Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce and his older brother — Philadelphia Eagles center Jason Kelce — host a weekly podcast called "New Heights." The title is an homage to the Cleveland Heights, Ohio, neighborhood in which they grew up.
The Chiefs finished the season with a one-point victory against the Los Angeles Chargers, winning 13-12 and securing their 11th victory. Coming into the game, Travis was just 16 yards away from securing his eighth straight 1000-yard receiving season— but he instead opted to sit the game out and rest. In this episode, he discusses his thought process and what went into deciding to let the streak go.
"New Heights" with Jason & Travis Kelce | Jukes Original Presented by Wave Sports + Entertainment | You can also listen to the show on Spotify.
1. Travis doesn't care about stats
Going into the Chiefs' week 18 game against the Chargers, Travis needed just 16 yards to extend his record of consecutive 1,000-yard receiving seasons by a tight end to eight straight seasons. Instead, Travis decided to sit the game out with the rest of the offensive starters and let his record end at seven consecutive seasons— which is still four more than the next closest tight end in history. Former Panthers and Bears tight end Greg Olsen managed the feat thrice from 2014-16.
When he was asked about the record, Travis said that he just wasn't into it.
"It never felt right to go out there chasing stats," explaining that he had been in and out of practice all week as he worked through a neck injury. "To just kind of try to jump in on game day and try to get 15 or 16 yards or whatever it was — which is a lot harder than you guys think it is."
Travis thought the Chargers would have made it their mission to make it as difficult for him to get the yardage he needed.
"They have a lot of veteran football players who understand the game and understand why the f—k I'm in the game."
2. Why Travis sat out
Travis joked that he avoided playing against the Chargers last week to bypass being power-bombed by Chargers safety Derwin James a second time, as he did last season when the Chiefs faced the Chargers in Los Angeles.
But that wasn't actually why he chose to sit out the game, nor was the fact that he popped up on the injury report last week.
"It was more so it just didn't feel right in my gut," said Travis. "It just didn't feel like I should be playing the game that way."
He did, however, mention that the artificial turf at SoFi Stadium, which the Chargers call home, was a factor in his decision. But the greatest factor that went into his sitting was being able to rest his body and prepare it for the playoff push.
"I don't give a s—t about the record; it's a record I had broken four times already," said Travis. "I've never sat here and said that if I don't get 1,000 yards, my season is a failure. I've said that if I lose a Super Bowl, that season is a failure."
However, when he was asked what he would have done if he had $1.25 million on the line like teammate Chris Jones did when he amassed his 10th sack of the season against the Chargers, triggering a bonus in his contract, Travis confirmed that he would have been out there fighting for the Benjamins as well.
"I'd be out there grueling; you couldn't take me off the field."
3. EB should get a shot in Washington
The Washington Commanders fired head coach Ron Rivera at the close of the NFL regular season this past week, casting the future of former Chiefs and current Commanders offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy into doubt.
Despite being one of the most successful offensive coaches in recent years, Bieniemy has struggled to get an opportunity to coach his own team, something that Travis said was long overdue.
In his mind, the Commanders don't need to perform a head coaching search, as they have the answer already in-house.
"Let's f—king go, the Washington fighting Bieniemys," said Travis, clapping enthusiastically for his former coach. "I think they should hire him... I think he's proven he can come out from under the helm of coach [Andy] Reid and do great things — being the offensive coordinator and calling the plays.
"I know EB; he gets the best out of everybody. He's one of the best coaches I've ever had, and I think the Commanders should give him a chance."