Travis Kelce just finished off what he called “the happiest year of my life,” pondering the enormity of the moment of winning his second Super Bowl with the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday.
The first one was great. Getting two, in Kelce’s mind, was career-defining.
“There’s one thing about getting your first one, and it’s a whole other feeling to get two,” Kelce said postgame, often fighting back tears at the podium. “I wanted this one more than I wanted a game in my life. The guys in this locker room, the teammates that I have felt the same way.”
The post-Super Bowl LVII afterglow was especially poignant for Kelce and his family (even, and especially, mother Donna) coming into the national spotlight over the past two weeks. Brother Jason Kelce was, in some ways, the backbone of the Eagles’ offense in 2022, as he has been for the past 12 seasons. Travis has forged his role as the best tight end in the game, bar none.
For the past two weeks, the Kelces were front and center in the buildup to Super Bowl LVII.
“To see my family be in all its glory, get all the flowers, my mom being the center of attention on the jumbotron before the game on the biggest stage, being able to get closer to my brother throughout the season and then meet him at the mountaintop,” Travis said, “It’s the best feeling in the world.”
Each Kelce brother entered Sunday with one Super Bowl ring. Travis, the little bro, walked out with a second. They embraced at midfield with confetti floating down on them after the Chiefs held off the Eagles in a 38-35 thriller. Both brothers reflected on the surreal moment of their mixed emotions.
“There’s nothing you can really say to a loved one in a situation like that,” Travis said. “You joke around all the time and say that you want to beat your brother (on) the biggest stage ever, but it’s a weird feeling.
“There’s nothing really I could say to him other than I love him and he played a hell of a year, a hell of a season.”
“I’m just happy for him. Congratulations,” Jason said of (and to) Travis. “It’s hard to get here. I haven’t quite let the emotion get to me yet. I’m sure we’ll have a more emotional interaction. Still frustrated at that point.
“But really, really happy for Trav. Played his ass off. … Obviously would’ve loved to win, but happy for Trav for sure.”
And don’t forget, they don’t get much time away from each other. Like, two days if they stick to their podcast schedule.
“Gonna be an awkward podcast,” Jason joked.
After a hot start with Travis producing 60 yards receiving and scoring the Chiefs’ first touchdown in the opening quarter, the Eagles changed their coverage and kept him without a grab until the third quarter. Travis had only three catches in the second half, but made a terrific stab during the opening TD drive of the second half and finished with six catches for 81 yards and a TD.
Travis admitted after the game that the Chiefs felt pressure to win this game for head coach Andy Reid, something Patrick Mahomes separately would confirm. Facing his former team, the one he couldn’t quite bring home a Super Bowl title for, Reid was also on the cusp of his second Super Bowl ring. Just as it means so much to Kelce and Mahomes, it’s the same for Reid and his legacy as an all-time coach.
“For him going up against his old team, we wanted to get this so bad for him,” Kelce said. “… You can call it what you want — that didn’t happen in Philly — it happened right here in Kansas City. There’s a lot of pride knowing that he’s had success in two different organizations, but this was the better one.”
Things were looking a bit dire for the Chiefs at halftime, trailing 24-14 with Mahomes hobbling on a bad ankle he aggravated late in the second quarter. Kelce said the message was simple for the Chiefs during halftime.
“Let’s go be ourselves,” Kelce said. “Let’s go out there and be ourselves, play with a little more fire. That was essentially the end of the discussion right there — play with a little more fire for the guy next to you.”
According to Kelce, the comeback was a by-product of Reid’s coaching style, calling him “the ultimate challenger.”
“He can relate to you and bring the best out of you,” Kelce said of Reid. “I wish I could explain it, but that’s what makes him the greatest. To be able to have 53 grown men and find a way to challenge them without disrespecting anybody and find a way to challenge them together. He does it better than anybody I’ve ever met in my life.
“I owe a lot to him and I respect his leadership and I try to be as much of a leader as he is to everybody else.”
And now it appears they’re poised to run it back again, even as Kelce admitted “I don’t know how many I got left.” But with Reid suggesting postgame that the talk of him retiring was premature, and with Mahomes three years away from age 30, the Chiefs should be loaded for another Super Bowl run next season.
Are we now calling this a dynasty?
“You can call it whatever you want,” Kelce said. “All I know is we’re coming back next year with our heart and the right mindset to try and get another one — I’ll tell you that right now.”