Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce and his older brother — Philadelphia Eagles center Jason Kelce — have a podcast called “New Heights.” The title is an homage to the Cleveland Heights, Ohio neighborhood in which they grew up. New episodes drop each Wednesday.
New Heights with Jason & Travis Kelce | Wave Sports + Entertainment
You can also listen to the show on Spotify.
1. Andy is still calling the plays
It’s one of the oldest romantic comedy tropes in the book — the old will-they-or-won’t-they? It usually starts with two friends who have undeniable chemistry — and are repeatedly put in close or compromising situations where they are forced to either touch hands or stare longingly into each other's eyes. From “It’s A Wonderful Life” to “When Harry Met Sally,” all of this is done with the express purpose of making the audience want to scream out, “Just kiss already!”
I feel like the football version of this is Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy and play-calling. He gets close to metaphorically locking lips with the playbook and calling the plays — but whenever we think he has finally overcome the obstacles preventing them from being with his paramour, something new pops up.
Seasons have come and gone, and the question on the tip of every fan's lips has remained the same: Is Bieniemy calling the plays?
If not, when?
And this is despite Kansas City head coach Andy Reid repeatedly stating that Bieniemy does call the plays.
But on Wednesday’s episode, Travis let the cat out of the bag.
The two brothers were responding to a listener’s question about what head coaches who don’t call plays do during their games. Jason posed a question to Travis.
“Andy (Reid) doesn’t call the plays anymore, right? EB calls the plays now, right?”
“From my understanding,” replied Travis, “Coach Reid is still calling the plays.”
Jason seemed as surprised as the rest of us.
“Really?” he asked. “‘Cause I thought he gave up some play-calling —”
“There are times where I’ll get tired,” Travis continued, “and I’ll come off the field — and he’s like, ‘This is your play. Why are you off the field?’”
Of course, this subject has been hotly debated throughout Bieniemy’s tenure as offensive coordinator — and is often cited as the reason he has not landed a head coaching job.
But listen carefully to Reid’s comments in the video. Pay close attention to what he says.
“He [Bieniemy] literally calls the plays in there.”
What Reid doesn’t say is who decides which plays are called in to quarterback Patrick Mahomes. Just because Bieniemy verbally relays the play to Mahomes doesn’t mean he was the one who picked it off the play sheet.
Travis’ revelation is sure to once again stoke the fires of this debate.
2. Travis’ revenge game against Geno
Travis and Geno Smith have history.
Travis was a quarterback prospect coming out of high school. As the story goes, West Virginia liked Travis — and considered offering him a scholarship to play football for the Mountaineers. But then Geno Smith signed with West Virginia and effectively took Travis’ spot on the roster.
Fast forward through their college careers to the NFL in 2013. The New York Jets told Travis they wanted to draft him. Travis got his hopes up. In his mind, he was going to be a J-E-T Jet. Instead, New York drafted Smith in the second round — and Travis slid into the third round, from which the Chiefs picked him. The rest is history.
Last Saturday’s Christmas Eve game was Travis’ first chance to get payback for Smith’s slights throughout their careers. In this one, Travis got the last laugh. The Chiefs beat the Seahawks 24-10 — and Travis had six catches for 113 yards.
3. Everyone's nipples are intact
It was 10 degrees at Saturday’s kickoff against Seattle. In this photo, you can see Travis was wearing short sleeves for the game.
When Jason mentioned the cold weather, Travis shrugged it off.
“Eh, it was sunny and 10 degrees at kickoff,” he said, “and I think it got up to like 20.”
“Are you saying it’s not that cold?” asked Jason.
“Yeah,” replied Travis. “Yeah, I’ve played in what felt like way-colder games.”
“Was it not windy?”
Jason’s question appeared innocent. It seemed... harmless... right?
Maybe on another podcast. But not on “New Heights.”
“There was a little bit of wind,” replied Travis. “Not enough to make you notice it. Like, I’m not out there saying, ‘Man, this wind is ripping my nips apart right now.’”
Thank goodness! If the wind were strong enough to tear a grown man’s nipples apart through his jersey, then we would hope that the game would be postponed due to inclement weather.
“Why is it that the nipples are the first thing everybody goes to?” asked Jason, “It’s the first thing I went to. With cold weather, the first thing everyone thinks about is nipples.”
“You said it best,” laughed Travis. “Nature's thermostat.”
Travis’ response is what makes “New Heights” one of the world’s best sports podcasts. The fact that it came to him so effortlessly is a thing of pure beauty.
With winter now in full swing, let’s just hope the Chiefs protect themselves. We’d hate to see Travis go on injured reserve during the playoffs with such a... uh... unique... injury.