Heated Benches and Wetsuits! How Travis Kelce and the Chiefs Are Prepping for Record-Cold Playoffs

Heated Benches and Wetsuits! How Travis Kelce and the Chiefs Are Prepping for Record-Cold Playoffs


“If the numbers hold for what they’re saying, it will be the coldest game in our history,” the Chiefs longtime equipment director tells PEOPLE exclusively


Heated Benches and Wetsuits! How Travis Kelce and the Chiefs Are Prepping for Record-Cold Playoffs

The Kansas City Chiefs are ready to tackle the cold!

As the reigning Super Bowl champs continue their quest to clinch a consecutive NFL championship title, the Chiefs will face off against the Miami Dolphins in what’s predicted to be the coldest game in Kansas City history.

The wild card playoff game will be held at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City on Jan. 13 at 7:00 p.m. CT — and according to the National Weather Service, a winter weather advisory has been issued in Kansas City through Jan. 16. Plus, warnings of wind chill reaching “as low as 35 below zero.”

Frigid temps, however, are a familiar opponent to the Kansas City team — unlike the Florida-based Dolphins, who have lost 10 straight games when it was 40° F or lower at kickoff. (Coincidentally, the Fins’ coldest game ever played was against the Chiefs in 2008, when they kicked off in 10° F at Arrowhead.)

Allen Wright, Equipment Director of the Kansas City Chiefs, tells PEOPLE exclusively that his team’s had its “fair share of cold weather games” over the course of his 41 years with the franchise. “Once you get down into single digits … there’s really not much difference. It’s just plain cold,” he says.


As for whether he thinks the Chiefs have an advantage over the Dolphins because of the cold, Wright says it’s a question he gets asked “all the time.” From his experience, he finds “it doesn’t really matter” for Miami players since they “may have went to college and played in a cold weather climate.”
Record-breaking temperatures or not, Wright tells PEOPLE the Chiefs are prepared. The longtime equipment director says he “tries to give everybody as many options as possible” because “everybody is so subjective when it comes to the cold.”

And while Swifties will be eagerly waiting to see if Taylor Swift makes an appearance at the game to cheer on her boyfriend Travis Kelce, football fans can be assured that the superstar tight end will be ready to go either way. Wright says Travis is “a good Cleveland kid, so he’s used to the cold!”
Read on for how the Kansas City Chiefs are preparing for the freezing-temperature game against the Miami Dolphins, according to Allen Wright.

Due to geography alone, many fans assume the Chiefs have an advantage over the Dolphins because they practice in the cold on the day-to-day. However, Wright tells PEOPLE that’s not necessarily the case.

“It’s one of those things that every organization or every head coach has his way of doing it,” he says of NFL team practices. Having been with “so many head coaches over the years,” he’s learned that “some go by that theory and practice in it.”




Wright says others, meanwhile, believe there’s “no way to really prepare” for record-cold temperatures and opt to “stay warm and have good practices all week … and then deal with the cold weather on the day of the game.”

Ultimately, Wright says it “just depends on the head coach at that time.” As for Chiefs head coach Andy Reid, Wright says he’s “right in the middle” of the two practice strategies and “takes a real common sense approach to it.”

“If you can go out there and get your work done without it being a huge distraction, then we go out,” Wright explains. “We went outside this week and it was — with windchill — low 20s.”

Practices aside — when it comes to game day, it’s go time. Therefore, players are dressed appropriately to preserve their body warmth, but without hindering their athletic performances.

Wright tells PEOPLE that the Chiefs wear “Extreme Cold” gear manufactured by Reebok for the NFL 25 years ago (they don’t appear to be available for retail purchase). And since some players refuse to wear long-sleeve tops on the field — “They don’t feel like they can be athletic enough to play football,” Wright says — each team member gets a long- and short-sleeve version.

In addition to the thick tops, the players wear Extreme Cold bottoms — which Wright says the coaches wear, too. “Basic long underwear” is also worn on freezing-cold days.


