Kansas City Chiefs legend: Travis Kelce among NFL's greatest

Kansas City Chiefs legend: Travis Kelce among NFL’s greatest

Travis Kelce just reached the milestone of 10,000 career yards. Already among the immortals, the indestructible legend of the Chiefs could even be considered the greatest when his career is over.

It’s almost gone unreported, but Kelce became the fifth tight end in history to amass over 10,000 yards. Tony Gonzalez (15,127 yards), Jason Witten (13,046 yards), Antonio Gates (11,841 yards) and Shannon Sharpe (10,060 yards) preceded him at this select club.

Most impressively, Kelce reached that historic milestone faster than anyone in history at his position, in his 140th game. Gonzalez had done the same in his 177th game.

His cited predecessors all have one thing in common: a bust in the Hall of Fame. Five years after his retirement, not a minute more, Kelce will join them. The question at this time will be whether he is simply the greatest of all time, a strong possibility.

Alone in his class

There are some really good tight ends in the NFL right now, whether it’s George Kittle, Mark Andrews, TJ Hockenson or a few others. None, however, comes close to Kelce.

On the production side, Kelce has just crossed the 1,000 yard mark for the seventh straight season. Ten receivers before him had achieved the feat, but none at the tight end position.

Only Witten and another great, the one and only Rob Gronkowski, have lined up four straight seasons with at least 1,000 yards. It’s already phenomenal, but Kelce’s seven seasons in a row puts it in another stratosphere.

Some would argue that great tight ends in history haven’t enjoyed 16 or 17 game seasons like Kelce. It should be noted that the big guy of the Chiefs reaches, most of the time, the bar of 1000 yards relatively early, as is the case this season in his 13th game.

Not killable!

As for durability, Kelce is again phenomenal. At 33, he hasn’t slowed down one iota. According to ESPN, the last tight end to rack up 1,000 yards at the age of 33 or older was Pete Retzlaff of the Eagles…in 1965!

At this venerable age for this position, several great players were already retired.

Worst of all, in his rookie season in 2013, he only played a few games before suffering a knee injury that required awkward surgery. Since then, he has only missed one game due to injury or illness, when he contracted COVID-19 last season. Otherwise, he was simply left out for preventive rest before the playoffs in unimportant end-of-schedule games.

This is also the greatness of Kelce, who evolves in a very physical position, where contact is omnipresent.

The biggest?

It’s hard to predict where Kelce will rank in history. Tony Gonzalez’s 15,000+ yard run is fantastic. Rob Gronkowski’s style and his power as a blocker remain inimitable. For now, they should be considered the two biggest.

Kelce could get dangerously close to Gonzalez, however. His average yards per game (71.8) is also higher than that of Gonzalez (56).

As for Gronkowski, he is the only one who has dominated matches as much as Kelce in the current era. He is also a more dominant blocker. However, injuries often kept him away from the pitch.

There can always be debate about Kelce’s place in history, but no doubt about the final destination, in Canton, Ohio.

5 things to watch out for

1. To the series

It’s only a matter of time, but the Chiefs will officially qualify for the playoffs today if they beat the Texans. The Cowboys can do the same if they beat the Jaguars. The Cowboys can also qualify even if they lose, if the Lions or the Commanders lose.

2. War in the East

All teams in the Eastern Divisions of the American and National Conferences are showing positive records so far. This is the first time that two divisions have fielded only winning teams after 14 weeks. In 2014, at the same stage of the season, the four teams in the American North division posted winning records. It hasn’t been seen since.

3. Another rookie quarterback

Desmond Ridder will make his debut as quarterback for the Falcons against the Saints after a successful career at the University of Cincinnati. The third-round pick will become the sixth rookie center to start a game this season. It’s the seventh straight season that six or more rookie quarterbacks have started at least one game.

4. Herbert on a mission

The Chargers still find themselves in a tight spot being pitted against the Titans. Quarterback Justin Herbert will still have a lot of pressure on his shoulders, but he’s used to big performances. Statistically, he could accomplish an interesting feat of arms. With 294 yards, he would reach the 4,000 yard plateau for the third time in three NFL seasons. No one before him has achieved the feat in his first three seasons.

5. Belichick vs. McDaniels

The duel between the Patriots and the Raiders will be the first between Bill Belichick and Josh McDaniels as head coaches since October 11, 2009. At that time, Belichick had just lost his young offensive coordinator to the Broncos and the student surprised the master when the Broncos won 20-17 in overtime. Everything then went wrong for McDaniels, who then returned to the Patriots from 2012 to 2021.

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