Travis Kelce: 9 Facts About The Kansas City Chiefs' Tight End

Chances are, even if you're not into football, you've still heard the name Travis Kelce — the Kansas City Chiefs' tight end who's gearing up to play in Super Bowl LVII in February 2023. That's because the Westlake, Ohio native has had an impressive career that began back in 2008, when he played for the University of Cincinnati. Kelce was later drafted to the Chiefs in 2013, where he soon made a name for himself as a valuable NFL player, even breaking the record for the most consecutive seasons with 1,000 receiving yards by a tight end. In addition to that, Kelce has made it to the Pro Bowl eight times and is headed to his third Super Bowl, as of this writing, which is why he's considered by many as one of the greatest tight ends of all time.

Kelce was apparently aware of his talents back in 2017, when he told GQ, "I'm going to look at the stats. I'm going to look at where my team is compared to everyone else. ... I think I'm the best tight end in the game." He later helped prove that point in 2020 when he won that year's Super Bowl with his team.

Fans also can't get enough of Kelce's relationship with his older brother and fellow Super Bowl-winning player, Jason Kelce of the Philadelphia Eagles. Between that and his infamous touchdown dances on the field, plus his various side hustles in fashion and entertainment, Travis Kelce has clearly become a fan favorite. Let's break down nine facts about the NFL star.

Travis Kelce is facing off with his brother at the Super Bowl

It's hard to hear the name Travis Kelce without thinking about his older brother, Philadelphia Eagles center Jason Kelce. While the brothers are known for rooting each other on, their mother, Donna Kelce, told Fox4, "They were very, very competitive from a very early age. ... [Travis] wanted his brother's attention."

It appears that may have been the reason why Travis joined Jason in playing for the University of Cincinnati during college, too. The younger Kelce bro explained to "NFL Films," "I've naturally always kind of followed his footsteps, and being on his team ... it just made the most sense." That went on to benefit Travis more than he could have known, and he credits Jason for getting him back on the team after he was suspended for a positive recreational drug test. Travis gushed to Sports Illustrated, "That was my brother just being a big brother, looking out for me every step of the way."

What makes the Kelces even more unique, however, is that they are the first brothers to play against each other in the Super Bowl, with fans even dubbing Super Bowl LVII as the "Kelce Bowl" in 2023. If you're wondering if that's created tension, Travis admitted on the "New Heights" podcast, "The entire time, I've been like, 'That's been the goal, is to play my brother in the Super Bowl.'" But it's probably harder on their mother, who told "Today," "I'll just be so elated. Probably some tears. And it'll just be a very, very emotional moment."

The tight end earned his first Super Bowl ring in 2020

Travis Kelce accomplished every NFL player's dream in early 2020 when his team, the Kansas City Chiefs, won the Super Bowl. The tight end was a key part in their victory, too, having made six catches for 43 yards and a touchdown. Travis was clearly proud — when asked about a previous season's loss at a press conference, he quipped (via USA Today), "We're the Super Bowl champs! You all can't tell me nothing!" He also didn't hold back when discussing his celebration plans, claiming in front of reporters, "I'm about to partaaaay! ... I'm going to get dehydrated as soon as I get back home."

Of course, Travis' brother, Jason Kelce, was in the stands cheering him on, despite his own team not making that particular Super Bowl. Jason explained to Sports Illustrated, "Seeing someone you love and care about accomplish their dreams is potentially more gratifying." Travis was confident that 2020 wouldn't be his last Super Bowl, either. "The dynasty is just starting, baby. ... Motivated to do it again, for sure," he told the press. According to the Bleacher Report, he reiterated that feeling on "Late Night with Seth Meyers," claiming how winning just "makes you want to go back again." 

It's understandable that Travis was disappointed with his next season, when the Chiefs failed to make it to the 2021 Super Bowl. "That's the type of player I am, man," he explained to SiriusXM NFL Radio. "If we're not going out there winning Super Bowls, man, the season isn't a success."

The Kansas City Chiefs player looked for love on reality TV

A lot of fans may not know that Travis Kelce was once a reality TV star. The NFL player had starred on his own dating show in 2016 called "Catching Kelce," where he dated one woman from each of the 50 states. According to E! News, he had claimed on the show that he was tired of his past relationships not working out. He said, "I feel like I came into this idea, this experience, this show because I needed that change in my life."

