Travis & Jason Kelce Are the 1st Brothers to Play Against Each Other in a Super Bowl—Meet Their Supportive Parents
Travis and Jason Kelce’s parents will make history on Sunday, February 12, 2023, when their sons step out onto the football field as the first brothers ever to play against each other in a Super Bowl.
Each has won a Super Bowl before—Travis in 2020 as the tight end for the Kansas City Chiefs and Jason as the center for the Philadelphia Eagles in 2018—but this year at Super Bowl LVII, there will be a heightened sense of sibling rivalry. Father Ed and mom Donna said they’ve been dreaming of the day their boys would face off against each other in the ultimate NFL championship.
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“We started thinking that reality is just never going to happen. Then this year started out of nowhere and it just took off on its own almost. It’s just amazing,” Donna told CBS two days before kickoff. “Since Travis was a little kid trying to prove he’s as good as his brother. And Jason, since he was a little kid, he’s been trying to make sure his brother knows he’s not as good as he is,” Ed said. Here’s what you need to know about Ed and Donna Kelce, who’ll be rooting for both the Eagles and Chiefs come Super Bowl Sunday.
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Travis and Jason’s mom Donna is a retired bank executive now living in Orlando, Florida, but she grew up in Cleveland. Her father didn’t approve of women playing sports but her stepmother Mary—whom the Kelce boys call Grandma Murr—was encouraging. With her stepmom’s support, Donna competed at the Junior Olympics in track and field and won.
According to People, Donna was also the first in her family to graduate college. She earned a degree from Ohio University and pursued a 30-year career in banking and finance, working for MasterCard before specializing in commercial real estate at a local bank in Cleveland.
On the Monday before Super Bowl LVII, she delivered homemade cookies to her sons wearing a special jersey featuring Travis’ team’s colors on the front and Jason’s team’s colors on the back. The people love Donna so much that there was a petition with over 180,000 signatures to have her do the Super Bowl coin toss, which decides at what end each team will score for the first quarter.
In an interview with Phoenix local news, Donna said the Kelce brothers, who played every sport under the sun growing up, were big eaters. “The refrigerator was always packed, but it didn’t last more than a day or so,” she said. “Whole chickens, they would eat lots of pork, ribs. I’d have leftovers in the refrigerator and it never lasted past the day. “When they left for college, I got a raise.”
During an appearance on the Today show, Donna reflected on her sons’ successes and ambitions. “You see them as kids and you wonder how they’re going to relate to other children and you don’t really know. They’re the best in their city, the best maybe in their state, and you don’t know how that’s going to relate to the rest of the country, you just have no idea,” Donna shared. “I know that they’re very talented and very athletic. It was just a joy to go to all the games—lacrosse, baseball, hockey—they played almost every single sport you can think of. So, it’s just been a pure joy to watch them compete and be allowed to do it for this many years. It’s just amazing,” she concluded.
Ed Kelce also grew up in Cleveland. On an episode of his son’s podcast, New Heights with Jason and Travis Kelce, Ed revealed he’d come from a family with a long history of military service.” Everybody in my family prior to me was in the service,” he said. “We’re also talking about family [that] lived through World War II, so that’s what everybody did because that was the background.”
A pre-existing knee injury stood in the way, though, and Ed was rejected from joining the Army. He did however enlist in the Coast Guard but his career was cut short when he was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease—an uncurable but manageable inflammatory bowel condition. He’d go on to have a successful career in the steel industry which he shared with his sons. “I’d take them there — hard hat, safety glasses, boots, the whole nine yards,” he told the Los Angeles 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 met while they were out on dates with other people. On an episode of New Heights, Donna revealed: “I was supposed to go out with a guy that night. We were supposed to go to a play, and I never made it. Your dad and I talked forever.” Ed added: “I’m in coveralls that are covered in cement,” Ed continued the story. “We started talking and she gave me a ride home. She came in and I told her ‘Hold on, let me change’.”
Donna and Ed tied the knot in the late ’70s and welcomed their older son Jason on November 5, 1987. Less than two years later, they welcomed Travis on October 5, 1989. After 25 years of marriage and once their sons had graduated college, Donna and Ed went their separate ways in an amicable split. “I don’t hate him. We’re friends to this day. We get along great,” Donna said on the brother’s podcast. “We were like a tag team with you two. We got to do all sorts of fun things. When one of you had to go out of town, the other person would help with the other child. It was perfect.”
Like most mothers, Donna wishes her boys would call her more. In an interview with TIME, she said: “Both of them are extremely busy. Jason, at home, he’s got two kids. Travis is constantly doing commercials and things like that. I would say that that’s a toss-up between the two of them. But maybe Travis is a little better at communicating and getting back to me.”
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