long before the NFL and the history that is still being made, Donna Kelce watched her boys play every sport imaginable. Jason, two years older than Travis, led both into lacrosse, hockey, baseball, basketball and, of course, football, the sport that connects them all, even now. Especially now.
Truth is, their mom preferred they go in another direction. While raising them in Northeast Ohio, she pushed both not to play in Pop Warner or other youth football leagues, because she worried they weren’t organized enough. She said neither would be allowed to play until seventh grade. When they reached that age, both immediately chose football. Both starred in college at Cincinnati. Both made the NFL.
In the ensuing years both won a million games. Both won Super Bowls—Jason triumphed after the Philly Special clinched the Eagles victory in Super Bowl LII; Travis won his two years later, after a fourth-quarter comeback, with the Chiefs. Kansas City has advanced to the playoffs every season since 2015. After its triumph, Philadelphia returned in four of the next five seasons. Travis has played in 17 postseason games; Jason has been in 10.
Over time, this meant some wild travel days for Donna, logistical puzzles solved, brothers supporting brothers from across the country and no chance they would clash against each other in the playoffs, unless it was in the final game of that particular season. The likelihood of that happening remained low.
Until Sunday. Donna Kelce had to choose which games she would attend this postseason, except for in the non-Kelce wild-card round. For the divisional games, she watched the Chiefs hang on to beat Jacksonville while Patrick Mahomes injured his right ankle. For the conference championships, she watched the Eagles batter the 49ers into the offseason. When, later on Sunday night, Kansas City narrowly edged out Cincinnati, the improbable had happened. Her sons would both play in Super Bowl LVII, an NFL first. Brothers have played with each other. Brothers have coached with and against each other. But never before in league history have two players played against each other.