, giving the Chiefs their third Super Bowl championship in the past five seasons and cementing Kansas City as a football dynasty.

Kansas City Chiefs' wide reciever #12 Mecole Hardman holds the trophy after winning Super Bowl LVIII against the San Francisco 49ers at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, Feb. 11, 2024. / Credit: PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP via Getty Images
Kansas City Chiefs' wide reciever #12 Mecole Hardman holds the trophy after winning Super Bowl LVIII against the San Francisco 49ers at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, Feb. 11, 2024. / Credit: PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP via Getty Images

Hardman said the exact moment remains sort of a blur for him.

"When I caught the football, I'll tell you, I completely just lost reality. Then finally I just see Pat [Mahomes] run into me. It's like, 'You are a champion, you know that, right?' Oh yeah, and that's when the celebration started," he said.

Super Bowl LVIII served as a rematch of Super Bowl LIV in 2020, when the Chiefs and Mahomes felled the Niners 31-20 to bring Kansas City its first Super Bowl in a half-century. The two head coaches who patrolled the sidelines four years ago were again at the helm Sunday. In winning, Chiefs head coach Andy Reid maintained his perfect 4-0 record against Niners coach Kyle Shanahan.

Reflecting on his season's journey, Hardman, who started the year with the New York Jets, sid the journey to returning to the Chiefs has been a "rollercoaster," but switching teams contributed to another Super Bowl win, his third with the Chiefs.

"I guess everything happened how it was supposed to," he said.

Adding to the year's excitement, Hardman said he is going to celebrate the first birthday of his son, Mecole Hardman III, this week —  and he revealed that their family has another child, a girl, on the way this spring.

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