The Kelce Brothers: How Jason And Travis Became NFL Superstars

Super Bowl LVII is a special event for every single one of the players for both the Philadelphia Eagles and the Kansas City Chiefs, as it would be for any pro athlete fortunate enough to make it into such a legendary competition. However, it's easy to see why the historic match might be slightly more important for the Kelce brothers, Jason and Travis.

The siblings not only play in different positions, with one being a tight end and the other an offensive center, but more importantly, they are vital members of opposing teams. As veteran professionals, the two superstars have faced each other before in the regular season, but the battle for the NFL championship in 2023 is another matter entirely (via Today). Several other crucial steps in both of these superstars' careers led up to the epic showdown, all of which have made them two of the top celebrities in modern football.

Brotherly competition pushed them to succeed

Only two years separate Jason and Travis Kelce in age, so for most of their lives the two brothers were on fairly equal footing. As is often the case in such families, that dynamic fostered nearly constant struggles between the two, as their mother, Donna Kelce, can attest. When talking with Today, she revealed, "There were a lot of fights. Everything was a competition. It was a competition to see who could get to the table first, who could get in the front seat of the car. It's just typical sibling rivalry. They egged each other on."

The rivalry continued throughout adolescence and was obvious to their high school coach, Mike Jones. In an interview with, he added, "Those guys got after each other. Travis being the younger one was always just trying to keep up with Jason." With each brother always pushing himself to the limit just to get the better of the other, they created a drive within themselves that is a major key to success. It would be no surprise if both of them carried that passionately motivated mentality from their childhood all the way through their professional lives as well.  

Their athletic careers started in high school

Both Jason and Travis Kelce were extremely athletic from a very young age. Even as early as middle school, the brothers were so skilled on the field and the basketball court that they got the attention of coach Mike Jones at Cleveland Heights High School. Once enrolled there a couple years later, they both played a few different sports on top of football, including basketball, baseball, lacrosse, and hockey. 

Most impressive was how good the two were at all these various sports. When Jeff Rotsky, the coach who took over during Travis' senior year, was talking with, he said, "Trav, he's the only human being I've ever known that could have been a Division I football, basketball, and baseball player. I mean, that's a fact." Rotsky then continued his praise with, "Trav is just on a different level than anybody else. He is so athletic."

Jason also stood out because he was such a versatile athlete. Jones told The Philadelphia Inquirer, "He was a heck of a player." QB coach and defensive coordinator Damion Creel added (via, "Jason was a remarkable kid in terms of what he could do, how tough he was and just was able to do everything we asked of him." Jason's dedication and determination certainly paid off. As a senior, he not only became captain of the team, but he also earned his league's defensive MVP award with 105 tackles. 

[Featured image by Tim Evanson via Wikimedia Commons | Cropped and scaled | CC BY-SA 2.0]

Both brothers played football at the University of Cincinnati

As the older brother, Jason Kelce graduated from Cleveland Heights High School first and then began attending the University of Cincinnati in 2006. Even with his high school accomplishments, however, he struggled at the college level at first and initially failed to get a Division I scholarship.

But that was not the case for long, and his former coach, Mike Jones, was not surprised in the slightest. He told The Philadelphia Inquirer, "I knew Jason was going to work his tail off. Jason was the type of young man who would do whatever a coach wanted him to do. I knew once he got on campus and they saw his motor and saw how passionate he was about playing football, I knew he would get a scholarship. I told [Cincinnati] Coach Treadwell, 'It won't take long. You guys will figure it out.'"

By 2008, Travis joined the team as well, and the siblings played together again for a couple years. Both continued to impress throughout their collegiate careers, leading to a sixth-round draft pick by Philadelphia for Jason in 2011, while Travis was drafted in the third round by the Kansas City Chiefs in 2013, according to WLWT News.

Jason and Travis Kelce were convinced to change positions

At Cleveland Heights High School, while Jason Kelce played all sorts of defensive positions, from middle linebacker to running back, Travis was the quarterback. But that would change dramatically for both athletes once they were at the University of Cincinnati, where Travis became a tight end and Jason gradually transitioned into the offensive line as a center (via

Of the two, Jason may have struggled a bit more to alter his approach to the game so much, but his grit proved he could pull it off in an outstanding fashion. In an interview with The Philadelphia Inquirer, coach Brian Kelly recalled, "Primarily, it was that his passion was unmistakable. Just the way that he wanted to master his craft filtered into everyone around him. He wanted to do so well at a new position that it raised everyone else's game. That's what I remember the most about it. Here's a guy who is so committed to being the best center and he just moved there that everyone else had to heighten their game."

