The 49ers superstar tight end speaks with Boardroom about video games, investments, cryptocurrency, Deebo Samuel, and which star quarterback is elite at Rocket League.
A lover of football, video games, sneakers, and chips, star San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle was hanging out next to Crypto.com Arena three days before Super Bowl LVI representing Tostitos, Doritos, Lays, and Cheetos and their support of artists in East Los Angeles.
“I’m all for snacks and I’m all for art,” Kittle told Boardroom. “Because football’s kind of a form of art, so I’m kind of an artist.”
Kittle had his mind on some Scoops with medium salsa and queso, the family recipe of Fritos, pulled pork, and macaroni salad on top. Aside from food, he spoke with us in a wide-ranging conversation about his team’s NFC Championship Game loss to the eventual Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams, his amazingly talented teammate, Deebo Samuel, investments and cryptocurrency, which star quarterback is elite at Rocket League, and more.
SHLOMO SPRUNG: Obviously, you wanted to be playing in the Super Bowl instead of talking to us. How do you feel about how the championship game against the Rams went down?
GEORGE KITTLE: You’re always disappointed when you don’t achieve your goals for the whole season. Your goal every season is to win, but there is a lot you can pull from the whole season. Starting 3-5 with a bunch of injuries and then having a team that bounces back and wins nine of the last 11 and becomes road warriors, goes and gets wins at Jerry’s World, and then up at Lambeau in sub-zero [weather], it was a fun ending to the year. I really wish we would’ve won, but I did enjoy it. I will say that.
SS: What made the Rams so dangerous in the three times you played them last season?
GK: Aaron Donald. He’s one of the only players in the NFL where every single play can be a game-wrecking play. If you don’t put two guys on him, or there’s certain run plays that he knows how to split the gap, [he] will just terrorize the play. If you let him change the game on those plays, you’re going to lose.
So you have to account for him, and then you have to have your tackles play at a high level versus Von Miller, who’s really good at football. And Leonard Floyd is really good at football. And they have a good secondary to back them up. You just can’t let Aaron Donald wreck the shop.
SS: When did you know that Deebo Samuel was going to be a star player?
DS: His rookie season. You could just tell. He had something that not everybody has, and that’s the will to be physical at wide receiver.
And not like he runs routes [and] gets physical at the top of his routes — when he gets the ball in his hands, he runs like he’s a running back. When you give him the ball in space and he can run it like he can like a bowling ball, there’s not a lot of guys that want to tackle him. And then when you have a team full of guys like that with me, Brandon Aiyuk, our running backs Elijah Mitchell and Raheem Mostert it gets even better because now guys have to tackle all of us and they just keep getting bumps and bruises every play. Deebo is only going to get better, too. I can’t wait to watch that.
SS: What’s it like being around this team when you win every game for two months?
GK: It’s really fun. Winning makes everything easier. Guys got into a groove. We were feeling ourselves. We got a rhythm.
The two we lost in the last 11 were Seattle and Tennessee, and we felt like we had a chance to win both of those games, and all we did was hurt ourselves. So we kind of just figured if we play our football, we have a chance to win every single game and that’s what we did on the road and played well at home. Guys stepped up and it was just a fun locker room.
SS: What have you been liking lately in the world of stocks and investments?
GK: I’m actually trying to learn everything I can about NFTs and crypto and the Bitcoin stuff. I have a couple of buddies who are highly invested in it. I haven’t really looked at it, really, but I’m interested because now I have time in the offseason to look at it a little bit.
SS: You posted on social media about eight, nine months ago, “can someone explain cryptocurrency to me?”
GK: Did I really? [Laughs]
SS: Yeah. Did someone explain it?
GK: Mildly. A little bit. I know it has something to do with the blockchain. And I think if I know that, then I know a little bit more than most people. But I don’t know much. But I’m interested. Our fullback, Kyle Juszczyk, is huge into cryptocurrency, NFTs. He’s tried to explain it to me a couple of times, but they’re mostly on the plane rides home after games. So now I’m fully aware and fully ready for him to explain it to me at some point.
SS: Are there any investments you’ve made over the past season that you’ve gotten really interested in?
GK: I don’t know if you’ve seen the JUGGS machine called the Monarc Seeker. You put a GPS tracker on as a football player, and it can throw you routes like a mechanical quarterback. That’s been in development for a while, but it’s out and I want to say 10-plus colleges and universities bought them already.
They’re awesome. I’m trying to get them in the NFL, and a couple of the head guys there are guys I went to college with. I’m really good friends with most of the guys on that staff. I’m excited about that.
Another one I did was the Virgin cruise ship line. That was cool, too. I got in on that, and I’m excited about that. I’ve never been on a cruise. I don’t know if I’d fit too well. I’m tall and I feel like it’s made for people 6-foot-2 and shorter.
SS: You did a partnership not too long ago with Rocket League. Are you big into Rocket League and gaming?
Rocket League is one that I play consistently. I have a group of guys that I will do 4v4 custom games and we just play the heck out of it. I love Rocket League. It’s so hard. And the thing I love about it, too, is that there’s nothing that makes you better at it, but it’s really difficult for everybody. And I really enjoy that.
Joe Burrow is phenomenal at Rocket League. Like, really good. He loves it.
SS: If you could rep one brand that you don’t already rep, what would it be and why?
GK: Does GOAT count? Like the sneakers app? I would rep GOAT or StockX — either one — because I love sneakers. I got all the Virgil Off-Whites. I love those websites. My wife’s not a huge fan that I love those websites so much, but I love sneakers and I love buying shoes. I have a ton of them. You know those clear boxes? I have a bedroom that’s just four walls of clear boxes. It’s awesome.
I try to wear a new pair every day. Like the whole season, I just rotate. I have a couple pairs that I wear more often, like the Jordan 1 Spider-Mans. I love those ones because they’re four of my favorite movies. And I love Dunk Lows, too. They’re just easy to put on and off. Like the Pandas, I like those too.
SS: If you were to win an Olympic gold medal in one sport, which one do you think you could win any why?
GK: Curling. I love curling. I was watching that forever. I think it’s one of the coolest sports.
Do I get to practice, or do I just go right into it?
SS: You gotta go into it right now.
GK: Oh, wow. I think my best chance would be beach volleyball. It’s my second-favorite sport besides football. It’s a great time.