Super Bowl 2023: How is Travis Kelce always open? Chiefs tight end unravels NFL’s biggest mystery

PHOENIX – There hasn’t been a tight end as dominant as Travis Kelce in the NFL’s 103 seasons. Redefining the position, Kelce is on track to break every record the greatest tight ends in history have laid claim to – and create his own section of the record book.

No tight end has come close to Kelce in terms of production over the last seven seasons, as the Kansas City Chiefs star is first in every major statistical category. Kelce was not only the best tight end in the NFL, but the best pass receiver in the NFL.

Which brings up a question for years without an answer in the championship, constantly discussed between coaches and colleagues. Why is Travis Kelce always open?

“I say it all the time. Andy Reid, baby,” Kelce smiled as she revealed the secret. “Big Red. He can dial some things at the right time, create some things at the right time.

“Plus everyone is just doing their job. It’s not just me going out there and opening up, I’m sure you guys like to think that, but there’s a lot of craziness in that. There’s a lot of guys doing their job for the big picture.”

Kelce’s success could be as simple as Reid’s. His 675 receptions and 8,607 receiving yards over the past seven seasons trail only Davante Adams in both categories, while his 59 touchdown receptions rank fourth among his peers. Kelce and Mike Evans are the only NFL players to have seven consecutive 1,000-yard seasons during that span.

“Trav has a good sense of the game and knows how to create space,” said Reid. “Teams try a lot of different things, so over his career he’s seen everything you can put in him.

“He has a great relationship with our quarterback. Those two are on the same page and see defenses the same way. They’re the best of friends on and off the field. When you’re a receiver, you want to be friendly with the quarterback for sure.

“He seems like a nice, funny guy. He’s really likeable, laid back. He studies like crazy and sees and reacts quickly to things.”

In the five years that Kelce has had Patrick Mahomes as the starting quarterback, his 507 receptions and 6,444 yards are second only to Adams in those categories. Kelce’s 47 touchdowns are fourth in the NFL. Kelce made the Pro Bowl in all five years with Mahomes, racking up three First Team All-Pro selections.

“He’s the sneakiest guy on the football field,” Mahomes said. “I don’t know how you can go 6-6, 250 and be the sneakiest guy there is, but it looks like even the play is not set for him, he ends up being wide open. He’s in the right place at the right time.

“He has a great understanding of coverage. He knows how to win against man and zone. Once he starts moving his shoulders and gets really low – suddenly he’s wide open. It’s a blessing to me. Whenever you have more talented and one of the best tight ends ever. He’s always open any time you need him to be.”

Of course it’s more than Reid and Mahomes because Kelce is always open. Dallas Goedert has been a friend to Kelce during his tight-knit college days in Nashville, taking whatever he can from one of the best to ever play the position.

If Goedert put on a great performance in Super Bowl LVII, he has Kelce to thank.

“It’s a combination of his football IQ and just his passion for the game,” Goedert said. “You see him racing routes at university and he looks like one of those sport bikes leaning all over the place. He has that loose body that can fool people.

“He says he knows the difference when Patrick Mahomes is making a five-step drop versus a three-step drop. If he’s making a three-step drop, he has five steps to open. If he’s making a three-step drop, seven steps , Travis has seven steps to open up.

“When he started to tell me that, I said ‘Damn. I haven’t thought about it yet, but maybe I have to.’ He’s just a really smart guy and loves the game.”

The mystery has been solved why Kelce is always open, but no one has been able to stop him. Kelce doesn’t seem to be slowing down either, improving with age as he chases every record that great tight ends hold.

Maybe the NFL will eventually stop Kelce, or he’ll hang up his boots as the greatest of all time. He’s on his way.

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