How mom of KC Chiefs’ Travis Kelce made both sons’ NFL games in 1 day: ‘This was crazy’

·4 min read
Jesse Newell, KC Star

Donna Kelce held her iPhone in her right hand, tapping to unmute herself on the Zoom call.

This was inside an Arrowhead Stadium suite about a half-hour after the Chiefs’ 42-21 Wild Card playoff victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers, and Donna joined the postgame Zoom news conference to surprise her son, Travis.

“Yes, it’s your mom,” Donna said with a smile.

“What’s up, mom?” Travis, the Chiefs tight end, said. “Glad you made it.”

Yes, it had been quite a journey for Donna to make it to Kansas City to celebrate this occasion.

Donna had also attended Philadelphia’s NFL playoff game in Tampa Bay earlier in the day. Her other son, Jason, is a center for the Eagles, who fell, 31-15 to the Buccaneers.

For Donna, though, this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. She said the schedules had never worked out — in the regular season or NFL playoffs — to where she could see both sons play on the same day.

Until Sunday, that is.

“I thought it’d be a neat adventure,” Donna told The Star.

For a long time Sunday, she wasn’t sure she’d make the Kansas City game at all, even after planning out nearly every detail in advance.

She stayed at a Marriott hotel near Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, then left her bags at the front desk. After the game, she went back to grab them before going to an Uber lot at nearby Steinbrenner Field.

Though the airport was just a few miles away, Donna was worried about making her flight to KC because of Tampa’s traffic and backlog with ride-share demands.

She made it there, though — with only carry-on bags to save time — before finding out her plane to Kansas City was delayed. Donna said after that, she and other passengers also were postponed while sitting on the tarmac for about a half-hour.

Once up in the air on her Southwest flight, Donna said she pulled up the live television to watch most of the first half of the game. She had a driver pick her up at KCI Airport and checked social media as the NFL’s official Twitter account documented her journey from Tampa Bay to Arrowhead Stadium.

“I think it’s kind of funny, but it’s fun, just to see people’s reactions and stuff like that,” Donna said. “It was fun for me. I like to share in that, and I like to just enjoy everything. The boys have brought me a lot of joy over the last several years.”

Sunday was the latest example.

Donna finally made it to her seat at Arrowhead just after halftime. That meant she missed Travis’ long touchdown catch in the first half but saw his second touchdown — this one on a pass to Byron Pringle — at the beginning of the fourth quarter.

“It’s a dream come true,” Donna said of the throw. “He used to tell me as a little boy, ‘I’m going to throw a touchdown in a Super Bowl,’ or, ‘I’m going to get a touchdown in a Super Bowl, or, ‘I’m going to throw a touchdown pass in a playoff game.’ And I’m like, ‘Yeah.’

“But, you know, it happened. So he was determined.”

Donna remembered it had been nine years since Travis had thrown for a touchdown. He played quarterback in high school, but she said most of his touchdowns were rushing TDs out of the Wildcat formation.

“You go back in time,” Donna said of seeing him play QB on Sunday. “It went by so fast.”

On the Zoom call, Travis told reporters it was great that he could put a smile on his mother’s face.

“I knew she was going to try to make both of (the games). But just seeing her, as happy as she is right now, makes everything awesome, man,” he said. “It makes playing this game and having big dreams all worth it. Because we went out there and had a whole lot of fun today, and what better way to do it than in front of family?”

Donna, at the end of a whirlwind 24 hours, admitted, “This was crazy.”

But she also was glad she’d been able to pull it off.

“It was awesome,” she said. “It really was.”

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