When the Kansas City Chiefs earned their place in the Super Bowl against the Philadelphia Eagles it didn’t take long for the game to be dubbed the “Kelce Bowl”.
On Sunday, Chiefs tight-end Travis and his older brother, Eagles center Jason, will become the first brothers to be on opposite sides in the NFL’s title game and that angle has dominated much of the media build-up.
Within days of clinching their Super Bowl berths, the brothers, sensing the overkill that was to come, attempted to keep the focus purely on the two teams and expressed their dislike for the “Kelce Bowl” monicker.
The pair used their “New Heights” podcast to try to make sure the attention on them was minimal with Jason saying “It’s been two days and I’m already over it.”
But the 35-year-old, a Super Bowl champion in 2017, was also experienced and realistic enough to know that whatever the brothers thought, the avalanche of coverage was coming in Super Bowl week.
“We’re gonna get asked about this question nonstop from here until the end of the game,” he said.
He wasn’t wrong.
The NFL sets up Super Bowl week with daily press conferences and media sessions involving all the top players and inevitably the Kelce brothers have been a main focus.
Their mother, Donna, is now a household name after wearing a football shirt showing her divided loyalties — half Eagles green and half Chiefs red — and there was even an online petition for her to make the coin toss before kick-off.
The bookmakers have picked up on the interest levels and are offering all manner of bets including odds on when Donna will be shown on television and whether the brothers will hug each other at the end of the game.
They may have been reluctant initially, but the brothers clearly decided it was futile to push back against the narrative that surrounds them.
“It’s an incredible moment for me and our family,” said Jason. “Whoever wins this one is going to have the ultimate bragging rights. We’re always rooting for each other, I always want him to do well, but I would sure love to have this one over his head and have at least something over top of Trav,” he said.
Jason has painted a picture of Travis being the dominant, more charismatic brother and certainly in sporting terms, playing the role of tight-end and connecting on touchdown passes with Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, the younger brother enjoys the higher profile.
But had it not been for Jason’s help, Travis — who won a Super Bowl with the Chiefs in the 2019 season — might never have made it to this stage.
The tight-end was suspended for a year after failing a drugs test during his time on the University of Cincinnati team but Jason, also at the same college, fought hard to make sure his kid brother was given a second chance.
“He was going in everybody’s office trying to get me back in and I am forever in debt for what he was doing and how much he was really promoting me to get back on,” he said.
“I wouldn’t be here without my brother, his competitiveness, his leadership, no way I would be here without him,” he added.
With both players featuring on offense, they won’t come face-to-face on the field during the game but both have been happy to swap stories about the competitive nature of their childhood.
Adding to the family storyline, Jason’s wife Kylie, who is 38 weeks pregnant, will be at the game with their two daughters and her obstetrician — just in case.
And yes, you can get odds on whether Jason leaves the field if Kylie should go into labor. And of course the player was already asked how that situation might play out.
“I think they might not tell me,” he said.
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