Brother vs brother: Kelces prepare for Super Bowl showdown
Philadelphia Eagles center Jason Kelce waves to fans as he walks off the field after an NFL football game against the Dallas Cowboys, Saturday, Jan. 8, 2022, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
Dave Skretta, The Associated Press
Published Tuesday, January 31, 2023 9:08AM EST
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - Donna Kelce is going to have to pull out that now-familiar custom jersey - the one with Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce's front stitched to Philadelphia Eagles center Jason Kelce's back - one more time this season.
At least this time, she'll get to see her boys in person.
For the first time in Super Bowl history, a pair of siblings will play each other on the NFL's grandest stage. Kelce helped the Chiefs return to their third championship game in four seasons on Sunday night when they beat the Bengals for the AFC title, while Jason has the Eagles back for the second time in six years after their NFC title win over the 49ers.
“Cool scenario to be in, you know?” Travis Kelce said. “My mom can't lose.”
Or maybe can't win.
Indeed, there have been plenty of famous NFL siblings over the years, and many had some memorable matchups: Peyton and Eli Manning, Tiki and Ronde Barber. But they never reached the same Super Bowl, or had to put their dear old mom in such a predicament, where one will be hoisting the Lombardi Trophy at the other one's expense.
“It's going to be an amazing feeling playing against him,” added Travis, whose team has gotten the better of big brother's Eagles the last three matchups. “I respect everyone over there in the Eagles' organization. You won't see me talk too much trash because of how much I love my brother. But it's going to be an emotional game, for sure.”
Jason Kelce was even ever-so-briefly a Chiefs fan Sunday night, pulling on a Kansas City sweatshirt for about the 3 hours between the end of the Eagles' 31-7 rout of San Francisco and the finish of his little brother's 23-20 win over Cincinnati.
“That's it for the rest of the year,” Jason said with a smile. “I am done being a Chiefs fan.”
He'll leave that to mom and dad.
While her husband, Ed, has mostly kept private over the years, Donna has been a fixture as she crisscrosses the country to watch her boys. During wild-card weekend last year, she started in Tampa Bay watching the Eagles against the Buccaneers, then hopped a plane to Kansas City in time to watch the Chiefs play the Steelers at night.
She's already seen both of her sons win Super Bowls, too: The Eagles beat the Patriots in 2018 in Minneapolis, and the Chiefs rallied to beat the 49ers in Miami two years later.
She hasn't seen much of them lately, though. The way the playoff schedule worked out for the divisional round and the conference championship games, it was impossible for Donna to make it to see both of her boys in person.
In any case, they've come a long way from their solidly middle-class upbringing in Cleveland Heights, Ohio. Jason blazed the trail as as the star offensive lineman who earned a scholarship to Cincinnati, and Travis soon followed suit. Both caught the eyes of NFL scout during their college careers, and of one coach in particular: Andy Reid.
It was Big Red who, while coaching the Eagles, used a sixth-round pick on Jason during the 2011 draft. And two years later, after Reid had gotten a fresh start in Kansas City, the Chiefs used a third-rounder to bring Travis into the fold.
“Big brother probably protected Travis from doing some crazy things. He probably talked him from dropping off a ladder into raked-up leaves once or twice,” Reid said Monday. “Listen, they're both at heart very competitive and compassionate, is the biggest thing. They care and they care about people and they care about they're game.”
They also happen to be very good at it.
Jason has been to six Pro Bowls and was just voted an All-Pro for the fifth time, and he's emerged as one of the best offensive linemen in Eagles history. Travis has been to eight Pro Bowls, just made a fourth All-Pro team and is second in NFL history to Jerry Rice in playoff catches, yards and touchdowns.
Football's not the only thing they're good at, either.
The brothers have new a podcast called “New Heights with Jason & Travis Kelce,” which takes listeners on a riotous. real-time ride through the NFL season. The weekly shows are recorded on Tuesdays and last between 60 and 90 minutes, the two NFL stars playfully playing off each other as if they were hanging out in mom's basement.
Special guests have included Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts and Chiefs counterpart Patrick Mahomes.
“They have a good mesh there, and a good relationship,” Reid said. “I think Travis has grown up a lot. Jason probably came in a bit more mature - Travis was a little immature. But he's really grown into a good person.
“I have invested time in both of those two,” Reid added, “so I feel like a part of the family.”