Travis Kelce owes his career to Andy Reid

As coach of the Kansas City Chiefs, Andy Reid has been incredibly influential during Travis Kelce's career, and Travis is the first to admit it. When talking with his brother, Jason, on their podcast, "New Heights," he explained, "Coach Reid nonstop evolved this tight-end position for me, and I can't say how much I love him for that." Travis then stressed, "So, I owe a lot of my career, if not all my career to that big guy. So, cheers. Cheers to 10 more [years]."

Travis then confirmed this belief again on "The Pat McAfee Show," as well as describing how Reid has been such an effective strategist in the game due to his ability to figure out how to get players open for critical passes. Travis then joked that Reid is so great at his job, in fact, that he would be able to coach the player's father to make a successful first down in an NFL game.

Jason Kelce trained under Jeff Stoutland

While Jason Kelce began to cement himself as a center of the Philadelphia Eagles shortly after joining the team, it was not until he was under the direction of the offensive line coach, Jeff Stoutland, that he gradually became exceptional in the role. Stoutland was brought on board in 2013 and began to help massively in forming Jason into one of the best centers on the field (via The Philadelphia Inquirer).

To describe what has made Stoutland such an effective instructor, Jason explained, "Obviously, he's extremely knowledgeable, experienced and strategic and able to build a game plan and something that's conducive to the players." The center also added, "He's an outstanding technician who understands how to hit run blocks, understands how to teach pass blocking and footwork and all of that." Jason then summed up the results and said, "He gets the most out of every player who has ever played for him. And that's usually a mark of a pretty darn good coach" (via NBC Sports Philadelphia).

The players stuck with their teams

Throughout their professional careers, Jason and Travis Kelce have shown a level of loyalty to their respective teams that cannot have gone unnoticed by the fans. After entering the NFL draft in 2011, Jason has not played for any other NFL team but the Philadelphia Eagles (via Likewise, Travis has remained with the Kansas City Chiefs ever since he was drafted in 2013 (via

For Travis, his decision to stay with his team has a lot to do with the man who leads them, coach Andy Reid. In an appearance on "The Pat McAfee Show," he said, "I tell everybody all the time I owe all my success to this guy for kind of expanding the tight end role in this offense for me ... I don't see myself ever playing for another head coach, especially another offensive mind like Andy Reid."

Travis Kelce starred in a reality show

Incredible athletes like the Kelce brothers often reach a degree of celebrity status, but when they manage to branch out into other parts of the entertainment industry, it can lead to a whole new level of fame. Travis was put solidly on this path to superstardom once he became the focal point of his own reality TV show, "Catching Kelce," on E! in 2016.

Travis' rising popularity clearly did not go unnoticed by the network and was the primary reason why they were willing to risk having a football player lead a non-sports-related program. Jeff Olde, EVP of Programming and Development at E!, explained to Deadline, "On top of being a well-respected athlete, Travis has a fun-loving, over the top personality that draws people to him, and we are excited to give our viewers an up-close look at his search for love." The one-season, elimination-style dating show brought 50 women to Los Angeles to compete for Travis' affection.

Travis has broken a few major records

Travis Kelce has continued to impress year after year playing for the Kansas City Chiefs and has made himself into a true record-breaker. In 2020, the talented athlete smashed two records for a tight end in one day: He not only racked up the most receiving yards in a single season, but he also became the first tight end with two 100-catch seasons under his belt.

Travis was humble in his response to the achievements. He told Sports Illustrated, "I really don't get caught up in the personal accolades, I work my tail off to just try to be the best teammate and best player I can be for this organization on and off the field. Getting recognized like that is awesome because my teammates, my coaches, the people in this building are proud of me in that regard." He then added, "At the end of the day, there's always more to accomplish in a team game."

