The mother of all football games will be of particular interest to the mother of two of its players.
When the Kansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles square off in Super Bowl LVII, Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce, 33, will take on his older brother, Eagles center Jason Kelce, 35, marking the first time brothers will play in the NFL’s marquee game. It also means their mother, Donna Kelce, will be watching intently.
Kelce says she’s looking forward to the matchup between her children, each of whom has already won a Super Bowl.
“I’m a true fan of football. This is going to be so awesome,” she said Wednesday on TODAY while sporting a combination Eagles-Chiefs jersey.
“They’ve already got the first win under their belts, so this is just going to be pure joy. We’re going to really enjoy this, have a great time. Obviously, there’s going to be somebody that’s going to go home heartbroken. They won’t have the bragging rights at the Thanksgiving table, but this is going to be an awesome event and I’m really looking forward to it.”
“My mom can’t lose,” Travis told reporters after his team advanced to the Super Bowl.
While that may technically be true, Donna Kelce says she will have a lot of mixed feelings when she’s watching the game.
“I’ll just be so elated,” she said. “Probably some tears. And it’ll just be a very, very emotional moment.”
While one of her kids is destined to feel the thrill of victory, the other is bound to endure the agony of defeat. Kelce knows as a mother there’s not much she can do in such a tough moment for the son who loses the game.
“There isn’t anything I could possibly say,” she said. “Just give him a hug and tell him that I love him, that’s it. That’s all you can do.”
The big question, of course, is who mom will root for. She says she does have one side she favors.
“Absolutely, the offense,” she joked, in a nod to the fact that each son plays on that side of the ball. When pushed, she said there may be a wild card that tilts her rooting interest one way.
“I think that Jason would say I am going to root for the baby of the family, which is Travis. And I keep trying to tell him, ‘No, you’ve given me grandchildren,’ so we’ll leave it at that,” she joked.
While Travis and Jason, who both played in college at the University of Cincinnati, will be the first brothers to play each other in a Super Bowl, the big game has featured brothers on opposing sidelines before. Most notably, Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh faced his brother, San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh, when the two teams met in Super Bowl XLVII in 2013. The Ravens won that game, 34-31. Still, Kelce is surprised no brothers have actually played each other in the Super Bowl yet.
“Well, you knew it was going to happen eventually to somebody because there are so many brothers in the NFL right now that are playing at a very high level,” she said. “It just happened to be that we were the lucky ones first, so I think it’s probably going to be more and more prominent.”
Travis and Jason have played each other before, as the Chiefs and Eagles have squared off in regular season games before. Playing in the Super Bowl, though, adds a new layer to the sometimes heated relationship these brothers had growing up.
“There were a lot of fights,” Donna said. “Everything was a competition. It was a competition to see who could get to the table first, who could get in the front seat of the car. It’s just typical sibling rivalry. They egged each other on. Travis was always trying to get at his older brother, to (make him) pay attention to him, so there were a lot of fights. That’s the way boys are.”
Kelce is reveling in how her sons have made it this far, thinking back to how they played a multitude of sports growing up, only for them to become two of the most important players on their respective teams.
“It’s just been a pure joy to watch them compete and be able to do it for this many years is just amazing.”
Travis and Jason will battle it out for the ultimate sibling bragging rights when the Chiefs and Eagles duke it out in the Super Bowl on Feb. 12 at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.