Travis Kelce has no plans to quit playing in the NFL anytime soon as he prepares to go for Super Bowl glory again with the Kansas City Chiefs.
With Kelce’s brother, 36-year-old center Jason Kelce, pondering retirement from the Philadelphia Eagles, the rumour mill has swirled around Travis’ future, too.
However, the Chiefs tight end made it clear during Monday’s Super Bowl Opening Night that Super Bowl LVIII against the San Francisco 49ers will not be his final game.
“I love coming into the building and playing this game more than anybody and I know I’m going to miss it when it’s over with,” Kelce said. “I can’t put a timestamp on it, but I know I’m going to enjoy every single bit of this one.
Kelce has a lot of accomplishments he wants to add to his impressive postseason legacy.
He became the all-time leader in playoff receptions during the Chiefs’ AFC Championship Game victory over the Baltimore Ravens last month. His 11 catches raised his output to 156, five more than the 49ers’ iconic wide receiver Jerry Rice amassed.
Kelce ranks second in postseason receiving yardage (1,810) and touchdown catches (19). Rice is the leader in both those categories with 2,245 and 22, respectively.
Kelce, a nine-time Pro Bowl pick, is viewed as one of the NFL’s all-time great tight ends. He is on a list which includes names from different eras such as John Mackey, Kellen Winslow, Shannon Sharpe, Tony Gonzalez, Antonio Gates and Rob Gronkowski.
However, he is more obsessed about winning a third Super Bowl ring, having won one against the 49ers to conclude the 2019 season and another last year against the Philadelphia Eagles. Yet the one he did not win still hurts.
“I’ve been on a mission ever since I won my first Super Bowl,” Kelce said. “We made it back to the Super Bowl [to end the 2020 season] and we lost to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. That’s motivated me to get back to this point right here.
“You’ll hear me say this a lot – I want this one more than I’ve ever wanted a Super Bowl before in my life, and it’s because of the type of team we have.
“But also because of that tier of team because the teams that have done it [three times] have gone down in history as some of the greats.”
Kelce caught touchdown passes in the Super Bowl wins over the Chiefs and Eagles. He had 10 catches for 133 yards in the loss to the Buccaneers.
San Francisco is expected to have Fred Warner, considered one of the elite coverage linebackers in the game, defend Kelce the bulk of the time. Warner intercepted a pass from Mahomes when the teams met in Super Bowl LIV.
Naturally, Kelce was bombarded with questions Monday night about his romance with singer Taylor Swift.
Swift has concerts scheduled from Wednesday to Saturday in Tokyo so she will not be part of Super Bowl week hype. She is expected to return from Japan in time to attend the Sunday night game.
Kelce maintained that the relationship with Swift does not prompt increased expectations.
“You can’t put any more pressure on me than I put on myself, I can promise you that,” Kelce said. “The heart of a competitor.
“She’s definitely brought a lot of new faces to the game, and it’s been fun to experience that.
“She seems to be enjoying the games and she’s a part of Chiefs Kingdom right now. It’s fun seeing her enjoy the game of football knowing that it’s kind of new to her life.”
Goodell hails ‘Taylor Swift effect’ on NFL
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has attended two Taylor Swift concerts with his two daughters and his wife, but chances are, he never thought his status as a ‘Swiftie’ would bleed over into the workplace.
Swift has taken the NFL world by storm due to her relationship with Kelce, and Goodell had nothing but good things to say on Monday about the couple’s impact on football.
“Having the Taylor Swift effect’ is also a positive,” Goodell said. “Both Travis and Taylor are wonderful young people, and they seem very happy. She knows great entertainment, and I think that’s why she loves NFL football.
“Obviously, it creates a buzz. It creates another group of young fans, particularly young women, that are interested in seeing why she is going to this game, why she is interested in this game. Besides [her relationship with] Travis, she is a football fan, and I think that’s great for us.”
Kansas City beat the Baltimore Ravens 17-10 in the AFC Championship Game on January 28, leading some fans to believe that the outcome was pre-planned in order to have the 14-time Grammy Award winner draw more viewers for the Super Bowl.
However, Goodell made it clear that he is far from capable of cooking up such a storyline.
“I don’t think I’m that good of a scripter – or anybody on our staff,” Goodell said. “Listen, there is no way I could have scripted that one, let’s put it that way.”
Watch Super Bowl LVIII – the 49ers against the Chiefs – live on Sky Sports NFL on Sunday February 11. The game starts at 11.30pm. Stream the Super Bowl and lots more great sport with NOW.
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