Saturday afternoon, the San Francisco 49ers hosted the Minnesota Vikings in the NFC Divisional Round. This was tight end George Kittle's first appearance in the postseason, and he wanted to mark the occasion with some special footwear. He showed up wearing cleats that featured the face of Jumanji star Dwayne Johnson.
The most electrifying tight end in sports entertainment 🔥January 11, 2020
Dubbed "The People's Tight End" by Johnson, Kittle has been turning heads for two seasons. The former Iowa star has made a name for himself as the most exciting tight end in football for his big plays on the football field, as well as his celebrations off of it. Part of this process has been channeling Johnson after every single victory.
"Can you smell what the Niners are cooking?" Kittle has screamed after big wins throughout a 13-3 season. This led to multiple interactions with the former WWE in Johnson, including one in which Kittle was given the nickname.
To celebrate this unique relationship, the NFL's Checkdown Twitter account created a photo that showed cartoon versions of Kittle and Johnson grasping arms in celebration. The 49ers tight end even had his own custom championship belt with the team logo.
Kittle set the NFL's single-season record for tight ends after posting 1,377 yards in 2018. He was a dangerous weapon for the 49ers and has only continued that trend in 2019. He still topped 1,000 yards despite missing two games due to injury, and he scored five receiving touchdowns. He led the team in receiving yards and was the only member of the team to top 1,000.
With a week away from the field as part of the first-round bye, there were questions about whether or not Kittle and the 49ers would be able to build up an early lead and take care of business at home. Getting the tight end involved early was critical considering his importance to this offense, and he responded with one catch for 11 yards on the first drive. This play set up a touchdown to give his team an early lead, and he made it while wearing the custom Johnson cleats.
The star tight end was not the only player on the field to don custom cleats. Irv Smith and Stefon Diggs of the Minnesota Vikings each channeled shows of their youth with custom Full House and That's So Raven cleats, respectively.
Photo Credit: Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images