Travis Kelce Talks Positional Values, Sports Betting in NFL

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One of the most recognizable players in the NFL, Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce enters the 2023 season fresh off his fourth All-Pro season and second Super Bowl championship. Kelce stays plenty busy off the field — from his “New Heights” podcast with his brother, Philadelphia Eagles center Jason Kelce, to the Tight End U summer camp he helps run with Greg Olsen and George Kittle. 

Kelce spoke to Front Office Sports about several major NFL issues and how he views his off-field opportunities. 

Below is a portion of the Q&A; some responses have been edited for clarity and brevity.

How do you see the value of positions like tight end and running back evolving?

It has to change into just your production. What does your production look like? Regardless of what position you play. Because nowadays, our offense will have a guy — like myself, really — that’ll play multiple positions within this offense — I’ll be lined up as a receiver, fullback, tight end. You could be basing my pay off of the position that I’m listed at, but I really do a lot more in the game. So I think it needs to transition into the production of things, and until that happens, we’re going to see kind of the horror stories of what’s going on with the running backs and everybody holding out.

What was your reaction to seeing more players suspended for betting on NFL games?

I just don’t get it. Every single year, they tell you what you can and can’t bet on and where you can bet. So the rules are as clear as day for somebody like me. I don’t sports-bet at all, just because of Charlie Hustle and Pete Rose and all those things that happened with that — I’m terrified of even going down that road and letting it get to a certain point. So I just stay away from it. Who knows? Maybe I’ll get into it later, once I’m done playing.

Were the Netflix cameras a distraction at all last season while filming Patrick Mahomes for “Quarterback”?

I didn’t even notice them. I remember him kind of mentioning that he was going to be doing stuff like that throughout the season. But you would have never noticed being in the building.

Your brother Jason also joined the sports documentary space with Amazon. Would you be open to something similar?

Maybe that’s something I’ll do down the road. You have to allow everybody to get into your personal life, and I commend Pat for the way he handled it. Every single day was the same — he wasn’t acting a certain way because he knew the cameras were on. I thought it was awesome how it showed his personal life. The same with my brother. It’s going to be cool to see people genuinely see my brother from a different light and maybe some of the struggles and things he’s gone through over the past year. 

Can you pitch me on a Netflix series about Tight End U?

Oh, man. I don’t know if we could throw that on a docuseries. There’s a lot of drinking going on. So I don’t know what network would pick that one up. But I’ll tell you what: It’d be an entertaining three days if we got some cameras to follow us. Who knows? We got a lot of personalities. So we might have to really dive in with that one.

How have you noticed players becoming more open and allowing more media and behind-the-scenes access?

It’s awesome that the league is opening up to guys being able to do this. Being able to get out from under the face mask, the pads and show people who we are as humans — it’s only going to make the game that much more interesting.

Several years ago, you were involved in an ownership group bidding for the New York Mets. Have you had any other conversations about investing in other teams?

It’s so fun hearing the opportunities that come across the desk right now. There’s a lot of sports teams and businesses that are extremely interesting. There’s a lot brewing. I got an unbelievable team to be able to help me with all these decisions and really make the best financial decision possible. I was very fortunate that Alex Rodriguez and, at the time, Jennifer Lopez were open to letting me be a part of that. Moving forward, who knows what the future holds?

Another off-field opportunity you’ve taken up is starring in a new DirecTV commercial. Can you tell us about that?

I teamed up with DirecTV — DirecTV Sports Central is bringing you live NFL games, whether it’s on TV or a streaming app. They also got personalized content on there as well, and it’s been fun because as football is starting up, they just have the ultimate football package for all the football lovers out there.

You and Jason have had a lot of success growing your podcast. What has been the most challenging part?

Just to keep coming up with content, keep finding new ways to keep people engaged. The hardest part is to continually, week-in and week-out, come up with interesting content and things that people can take away from what you’re saying.

Editor’s note: Listen to the full interview with Kelce on Thursday’s episode of the Front Office Sports Today podcast.

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