Partly inspired by Tom Brady, Wright tells PEOPLE they “also give out wetsuits” to the team. In fact, he says the retired NFL superstar is “where I got it from years ago!”

While the wetsuits are “made for the water,” Wright says some players on the Chiefs “use them in cold conditions.” They come in long-sleeve and short-sleeve versions and different millimeters of thickness.

Wright says he offers every player on the Chiefs the option to wear the wetsuits, but says approximately “50% of the guys wear them.” He says the Chiefs vs Dolphins game “will be the ultimate test on how many guys do wear them,” predicting “the majority of them will.”

Wright says the most important thing players must do is “keep your core warm,” crediting the wetsuits for managing the cold during the short time the players are out on the field playing the game.

When players come to the sidelines, Wright says they have “big mittens” and “a bunch of hand warmers inside them” at the ready that “keep their hands extremely warm” when they’re not moving on the field.

But when players are in the game, Wright supplies them with glove liners and gloves. Plus, he provides them with sock liners and “real good thermal socks” too. He says the hand and foot warmers are also available to the coaches, too.
And just because the players wear helmets on their heads, doesn’t mean they’re keeping them warm! That’s why Wright says he gives the players (and coaches!) stocking hats and balaclava face masks to protect their heads.

“They make them for everybody in the NFL,” he notes. “So all of ours have arrowheads on them and the Dolphins will have their logo on them — so they’re kind of custom, but they’re just a normal balaclava.”

Both Jason and Travis Kelce have opened up about the heated benches on the sidelines of games, which Travis described as “hot as f—” when discussing them during an episode of their New Heights podcast.

Meanwhile, Jason said that the benches could “burn your hamstrings sometimes if you’re sitting on them.” Some players, like Travis, prefer the cold and “don’t like to be too hot.”

As for Travis’ game-day attire, Wright describes him as someone who sticks with the basics.

“So he’s a guy that doesn’t really change much on what he wears,” says Wright of the tight end. “He’s one that believes on staying warm on the sideline and then going out there for the 5, 6, 8 minutes, whatever an offensive drive is, then come back over and get warm when he comes off the field.”
In addition to the bench warmers, Wright says they use around eight bullet heaters on the Kansas City sideline. “Then, we have two infrared heaters, as well.”

Wright says the abundance of heaters is beneficial to the team because “when you have that many, it keeps that whole area warmer than what it is out on the field.”

Wright says that winter coats and capes are offered to the players to wear on the sidelines “so they can get them over their pads” when taking them on and off. While puffy coats have been a staple in the league for years, Brady first drew attention to NFL outerwear when he became a meme for his giant jacket in 2017.

While quarterback Patrick Mahomes’ usual coat isn’t quite as massive, rest assured that outerwear will be readily available for the entire team.

“I put extra guys on the sideline just to manage everybody’s coats,” he says. This is because players “will try to leave them on until the last minute and then run out on the field and they drop them right where they’re at and it’s kind of a organized mess!”

Some players will use heating cream on their skin
This next warming method isn’t as popular as the others mentioned, but Wright says some players and “a few coaches” wear Warm Skin. This is a barrier cream that acts as a skin guard, protecting it from the cold weather.

Wright explains that the product “gives you a little bit of a warm feeling” when you put the cream on your skin, though notes “it doesn’t last very long. He adds, “I think is one reason why people don’t really use it.”

While he says some of the Chiefs “will use it” during the Jan. 13 playoff game, he says the cream “is just one of those things that is not used like it used to be 20 years ago.” At the time, he said “that’s all you really had to provide” players as protection in comparison to “all these options that you have now.”

Wright couldn’t help but share a few “home remedies” he’s heard from players over his 40-plus years working with the Kansas City team. “We’ve had players that have put cayenne pepper in their shoes!” he says of a method used to combat the cold.

“I’ve seen some weird things over the years,” Wright continues. “Everybody just deals with it different and deals with it how they know how.”