Then, only two years later, Travis was at it again. When the Chiefs faced the Denver Broncos in 2022, he became the tight end that reached 10,000 yards receiving in the shortest amount of time ever (via

Both brothers have already won Super Bowls

Among their various accomplishments on the field, both Jason and Travis Kelce have already earned Super Bowl rings. In 2018, the elder sibling earned the right to brag that he did it first after the Philadelphia Eagles overcame the New England Patriots to achieve victory in Super Bowl LII (via USA Today). But the boasting must have been toned down considerably only two years later when Travis and the Kansas City Chiefs defeated the San Francisco 49ers to win Super Bowl LIV (via CNN).

Since each brother has already won the NFL championship once already, it takes away much of the tension for their mother, Donna Kelce, who can sit back and just enjoy the spectacle. When talking with Today, she said, "They've already got the first win under their belts, so this is just going to be pure joy. We're going to really enjoy this, have a great time. Obviously, there's going to be somebody that's going to go home heartbroken. They won't have the bragging rights at the Thanksgiving table, but this is going to be an awesome event and I'm really looking forward to it."

The Eagles greatly rewarded Jason Kelce for his service

In 2022, Jason Kelce's dedication to the Philadelphia Eagles literally paid off in a major way when he secured a $14 million deal. The substantial increase from his previous contract worth $9 million elevated him to the highest earning echelon in the NFL as the center with the largest paycheck, reports ESPN. Not only that, but coach Nick Sirianni also added the personal touch of having a keg of beer delivered to Jason's home as a gift.

The team went to such lengths because they did not want to risk losing a player as valuable as Jason — not to another team, but to retirement, as Jason entered his mid-30s. Fortunately for Philadelphia, the plan worked, and they were able to keep the superstar on their roster for at least a little longer. The Eagles' decision to go all-in on their oldest all-pro player since the 1950s certainly paid off for them as well since he had a huge role in getting them into another Super Bowl (via NBC Sports).

The brothers started a podcast

With their careers likely to come to a close sometime over the next few years simply due to age, Jason and Travis Kelce have made the clever move of starting a podcast while they remain at the center of the spotlight in the sports world. Since the duo, unfortunately, cannot play football forever, building a strong following now will give them a perfect avenue to transition into once they both eventually call it quits.

In their announcement for the project, the brothers said, "We've been waiting for the right moment to do this show, and with 12 Pro Bowls and two rings between us, we have a few things to say about the league, the new talent on the field, the upcoming season, and our lives off the field." In a brief description of the podcast, they added, "For the most part, this will be a raw dialogue between two brothers who had the chance to live out their childhood football dreams together" (via USA Today).

The podcast, "New Heights," was a success right away, proving it was the right call for them to focus on the new endeavor. The show rose to the No. 1 spot in sports podcasts in September 2022 — the same month its first episode debuted, according to Business Wire.

Each is considered one of the best players in his position

The Kelce brothers' performances have been so spectacular throughout their long careers that each is acknowledged as one of the best to ever play his position in the NFL. Jason's fellow offensive lineman Andre Dillard seems to agree wholeheartedly with that assessment of Jason's talents as a center. He explained to The Washington Post, "He's basically like a conductor, not just for the O-line, but the offense in general. He leads us in meetings. He's always coming up with ways to help us win ... He basically is a coach. It seems like he knows everything."

One could make the argument that Jason's younger brother has impressed even more as a tight end. The fact that Travis has already had seven consecutive seasons with over 1,000 receiving yards is amazing on its own. But when it's taken into consideration that many other exceptional players in that same position never had more than four consecutive 1,000-yard seasons during their careers, the achievement is even more special (per The Washington Post). And with his career not over yet, he still has opportunities to get even better.

The first time brothers have ever faced each other in the Super Bowl

Both Jason and Travis Kelce have stood out as two of the best football players of their generation throughout their record-breaking careers. However, the brothers will make history again in possibly one of the most memorable ways to the general public for Super Bowl LVII. In the long history of the prestigious competition, there has never been a time when brothers have played against each other until now, as the Philadelphia Eagles take on the Kansas City Chiefs.

The mother of the two men, Donna Kelce, shared her thoughts about the historic moment with Today, and said, "Well, you knew it was going to happen eventually to somebody because there are so many brothers in the NFL right now that are playing at a very high level. It just happened to be that we were the lucky ones first, so I think it's probably going to be more and more prominent."