Yet, Kelce later admitted on "The Pivot Podcast" that he had actually done the show for financial reasons, because he had been overspending earlier in his career. "I heard about this situation where I could make six figures in two weeks ... and 50 ladies, I'm like, 'This is actually starting to sound a little better,'" he revealed. However, it seems having his own series wasn't as fun as he thought. "It was extremely awkward, because I really didn't have much to say about what we were doing on the show," Kelce recalled.

It looked like Kelce did find love — or at least someone he liked — when he chose Maya from Kentucky as the winner. He even stated (via E! News), "I am so excited to be with Maya and see how we grow as a couple." While they didn't last, Kelce doesn't necessarily regret the experience entirely because of what he did learn, explaining, "I know that I'm not going back into reality TV."

Travis Kelce's on-and-off relationship with Kayla Nicole

Travis Kelce may not have found love on "Catching Kelce," but he did go on to date sports reporter and Instagram influencer Kayla Nicole soon after in 2017. Yet, it was Nicole who had made the first move after she noticed Kelce liking her Instagram photos. She dished on her Instagram Stories (via Us Weekly), "All double taps and no dm. Soooo after a little liquid courage and a pep talk ... I dm'd him on New Years." Kelce later made it clear they were together with his own since-deleted post, where he referred to her as the "peanut butter to my JELLYTIME."

However, the couple split in 2020, with rumors that Kelce had cheated. He denied as much in a since-deleted tweet (via TMZ Sports), writing, "This is fake news ... a lie ... and not why Kayla and I broke up." They ended up reconciling months later, with Kelce saying during a live interview, "She's the absolute best." Nicole later publicly supported his team, too, tweeting, "If yall wanted to see the Chiefs vs the refs just say that." She even dedicated a later-deleted Instagram post to her man, where she wrote (via People), "prada you."

By January 2023, their relationship was over yet again. Kelce revealed on "The Pivot Podcast," "I'm in the free market right now." He also denied rumors that they split because he was cheap: "We were in a relationship for five years. A hundred dollars here and hundred dollars there wasn't even thought about ... which is ridiculous."

Rob Gronkowski praised Travis Kelce's talent

It's safe to say that Rob Gronkowski was one of the most famous tight ends in the NFL, which is why it was a huge deal that he openly praised Travis Kelce. Despite the two having been opponents before Gronk retired, the former Tampa Bay Buccaneers star called Kelce "the best player on the Chiefs' offense" in 2021, according to the NFL. He further explained to sports reporter Sam McDowell, "I've never really seen this with any other player in the NFL ever before, is that Kelce gets better every single year that I've seen him play in the NFL."

Gronk later went on Kelce's podcast "New Heights" in January 2023, where he continued to commend him. "Just know I'm appreciating your greatness and what you're doing for the position," he told Kelce. "... You're getting the tight ends on the map." Gronkowski even gave Kelce some career advice by suggesting he asks for more money. "You're making ... $17 [million] ... and I still think you're underpaid, for sure," he dished. "I mean, you probably have more yards than any receiver of the past five years."

For Kelce, it appears that feeling of admiration is mutual toward Gronkowski. Even when playing against him in the 2021 Super Bowl, Kelce admitted, per Sports Illustrated, "He's going to go down in history as one of the best players that ever played this game." He also made it a point to add, "I might be one of the biggest Gronk fans out there, let it be told."

The NFL player has his own clothing brand

Travis Kelce decided to cash in on his widely known fashion sense by launching his own clothing line Tru Kolors in 2021. For the Kansas City Chiefs player, it was a no-brainer for him to work with clothing, considering that he told Forbes, "I have fun in fashion. I love to pick a different outfit every single day." It's seemingly important to Kelce that he is hands-on with the whole design process, too, instead of just slapping his name on someone else's work. The NFL star dished, "I have a lot of fun creating, especially with the different types of fabrics you can have, different types of looks."

