The breakout star of Tremendous Bowl week won’t play on Sunday. Donna Kelce will as a substitute watch from the commissioner’s field at State Farm Stadium as her sons, Jason and Travis, turn out to be the primary brothers ever to compete towards each other within the NFL’s title recreation.
“It’s going to be the very best day ever,” she instructed them on their podcast, New Heights. “Apart from if you had been born, when each you guys had been born, it may well’t get any higher.”
The episode was launched on Saturday, two days earlier than she stunned them at Tremendous Bowl Opening Night time, the hybrid press conference-jamboree that kicks this week off yearly. Jason and Travis had been being interviewed in entrance of hundreds of followers on a fundamental stage on the Footprint Middle when Donna emerged handy them every a plastic container filled with selfmade chocolate chip cookies.
Since then she has been in all places, giving TV interviews and even popping up at NFL commissioner Roger Goodell’s press convention to ask when he was going to seem on New Heights, all the time whereas sporting one in every of her customized half-and-half tops that mix the colors of Jason’s Philadelphia Eagles with Travis’s Kansas Metropolis Chiefs. A petition to have her make the ceremonial coin toss on Sunday attracted more than 180,000 signatures.
Donna has resisted that concept, saying she doesn’t need to be a distraction. Her sons insist she may by no means be. They are going to all the time be her youngsters, however Jason and Travis are hardly younger naïfs on this stage. Every of them has gained a Tremendous Bowl earlier than, and every is as a revered chief on their workforce.
Jason, the older brother, is a five-time All-Professional middle who has began for the Eagles ever since he was drafted again in 2011. Travis, two years his junior, is a decent finish with seven consecutive 1,000-yard receiving seasons, making a case to be remembered as the very best ever to play at his place.
Neither could be right here with out the opposite. Their childhood, as they inform it, was one in every of fixed competitors, whether or not that was wrestling and throwing lacrosse balls throughout the lounge or going one-on-one on the basketball court docket. There are tales concerning the time Jason power-bombed Travis so laborious into the couch that it went by means of the hardwood flooring, and when Travis threw Jason down so violently within the kitchen that the range got here off its hinges.
At Opening Night time, Travis described it as “satisfying chaos”, recalling “quite a lot of enjoyable, quite a lot of damaged home windows, quite a lot of shattered issues round the home that my mother and father needed to cope with.” Donna, in her look on the podcast, stated the one factor they by no means smashed was the TV.
The 2 boys would develop as much as play soccer collectively on the College of Cincinnati. Jason was a walk-on working again who coaches transformed to play on the offensive line. His work ethic and more and more dominant performances helped persuade coaches to supply Travis a scholarship two years later. The youthful Kelce was a extra eye-catching athlete: taller with uncommon fluidity to his actions, but in addition wanted to be transformed from quarterback to tight finish.
When Travis was suspended by the workforce after testing optimistic for marijuana in 2010, Jason moved him into his personal bed room to keep watch over him and ensure he bought again on observe. He stored his brother motivated with one-on-one exercises and vouched for him with coaches, persuading them to reinstate Travis the next yr.
“I wasn’t paying hire, he was serving to me with meals, so I used to be actually dwelling off him for fairly some time down there and he was my lifeline,” stated Travis this week. “I used to be making an attempt to do the appropriate issues, and he went into the coaches’ workplace and talked to quite a few coaches and quite a few individuals within the Cincinnati workers to attempt to get me one other likelihood to be on the workforce.
“I’m endlessly in debt to this man for placing his title, our title, placing his honor on the road to get me one other likelihood. After I say I owe all of it to him, I actually do.”
Even the shirt Travis wears for Kansas Metropolis, No 87, was chosen as a nod to his brother’s yr of beginning. But it has been laborious to keep up the closeness they as soon as had since turning professional. NFL seasons are busy, and there are a thousand miles between Philadelphia and Kansas Metropolis. The motivation to start out the New Heights podcast final August got here partly from wanting an excuse to talk to one another extra.
“What this did was gave us a scheduled two-to-three-hour window the place now we have to speak to one another and now we have to speak about what we’re going by means of, all through the week and all through the video games,” stated Travis on Opening Night time. “It’s nearly been like remedy, man. It’s been cool to listen to what he’s going by means of and simply to have some enjoyable with my brother like we did again within the day.”
They had been anxious, at first, about how the present could be obtained in the event that they or their groups had poor seasons. As an alternative, the other has come to move. There have been New Heights off the sector, because the podcast went to the highest of the US sports podcast charts, and on it as they arrange this appointment with each other at Tremendous Bowl LVII.
There was a lot discuss of their variations in Phoenix this week, Jason the extra reserved, pensive character and Travis the flamboyant showman, imitating the Rock and calling the mayor of Cincinnati a “jabroni” after the AFC title recreation. Donna reminded reporters that Jason, too, generally is a showman, dressing up in a Mummers outfit to deliver a memorable speech on the Eagles’ Tremendous Bowl celebration 5 years in the past.
Chiefs head coach Andy Reid is aware of each gamers nicely. He was nonetheless accountable for the Eagles once they drafted Jason in 2011, working with him for 2 years earlier than transferring to Kansas Metropolis. He bought to know Travis in that point, too, and it was that first-hand connection that led to the Chiefs deciding on the youthful Kelce within the third spherical in 2013.
“They’re each, at coronary heart, very aggressive and compassionate,” stated Reid this week. “They care about individuals, they usually care about their recreation, their commerce.”
That they care about one another has been evident all week, simply as it’s on the podcast the place they focus on the whole lot from childhood to the aliens that Travis insists reside on earth proper now, “both underwater or on Antarctica”. And so they care about their mother and father too, not simply Donna together with her cookies and half-and-half shirts but in addition their extra understated father, Ed.
Throughout his look on New Heights, Jason and Travis goaded him with questions on who he would cheer for many this Sunday. Ed refused to select however stated he would most likely go to the loser on the finish since “any person’s going to really feel fairly crummy. And I need to be with them initially.”
Travis teased that, no matter occurs, each mother and father might be losers on the finish of the evening, since one in every of their sons might be unhappy. “No,” insisted Ed. “Certainly one of you guys are gonna lose. I’ve already gained, dude. I’m on the most well-liked podcast in sports activities with my sons. I’ve already fucking gained. All the remainder of that is simply window dressing.”