The Kansas City Chiefs are preparing to take another crack at making it to a Super Bowl this weekend when they face the Tennessee Titans at Arrowhead on Sunday. The narrative behind the Chiefs is always going to be about their young, superstar quarterback Patrick Mahomes. However, if you watched the Chiefs run riot on the Houston Texans last weekend after falling behind 24-0, you probably watched Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce dominate. Kelce finished the game with 10 receptions on 12 targets for 134 yards and 3 touchdowns. In other words, he was absolutely unstoppable. In a year when much of the attention went to San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle, Kelce was unjustifiably overshadowed. At this stage, it would be hard to argue there is a better tight end in the NFL. If the Chiefs do win a Super Bowl, Kelce is guaranteed to have a huge role in doing so. As the Conference Championships approach, here are 10 things you may have not known about Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce.
1. Consistent as the Tides
Travis Kelce finished the 2019 season with 97 catches for 1,229 yards and five touchdowns. To put things into perspective - there have only been four such seasons like that by a tight end in NFL history. Kelce has two of those seasons (2018 and 2019), Tony Gonzalez has one (2004) and Jimmy Graham has the other (2011). Amazingly, only four tight ends have ever recorded four 1,000-yard receiving seasons. Kelce has done it four straight seasons and has a chance for a fifth next year. That's pretty ridiculous.
2. Reality TV Star
Let's get this one out of the way - Most should know that the Chiefs tight end signed on with E! Entertainment Television for his own dating show called "Catching Kelce". The show was a total disaster and probably something Kelce would like to be forgotten. He left the show dating Maya Benberry in April 2016. By January 2017, the couple announced they had been broken up. Sad face.
3. Rebounding Nicely
Kelce didn't remain on the dating sidelines too long. He started dating Instagram model Kayla Nicole soon after his break up with Benberry. The two have been together for two years, but have seen some rocky times in late 2019. With Nicole living in Los Angeles and Kelce in Kansas City - both being famous, well relatively famous for Nicole - sure it'll get tough. There's been cheating and instagram drama. If your betting NFL playoffs you might want to bet Kelce has a better chance of winning a Super Bowl than making it out of 2020 with Nicole by his side.
4. Highest Paid TE in the NFL
In terms of total dollars, Travis Kelce is the highest paid tight end in the NFL with his 5-year, $46.8 million contract. Only Jimmy Graham gets paid more than Kelce per year - Graham earns an even $10 million per while Kelce only earns $9.4 million per. This is his second NFL contract and it's quite an upgrade from his rookie deal!
5. The Pay Raise
The Chiefs tight end was drafted in the third round, #63 overall by the Kansas City Chiefs in 2013. It's hard to figure he's 31-years old and has been in the league for over 6 years. His rookie deal was 4-years, $3.1 million per year. Production doesn't lie and Kelce was rewarded with the contract mentioned above in 2016 at the age of 26. The life of this contract runs until 2021, which will put him at age 32 so this may be the contract that defines his financial NFL career.
6. College Career
As discussed, Kelce is one of the top tight ends in the NFL. One would have had a hard time predicting that based on the early days of his college career. First, he chose to attend Cincinnati over Akron, Eastern Michigan and Miami - Ohio. The Cleveland-Heights, Ohio product had 45 receptions for 722 yards eight touchdowns which was good enough to earn him First Team All-Conference in his final college season. Prior to that he had 14 receptions. At that point I don't think many would have tabbed him a future superstar in the NFL.
7. NFL Combine
Travis Kelce's NFL combine numbers were out of sight... because he didn't attend due to a sports hernia. His measurements at his Pro Day were impressive - 6'5", 255 lbs and ran a 4.6 40-yard dash. He didn't lift because of an injury and he got sick after running the 40 and didn't run any routes afterward. Only 12 teams were in attendance to evaluate him. Again, based on this information alone it's mind-blowing he's where he is today in the NFL.
8. Football Runs in the Family
Travis Kelce has a brother named Jason, who is an All-Pro center for the Philadelphia Eagles. Jason also played at Cincinnati and was drafted in the 6th round by the Eagles in the 2011 draft. The older Kelce is a Super Bowl Champion, three-time Pro Bowl selection and three time first-team All-Pro selection. Will Travis and Jason be rocking Super Bowl rings at family gatherings in 2020?
In September of 2019 the Chiefs start tight end because the fastest player at his position to record 425 receptions and 5,500 receiving yards. The focus will be on him in 2020 as well as he has a chance to become the only tight end in NFL history to record five 1,000 yard receiving seasons. If he achieves this next season, he will also have done it in 5-straight seasons which is a record he'll try to pad with up-and-coming tight ends like Darren Waller and George Kittle breathing down his neck.
10. WR Stats
Going back to the stats this past season, it is worth mentioning that Kelce finished 4th in the league in receiving yards. Those numbers are included with WRs. In fact, only Tampa Bucs receiving Chris Godwin, Saints superstar Michael Thomas and perennial stud Julio Jones had more receiving yards. That's pretty remarkable for a tight end.