It’s a family affair in Phoenix, where two rowdy, bearded brothers have masterminded the creation of what has been dubbed the Kelce Bowl.
Jason and Travis Kelce will be the first brothers to compete on football’s biggest stage as the Philadelphia Eagles take on the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LVII on Sunday.
At 35, Jason is the older, quieter one. Outgoing Travis is prone to diamond earrings, Louis Vuitton jackets and flashy touchdown celebrations.
In the NFL brothers are equal parts revered, feared and respected. Each is regarded as the best at his position and both have one Super Bowl win under their belts.
Jason has been a Philadelphia center for 12 years. A rock at the heart of their offensive line, he is a specialist blocker who is adept at marginal gains.
Jason (right) and Travis Kelce (left) are the first brothers to face each other in the Super Bowl
They grew up in a sports-mad household in Cleveland Heights, Ohio (pictured with mom, Donna)
35-year-old Jason (62) is the oldest and has been the center of the Philadelphia Eagles for 12 years
In an inch game, Kelce is central to the Eagles’ tactic of using a rugby-style maul to help quarterback Jalen Hurts complete short-yardage gains. In the regular season, the Eagles successfully converted 29 of 33 sneaks into first downs.
He is the highest-paid center after signing a one-year, $14 million contract to continue his career in the City of Brotherly Love.
Travis is two years younger and has an unerring ability to be elusive despite his six foot frame. He can catch any ball and then run significant distances, with or without players running off his limbs and body.
In the regular season he is unstoppable – he finished his seventh straight season with 1,000-plus yards, extending his record for a tight end.
But in the postseason it’s a phenomenon. In 17 playoff games he has 127 catches for 1,467 yards and 15 touchdowns. Only Jerry Rice, the greatest radio receiver of all, has more (151 catches for 2,245 yards and 22 touchdowns in 29 playoff games).
The Chiefs’ Patrick Mahomes, who was voted MVP for the second time on Thursday, had no doubt about his historic significance. “Travis, I mean, he’s Travis, the greatest tight end ever,” he said in November.
The Kelces were always around. Growing up in a sports-mad household in Cleveland Heights, Ohio, Travis doted on his older brother. He chose to wear No. 87 in the NFL as it was Jason’s birth year.
In September, the brothers decided to start a weekly podcast, New Heights. After 26 episodes it is at the top of Apple’s podcast charts.
Travis, the younger brother, is more of an extrovert prone to diamond earrings and bold clothes
Travis arrived in Arizona with the Kansas City Chiefs in another bold fashion choice
“It’s almost like therapy, man,” Travis said. “It was nice to hear what he’s going through and just have fun with my brother like we used to.”
“We talk to each other every week, we have fun and in a way I feel like it’s brought my brother and I closer, talking every week,” Jason said. “Normally during a season, you go months without talking to each other at times. You are so attached to your own things. This turned out to be great.’
Their parents have also appeared on the show – and regularly threaten to steal the limelight. Separated in 2011, the couple remain close and often attend matches.
Last season, mother Donna traveled 1,200 miles to see both of her sons play on the same day and gave Jason and Travis homemade cookies to get them through their Monday night media obligations.
On Sunday, she’ll sit in NFL commissioner Roger Goodell’s box wearing her custom-made half-and-half jersey. The front is red and emblazoned with Travis’ No. 87. the back is green and has Jason’s number 62 on it.
Donna gave Jason and Travis homemade cookies to get them through their Monday night media duties
Their mother regularly wears her half and half jersey and will be wearing it on Sunday
Donna attended NFL commissioner Roger Goodell’s press conference this week in yet another half-and-half outfit — this time a denim jacket
Father Ed, 71, will be cheering on both sides from the stands. A former iron and steel worker, he encouraged his sons to play any sport as they grew up in a Cleveland Heights, Ohio, home full of broken windows, footballs and huge grocery bills.
There were also fights. Many of these.
“Jason won all but one race, and that was the last race,” Travis said this week. “I would be a fool to say I won. But I definitely gave it my all and he stopped fighting me after that.’
Jason also played hockey and lacrosse, as well as the saxophone, while Travis gravitated toward baseball and basketball.
But the Kelces always dreamed of playing in the NFL for the Cleveland Browns, and both excelled in the sport.
In 2008 Travis joined Jason at the University of Cincinnati. He was suspended for a second year after failing a marijuana test, but after his older brother intervened, the brothers played on the same team for one season.
Jason was drafted by Philadelphia in 2011 in the sixth round by then-coach Andy Reid. Two years later, Travis was drafted by Reid in his first season as the Chiefs’ head coach in the third round.
Both are fan favorites. During the 2018 Eagles Super Bowl winning parade, Jason launched into a five-and-a-half-minute, profanity-laced speech outside the city’s Art Museum.
Since 1901, Philadelphians have been dressing up as Mummers to celebrate the New Year. Kelce donned a green genie uniform and shouted in a husky baritone: “This whole organization is a bunch of driven guys who accomplished something.
“We’re a bunch of underdogs. And you know what an underdog is? He is a hungry dog…”
Travis is usually as an animated postgame. He motivated the mayor of Cincinnati – who had predicted a Bengals victory – after the AFC Championship game.
Kansas City tight end is animated after games (photo after AFC Championship)
It motivated the mayor of Cincinnati, who had predicted a Bengals victory, after the Chiefs’ victory
Jason’s wife Kylie (second left) is 38 weeks pregnant and will be accompanied by obstetricians
Jason and Kylie share two daughters Elliotte and Wyatt, who will also be at the game on Sunday
“Hey, I have some words of wisdom for this mayor of Cincinnati,” he said. “Know your part and shut your mouth, you bastard!”
However, he made sure not to poke his brother bear before Sunday.
“You won’t see me talk a lot of trash with how much respect and how much I love my brother,” Travis said. “But it will definitely be an emotional game.”
Not half. Jason’s two young children and his wife, who is 38 weeks pregnant, will also be on the pitch. He will be next to two obstetricians.
“This could be a super Kelce Bowl. If he has a baby on the field, it’s officially scripted,” Jason said.
If you’re looking for an omen, the Kelces have played each other three times – Travis and the Chiefs have won all three.
And yes, the Kelces were thinking about what the end will bring.
Travis asked Ed which son he would look for first. “Probably the loser,” he said. “Somebody’s going to feel really bad, and I want to be with them — initially.”