It began in Week 10. The San Francisco 49ers were facing 2nd-and-10 from their own 42-yard line, trailing the New York Giants 13-10 in the second quarter. C.J. Beathard completed a 7-yard pass to Garrett Celek. That pass was followed by a false start penalty that set up 3rd-and-8.
Beathard called Celek's number again, connecting with his tight end for a 9-yard gain and a first down. Celek made his third reception of the drive on the very next play and took it 47 yards to the house. He shook Giants cornerback Janoris Jenkins to add to the flare of the long score.
Just like that, "Celek Time" was born.
"It cannot be defined," Marquise Goodwin said. "I think we came to that conclusion yesterday in a meeting. When it's 'Celek Time', it's just 'Celek Time'. I still don't know what it means, really."
Kyle Shanahan gets credit for coining the phrase. He had no idea that it would catch on the way it did.
But "Celek Time" left its mark once again in last week's win over the Houston Texans. The game was tied 16-16 late in the third quarter, and Celek had to yet catch a pass. Out of nowhere, the tight end exploded for a career-long 61-yard reception that featured multiple broken tackles and breakaway speed that surprised the entire 49ers sideline. His teammates remain steadfast that Celek's elusiveness and top-end wheels are super powers that can only be conjured during "Celek Time".
Three plays later, Celek finished what he started and caught a 6-yard touchdown pass from Jimmy Garoppolo.
"We just started joking there that they didn't realize that it was 'Celek Time', and it just kind of stuck," Shanahan said. "We thought it was a one-time deal, but it came up again last week so now we're getting used to it, and guys enjoy it."
Added Garoppolo: "It's exciting. The guys love it. He's one of the fan favorites in the locker room you could say. Just one of those things that gets everyone going."
According to Kyle Juszczyk, there is no bat signal or warning sign of any sort that "Celek Time" is coming. The fullback also explained that Celek's super powers can only last for a certain amount of time on any given play. Think of it like the amount of turbo you get on each snap in NFL Blitz. That's why Texans defenders were able to catch up with Celek and tackle him at the 20-yard line. Even "Celek Time" has its limits.
Celek now has three touchdowns on the season which ties a career high. Could there be another one on the way in Week 15 against the Tennessee Titans? Juszczyk thinks so.
"Y'all need to check your watches, cause it's 'Celek Time' around here," Juszczyk said.