In the world of American Football, there are few figures who carry the weight that Travis Kelce of the Kansas City Chiefs and George Kittle of the San Francisco 49ers do. Despite being fierce competitors on the football field, they share a strong bond off it. Both are recognized as two of the greatest tight ends ever to play the sport and have been instrumental in shaping the modern offensive strategy in the league.
A Unique Bond
Kelce and Kittle’s friendship extends beyond the pitch. They, together with retired tight end and current broadcaster Greg Olsen, founded Tight End University three years ago. This immersive three-day program aims to help players at their position learn from each other through film study, on-field work, and sharing best practices in recovery and rehab.
Kelce often refers to Kittle as the best tight end in the league, appreciating his contribution to the 49ers’ success. “He’s been playing lights-out, playing the best football of his career, and really catapulted that San Francisco team through the playoffs, man, and I couldn’t be more proud of him,” says Kelce.
Revolutionizing the Game
Both players have been instrumental in their respective teams reaching the Super Bowl. Kittle led all tight ends with 1,020 yards receiving this season. Kelce, on the other hand, missed Week 1 due to a hyperextended knee and sat out the Chiefs’ regular-season finale, ending the season with 984 yards. This marked the end of his streak of seven consecutive 1,000-yard seasons.
However, Kelce’s aim was not to maintain the streak but to win his third Super Bowl ring. His efforts paid off as he emerged as one of the most productive pass-catchers in postseason history. He broke the record of 151 catches held by Jerry Rice from 1985-2004 by achieving 156 catches overall.
The Grand Finale
This Sunday, both players will be critical to their teams’ chances in the Super Bowl rematch between Kansas City and San Francisco in Las Vegas. In their last Super Bowl encounter, Kelce had six catches for 43 yards and a touchdown, helping the Chiefs to a 31-20 victory. Kittle, however, was largely kept quiet with four catches for 36 yards.
This time around, Kittle will be looking to make a bigger impact, having been in splendid form throughout the playoffs. Kelce, on the other hand, would be aiming to continue his remarkable run in postseason games.
Regardless of the outcome, one thing is certain. Both players will continue to inspire the next generation of tight ends through their performances on the field and their contributions off it. As Kelce aptly puts it, “I couldn’t be more proud of him, couldn’t be more honored, really, to go up against George in another Super Bowl.”