Kelce doesn't just want his clothes to look good, though — he also wants them to mean something. "I think colors are a unique way to connect people and an amazing way to express yourself," he explained on the brand's website. The tight end reiterated to Forbes a similar sentiment when explaining why he called his line Tru Kolors, saying, "I just want everybody to feel comfortable in who they are and showing their true colors and then appreciating everybody else's colors along the way."

In January 2023, Kelce partnered with the NFL to create a limited-time Chiefs merchandise line ahead of the Super Bowl. He revealed to fans on Instagram, "#chiefskingdom, your new game day fit is here! ... I'm honored to have designed the first ever athlete x local NFL merch collab."

Travis and Jason Kelce host a podcast together

Travis Kelce added podcast host to his resume in September 2022, when he started the "New Heights with Jason and Travis Kelce" show with brother Jason Kelce. "It's been good to just have that set amount of time to be able to just sit down and chat," Travis told Forbes. It seemed like a natural step for the brothers, who were apparently used to entertaining friends and discussing sports. "It's like we're just kicking it at dinner back when we were in high school and college together," Travis added. 

The Kelce brothers are not only popular, but notoriously have very different personalities, which is why it made sense that Wave Sports + Entertainment would reach out to them to start a podcast. "We saw an open space to bring our unique point of view to a wider audience with the intention of sharing our authentic take on the NFL and the culture around it," Travis said. 

As of this writing, it appears that their podcast is already a hit, with other major athletes appearing on different episodes — in addition to Rob Gronkowski, as previously mentioned, quarterbacks and teammates Patrick Mahomes and Jalen Hurts have also made appearances. Some episodes have even made headlines, like when Jason revealed that he and his pregnant wife were bringing their OBGYN to the Super Bowl in case she went into labor. "She's going to be 38 weeks pregnant at the game," Jason dished to Travis. "That could be a Super Kelce Bowl, if she has a baby in the stadium."

His team number is in honor of his older brother

If it's not obvious at this point that Travis Kelce is close with Jason Kelce, then his jersey might do the trick: Travis proudly wears No. 87 in honor of his older brother, who was born two years before him in 1987. It may not have been something that Jason was aware of, however, as "NFL Films" captured the moment Travis told his bro about his tribute while on the sidelines. "I love you," he gushed. "You're the only reason why I wear 87 anyways. I never told you that, man. You started the legacy."

Travis later reiterated why wearing Jason's birth year was so important to him, saying, "If there is a Kelce legacy, two brothers making it to the NFL, it all started in 1987, because this big guy was born in 1987." Jason, of course, seemed touched, responding, "That's very cool Trav." That wasn't the only time that Travis openly supported his brother, either. In September 2022, he was spotted wearing a Philadelphia Eagles jersey at a game and at a bar in support of his brother's team.

Jason returned the favor during the 2023 AFC Championship Game by rooting for Travis' team, the Kansas City Chiefs, when they were playing against the Cincinnati Bengals. Jason quipped (via CBS News), "I got a Kansas City sweatshirt I'm gonna wear for the next three hours and then that's it for the rest of the year."

Travis Kelce gives back to the community

It's extremely important for Travis Kelce to give back. "I care about my career and the legacy that I leave, but I do know that I have the opportunity to relate to a lot of people in this community," he told People in 2015. "And with that, I think it's a bit of a responsibility to do the right things." The Kansas City Chiefs tight end does just that through his charity Eight-Seven & Running, which he launched to provide underprivileged youth with life-skills training. He explained, "It's just an unbelievable organization that's going to help out kids ... and give these kids opportunities to keep getting better in the careers that they want to."

Kelce was also part of the 2022 Lowe's Home Team — a group of NFL players working on projects to better their communities. Per Fox4, Kelce volunteered to clean up and renovate a community arts space in Kansas that October. He gushed, "Seeing little pockets of the community like this supporting each other is absolutely amazing." Kelce later created a Health and Wellness Endowment for student-athletes at his alma mater, the University of Cincinnati, as he understands the pressures they face. "It was an emotional rollercoaster at times dealing with my academic responsibilities and holding my own on the field," he told USA Today.

All in all, Travis Kelce is clearly a talented football player, but it's who he is off the field that makes him a true winner to fans — whether he emerges from the Super Bowl victorious or not.