This time, Jenna Kelce will not need to come dressed haphazardly. During the last Super Bowl, to avoid making anyone jealous, the mother of Travis (Chiefs) and Jason (Eagles) had cobbled together a filthy jacket with the Kansas City jersey on one side and the Philadelphia jersey on the other. This Sunday, the septuagenarian will not have to choose between her two offspring. The eldest retired after being eliminated in the play-offs, leaving only Travis, military cut and full beard, who will play his fourth Super Bowl against the San Francisco 49ers.
In the plush boxes of Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, Jenna will meet Taylor Swift, if the latter decides to destroy her carbon footprint for good by returning from a express concert in Japan. The pop-country popess will not be there to do the halftime show, nor for “have you seen me”, like most of the VIP guests. No, the singer will push, like Jenna, behind a single man, Travis Kelce, who has indirectly become, since the formalization of their couple in September 2023, a demi-god for the Swifties. There famous of the tight end (close receiver) has crossed the boundaries of American football, although he is one of the best players on his team with quarterback Patrick Mahomes.
Hard to defend on him
“It’s the most important play in the Chiefs game, and maybe even in the entire NFL,” explains Marcus Dash, presenter of the Chiefs Concern podcast and YouTube channel. He is the primary target in the passing game and whether he gets the ball or not, he draws multiple defenders onto him. » And even with the defensive patrols on his back, the imposing No. 87 (1.96 m, 115 kg) (almost) always manages to get by.
“Due to its size, it’s an easy target,” adds Laurent Marceline, professional player in NFL Europa from 2003 to 2006 and now consultant for beIN Sports, which will broadcast the Super Bowl. It’s hard, in defense, to have the same physical qualities opposite: speed, hands, wingspan. His big strong point is the quality of his lines and the analysis he does of defenses. He always manages to free himself, to escape individual markings. »
A chaotic journey through university
Who could have imagined that the kid from Ohio would one day reach this level in the NFL? Not many, especially after his early years at the University of Cincinnati, on the heels of a less-than-great high school career. A second season at college without playing much, a third year excluded from the team after testing positive for marijuana… “I thought football was over for me,” the American even admitted to Kansas City Stars. Kelce then tried basketball and baseball, before returning to oval ball, thanks to coach Butch Jones, who gave him confidence.
To the point that Travis Kelce became an essential player during his last year of university. “He was our heart and our soul,” the technician told the Missouri newspaper. He was the strength of our football team, our leader, in every aspect. » TK’s potential was noticed by the Chiefs who selected him in the third round of the 2013 Draft. After several decent seasons, the tight end exploded with the arrival of Patrick Mahomes in 2018.
Come get the Mahomes-Kelce duo
“Kelce is Mahomes’ No. 1 receiver,” assures Marceline. When he’s not there, Mahomes doesn’t have his safety valve when things aren’t going well. Early in the season, when Kelce missed a few games due to injury, the third down conversion percentage was really low, which even forced the Chiefs to change their strategy. On all important attempts, Kelce is THE receiver that Mahomes will look for. »
A duo reminiscent of the legendary pair formed by Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski, among the Patriots and the Buccaneers. “Mahomes and Kelce surpassed Brady-Gronk in touchdowns in the playoffs this year, and they did it in four fewer seasons together, which is incredible,” notes Marcus Dash. Hopefully they can continue playing together as long as possible, in order to win more titles than Brady-Gronkowski (4 to 2). »
Even in the life of the group, the Mahomes-Kelce duo imposes its paw, as Marcus Dash recounts: “The players consider Mahomes as the good cop and Kelce as the bad cop. When things aren’t going well, he’ll let you know what the problem is. He is the heart and soul of the Chiefs [tiens, tiens, on a déjà entendu ça]. Afterwards, he remains the funny uncle of this team, the players respect him, listen to him, but they know that they can have fun and go out with him. » And there is no doubt that if there is a victory on Sunday evening against the 49ers, Travis Kelce will know how to celebrate in the City of Sin. What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, and it doesn’t matter what Taylor Swift thinks.