Philadelphia Eagles center Jason Kelsey speaks to reporters at the opening of Super Bowl LVII Monday at the Footprint Center in Phoenix. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | licensed photo
PHOENIX, Feb. 8 (UPI) — Jason Kelsey and Travis Kelsey won’t be discussing strategies when the Philadelphia Eagles and Kansas City Chiefs face off Sunday in Super Bowl LVII. But the brothers said they would still cheer for each other.
The Kelches spoke about their pre-game feelings in meetings with reporters on Monday and Tuesday. They will be the first sibling pair in NFL history to compete in the Super Bowl Sunday in Glendale, Arizona.
“We both understand that it won’t be good for someone,” Jason told reporters on Monday at the opening at the Footprint Center in Phoenix.
“I know it sounds crazy, but we both still root for each other.”
The Kelches were always there. They played football together as children, in high school, and at the University of Cincinnati.
They then went on to become arguably the most decorated brothers in league history.
Jason’s NFL resume includes six Pro Bowl picks, five All-Pro nominations, and a Super Bowl title over 12 seasons. Travis, an eight-time Pro Bowl player, was selected to four All-Pro teams and won one Vince Lombardi Trophy in his 10 seasons.
The Chiefs’ tight end also has a 2-0 record against his brother’s Eagles. Jason did not miss this advantage in the battle of the brothers.
“In the end, someone will get every right to show off,” Jason said. “He has more Pro Bowls, he will be inducted into the Hall of Fame as a first-round candidate and is arguably the best tight end of all time.
“He looks better and dances better. Give me one thing. I want more Super Bowls.”
The Eagles are the narrow favorite to beat the Chiefs in Super Bowl LVII. On Monday, Travis said he’d like to focus on in-game strategy more than sibling rivalry, but he continued to be bombarded with questions about the storyline on Tuesday.
“This is a special moment,” Travis said. “This is something we will remember for the rest of our lives. But I’m focused on making it a Chiefs win, not necessarily a Kelsey win on that side. I’m trying to get the Chiefs to win.
Their mother, Donna, said on Monday that her game day plan would be to “shout really loud” whenever either team gets the ball.
“It’s amazing that they both got to this point in their careers and both enjoyed the Super Bowl together,” she said on Fox, ESPN and NFL Network’s Opening Night.
Donna and her husband Ed raised Jason and Travis in Cleveland Heights, Ohio. The Kelsey brothers said they fought often as children, with the older Jason winning most of the fights. They acknowledged that Travis provoked many of these skirmishes.
Brothers forced to compete
“It was chaos, but nice chaos,” Jason said of his early relationship with Travis. “It was a lot of fun, a lot of broken windows and broken things all over the house that my parents had to deal with.
“It was one after the other. We did all kinds of sports that you can play, music, martial arts… We did everything. My parents really invested in us.”
Jason, 35, said his physical fights with Travis, 33, ended when they reached their teens.
“I had the advantage until puberty hit,” Jason said. “Until about the age of 13, I didn’t lose in battles.”
Travis is now 6 feet 5,256 pounds. Jason, anchor of the Eagles’ offensive line, is listed at 6’3″, 295 pounds.
However, according to Travis, the spark that ignited the flames of those early struggles remained.
Now the brothers can use this to become the best in their positions. But it is unlikely that they will face each other on Sunday, as both play in attack. Instead, their ferocity will be wasted on potential tacklers and pass rushers.
“We are similar in our competitiveness,” Travis told reporters on Tuesday. “We put a lot of passion into things. Whatever we do, we want to be the best. We want to be the greatest.”
The Kelsey family and the Cleveland Heights community were divided over who to root for in the big game. Their alma mater, Cleveland Heights High School, plans to light up the pillars and clock tower, alternating between the colors of Chiefs and Eagles.
Donna wore custom clothing with the logos of both teams and said she was thrilled when both of her boys’ teams took home Super Bowl berths.
She is also the subject of a petition in which nearly 175,000 people are pushing to be allowed to flip a coin as part of Sunday’s pre-game ceremony.
“You can’t tell my mom anything right now,” Travis said. “She is just a superstar. It was great to see her in that light.”
On Sunday, it will probably be easier for fans to spot Travis. The tight end, who wears number 87 in the Chiefs, is considered the main target of star quarterback Patrick Mahomes.
In the center, Jason, number 62, will touch the ball at every snap. But he will also block for quarterback Jalen Hurts.
Travis, who according to Jason has a “bigger personality” among the brothers, is also known for celebrating his games on the field more.
No coach knows the brothers better than Chiefs coach Andy Reid, who was head coach of the Eagles for Jason’s first two seasons. He was also part of the team that selected Jason in the sixth round of the 2011 NFL Draft.
Two years later, Reed was among the decision makers who caught Travis in the third round of the 2013 NFL Draft.
Reed said the top talent was his first take when he sought out the Kelsey brothers. Then he noticed their athleticism.
He said that Travis has always shown amazing hands and fluidity in trail running and movement. Reid noticed Jason’s footwork, leverage and speed uncharacteristic of a center.
But most of all, the coach liked the fire, because of which the Kelches quarreled in their youth and which still lives in their heads.
“These two are special,” Reed said. “They are smart guys. They love to play this game, they are very cool and can compete with the best of them. On Sunday they will succeed.”
Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes speaks to the media at the Super Bowl LVII kickoff event at the Footprint Center in Phoenix, Feb. 6, 2023. The Kansas City Chiefs will play the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl LVII at State Farm Stadium in Glendale. , Arizona, February 12. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | licensed photo