ALL EYES IN the NFL were on the Kelce family last year when Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce and his older brother, Philadelphia Eagles center Jason Kelce, made history as the first brothers to ever play against each other in the Super Bowl, cheered on by their mother Donna and father Ed.
Travis has since ascended to a whole new level of fame thanks to his burgeoning romance with Taylor Swift, and is currently getting ready to defend his Super Bowl champion title with the Chiefs in Sunday’s game against the San Francisco 49ers.
But if he’s anything like his old man, he won’t let the fame and glory go to his head. Here’s what we know about Travis and Jason’s father, Ed Kelce.
He worked in the steel industry
Now retired, Ed had a career in steel, and even met wife-to-be Donna at a bar while covered in dirt from the steel lab. (The story goes that she’d dropped in on her way to meet another guy, got talking to Ed, and never made it to her date.) He eventually went on to work as a sales rep, selling products to steels manufacturers, and would take young Travis and Jason with him to instil them with the importance of hard work.
“I’d take them there — hard hat, safety glasses, boots, the whole nine yards,” he told the LA Times. “I’d tell them, ‘You can have a job like your mother’s, or you can have a job like mine.'”
Ed and Donna were married for 25 years
Travis and Jason’s parents stayed together for almost 25 years, and only divorced once both of their kids had graduated from college. In the 2023 documentary Kelce, Ed explained that they made the decision to prioritize their sons’ education and athletic aspirations.
“If we had split as we probably both would have preferred, that would have been a nightmare with the logistics,” he said, “getting kids where they had to be and providing all the support.”
Ten years after the divorce, Ed and Donna maintain a well-organized system for supporting their boys. “We each try to be at one of the games,” Ed told the LA Times prior to the Super Bowl. “Divide and conquer.”
He watched the 2023 Super Bowl from the stands
While Donna Kelce watched the historic “Kelce Bowl” from a luxury box at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona at the invitation of NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, Ed declined the offer. Instead, he opted to enjoy the game with his side of the family in the crowd.
“I’m a blue collar grunt,” he said. “I’m sitting in the stands.”
He’s devoted to his grandkids
Jason Kelce has three daughters with his wife Kylie: Wyatt, Elliotte, and Bennett. In 2020, Ed relocated from Cleveland, where his sons grew up, to the Philadelphia suburbs, just one mile from Jason and Kylie’s farm, in order to be closer to his grandchildren.
You’ve been saying “Kelce” wrong this entire time.
During an episode of Travis and Jason’s podcast New Heights, Ed revealed that their family name is not supposed to be pronounced with two syllables, as has become the case. It should, he said, be simply “Kels.” He admitted, however, that he “got tired of correcting people” years ago, especially in the workplace.
That was my work name,” he continued. “And everybody at work (said) that and so I just said, ‘Fine, screw this.'” He added that other members of his family have also adopted the two-syllable “Kel-see,” and told his sons: “Do whatever you want, I did.”
Philip Ellis is News Editor at Men’s Health, covering fitness, pop culture, sex and relationships, and LGBTQ+ issues. His work has appeared in GQ, Teen Vogue, Man Repeller and MTV, and he is the author of Love & Other Scams.