Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce and his older brother — Philadelphia Eagles center Jason Kelce — have launched their podcast “New Heights.” The title is an homage to the Cleveland Heights, Ohio neighborhood in which they grew up. New episodes drop each Wednesday. We will extract the best Chiefs-related highlights from each podcast and discuss them here.
Let’s talk about Episode 7.
1. Chiefs vs. Bills
Nobody keeps it more real with you than your own brother. Whether the Kelces are recapping the previous week’s game or reminiscing about childhood, every aspect of the podcast screams authenticity. It’s part of what makes New Heights so enjoyable. It’s a breath of fresh air in a world full of sports personalities who scream at each other on the television without ever actually saying anything to one another.
That was the vibe of in this episode, when Jason (almost rhetorically) asked Travis, “Do you want to talk about last Sunday’s loss to the Buffalo Bills?”
“The Bills are a good team,” replied Travis with a heavy sigh.
Travis was stating the obvious — but he was right. Along with the Chiefs, the Bills look like one of the most complete teams in the NFL.
“[The game] felt like there was a little bit more to it,” said Travis. “There’s a lot of familiarity with the guys on the other side of the ball.”
It probably feels that way because Kansas City has played Buffalo five times over the past three years — with the Chiefs winning three out of the five games.
“Whenever I play against guys that I’m familiar with,” continued Travis, “it’s a whole different game. It’s a chess match... We have to find a way to keep scoring touchdowns. Field goals aren’t going to win it against a guy like Josh Allen.”
Kelce wasn’t wrong. The game came down to a few scoring opportunities on which the Chiefs failed to capitalize. One of those came early in the first quarter. when Kelce let a contested catch bounce off his hands. If he had been able to bring it in, it would have been an amazing play. But it instead became the first of Kansas City’s many missed opportunities.
“It was in my hands,” said Kelce —
clearly frustrated. “I have to find a way to bring it in.
“This one stings, because you always want to play your best against the best — and we did not play our best. We handed it to them, in a sense. When I look at the film, I see a lot of things that we could have done [better].”
For Travis, the solution to the problem is pretty simple.
“You have to be your own worst critic when you go into the film room. You have to not point fingers in any other direction — and just point them at yourself.”
2. Chiefs gearing up to make a move
On Tuesday, we learned that Kansas City had restructured Travis’ contract, freeing up $3.5 million in cap space. What the Chiefs plan to do with the newly liberated cheddar is still a mystery.
“It’s a start to a move,” said Travis of the contract change. “You’re freeing up cap space to do something.”
As soon as the news broke, Twitter was rampant with theories about who the Chiefs should target. One of the more popular ideas is that Kansas City wants to sign free-agent wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr.
For what it’s worth, Kelce thinks that the signing would be money well spent.
“I want [the rumors] to come true,” he said simply.
Another name that has is floating around is Carolina Panthers edge rusher Brian Burns, who would offer an immediate upgrade to the Chiefs’ pass rush. While we don’t know what general manager Brett Veach has in mind, it appears that the locker-room vibe is that this is not all smoke and mirrors.
“I have not heard anything in the locker room or around the facility,” admitted Kelce, “but something is in the air — for sure.”
3. That time Von Miller called Travis ‘fake Gronk’
Early in his career, Travis looked up to former Tampa Bay Buccaneers (and New England Patriots) tight end Rob Gronkowski.
“Gronk was the staple for an All-Pro tight end,” said Travis. “Early on in my career, I was very aware of what Gronk was doing every single Sunday. I was getting compared to him. After all, I was a tall white dude who wears number 87 and loves to have a good time”
But never one to let his brother live something down, Jason wasn’t about to let Travis bring up Gronkowski without mentioning the time that former Denver Broncos pass rusher Von Miller body-slammed Travis in 2015 — and then called Travis, “fake Gronk heada$$.”
Von Miller called Travis Kelce a "fake Gronk" after ragdoll-tossing him: http://t.co/A793pgaWW6 via @AnOutragedJew https://t.co/6BcXnCtaK9— SB Nation (@SBNation) September 18, 2015
For his part, Miller has since issued an apology.
“Over the years, bro, like, I got to know Travis Kelce, too,” Miller explained in the October 13 preview of the podcast’s newest episode. “He’s become one of my guys. I know, at the beginning of my career, we had, like, our little online spats. I’m here to say I was wrong. Travis Kelce is in his own lane. He’s obviously a Hall of Famer. Him and Patrick Mahomes have a connection that has never been seen before here in the league.”
It was an apology that Travis didn’t think was necessary
“What a kind guy when he’s off the field,” he remarked. “He’s an animal on the field. He called me, ‘fake Gronk heada$$,’ which was a hell of a response. I actually chuckled when I saw that. Over the years, we’ve become good friends. [He’s] definitely a fun dude.”
Bonus track: The big boys are doing their best, so why don’t you get off their backs, Karen?
TB12 gets a pass, but no other QBs better try to yell at @JasonKelce pic.twitter.com/vSloeD0zXR— New Heights (@newheightshow) October 19, 2022