Imitating Super Bowl star tight ends is strictly a Utah business this year
As practice squad members, the Eagles’ Noah Togiai and the Chiefs’ Matt Bushman are tasked with imitating top tight ends from the opposing team
PHOENIX — Imitation isn’t just “the sincerest form of flattery,” as Oscar Wilde famously said.
It’s also part of the job for a pair of Utah ties who are helping their teams prepare for this year’s Super Bowl.
Former BYU tight end Matt Bushman, now on the Kansas City Chiefs’ practice squad, has the task of imitating Philadelphia Eagles star tight end Dallas Goedert in practice to help the Chiefs defense prepare for Sunday.
Former Hunter High tight end Noah Togiai, who is on the Eagles’ practice squad, has arguably the tougher task. He’s imitating eight-time Pro Bowl tight end Travis Kelce, the Chiefs’ leading receiver and one of the best in the game.
It’s a role both Utah ties are embracing.
“It’s been fun,” Togiai told the Deseret News this week, of imitating Kelce.
“The routes that he runs are very creative, very hard to imitate but I do my best and will continue to do my best to make sure they’re ready to go on Sunday.”
Kelce led all NFL tight ends with 1,338 receiving yards during the regular season, and his 12 touchdown receptions was second leaguewide.
“The routes that he runs are very creative, very hard to imitate but I do my best and will continue to do my best to make sure they’re ready to go on Sunday.” — Noah Togiai, on imitating Travis Kelce
During the playoffs, he has added 21 receptions for 176 yards and three touchdowns.
Kelce is also known for his emotion-fueled celebrations.
“I haven’t gotten there yet,” Togiai said, adding a laugh, when asked if he’s got Kelce’s celebrations down, “but hopefully I’ll get there this week.”
Bushman also understands the importance of his role of imitating one of the opposition’s top offensive weapons.
“I just try to give a good look for the defense and run fast, catch balls, so that when it’s game time, they know what to expect,” he told the Deseret News.
Goedert may be less of a feature in Philadelphia’s offense than Kelce is with Kansas City’s, but he’s still an important one.
“I can’t lollygag or anything. I know the defense needs a good tight end look every play so come game time, they see it and can recognize what we’ve gone over in practice.” — Matt Bushman, on imitating Dallas Goedert
Despite missing five games with a shoulder injury, Goedert caught 55 passes for 702 yards during the regular season, third-best on the team, with three touchdowns.
In the postseason, he has 10 catches for 81 yards and one touchdown.
“He’s probably one of Jalen Hurts’ main receivers, so I’m just trying to give them a good look,” Bushman said. “I can’t lollygag or anything. I know the defense needs a good tight end look every play so come game time, they see it and can recognize what we’ve gone over in practice.”
The Chiefs play the Eagles in this year’s Super Bowl on Sunday at 4:30 p.m. MST at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.