Sunday, the Kansas City Chiefs continued a recent tradition when they hosted their fourth consecutive AFC Championship Game in Arrowhead Stadium, second-straight against the Cincinnati Bengals. After narrowly advancing to the Super Bowl, they took part in another pastime, taunting opposing cornerback Eli Apple.
Amidst the joyous celebration, Chiefs players could not resist in paying tribute (NSFW) to the NFL’s most controversial trash-talker.
“Eli Apple, I’m gonna smoke one for you,” safety Juan Thornhill quipped, via Bleacher Report. Apple just seems to make friends everywhere he goes.
The former first-round draft pick has made himself one of the most recognizable faces on every team he plays for, not necessarily with his prowess but more so his mouth. He most recently gave Buffalo Bills wide receiver Stefon Diggs a parting shot after his Bengals eliminated them from the playoffs last weekend. The Chiefs, though, had their own beef with Apple, having not forgotten when he mocked Tyreek Hill (now on Miami Dolphins) and Mecole Hardman after a bitter defeat in the 2022 AFC Championship Game.
With the roles now reversed, some KC players opted not to turn the other cheek. Apple is quite an enigma as his bravado is not equal to his individual standing in the league. He has tallied only five interceptions in his seven-year career, despite the high expectations for him coming into the league out of Ohio State. This season, Apple earned a cornerback grade of 53.3, which ranked 68th according to Sam Monson of Pro Football Focus.
To his credit, Apple did make a crucial touchdown-saving tackle on Hill at the end of the first half in last year’s title game. The momentum completely swung in Cincinnati’s favor coming out of the break and the rest of the afternoon.
Those bragging rights do not feel very relevant now, though. The Chiefs will get set to prepare for the Philadelphia Eagles in the Super Bowl, while Apple likely works on some new material for next season.