February 02, 2023
Super Bowl LVII is shaping up to be a primetime drama for the Kelce family, with brothers Jason and Travis going head-to-head on the NFL's biggest stage as the Eagles take on the Chiefs.
The brothers discussed the so-called "Kelce Bowl" during Wednesday's episode of their chart-climbing "New Heights" podcast. They agreed they would rather see the focus placed on their respective teams, but they also acknowledged the rarity of the occasion. This will be the first time two brothers compete against one another in a Super Bowl.
But regardless of their thoughts on the matter, the Kelce Bowl subplot has taken on a life of its own among Eagles and Chiefs fans.
A Change.org petition calling for family matriarch Donna Kelce to flip the coin at the start of the Super Bowl has collected more than 11,000 signatures and counting. Many commenters supporting the idea said that this would be the most fitting way to start the big game.
"When a first in history is presented, a first in history response should be given. Who knows if brothers will ever play in the Super Bowl again," wrote one commenter who signed the petition. "The woman that raised them should be center field with her boys that day because we wouldn't be here if she hadn't raised them to be the remarkable men they are."
The coin flip to determine which team will possess the ball first is traditionally done by a referee. As difficult as this may seem to screw up, there have been mishaps over the years. The most notorious coin toss happened on Thanksgiving in 1998, when the Steelers and Lions went to overtime in Detroit. Steelers running back Jerome Bettis said "tails" for the coin toss, but referee Phil Luckett heard him say "heads." The coin landed on tails and the Lions got the ball despite Bettis' complaints at midfield. Detroit would go on to kick a game-winning field goal.
Rules around the coin flip have also gotten more rigid over the years. In 2016, the NFL began requiring that the coin actually flip in the air in order to be a valid toss. If it doesn't flip, the ref has to toss the coin again, but the original call of heads or tails made by the visiting team still applies to the second coin flip. The Chiefs will be considered the visitors in Super Bowl LVII and will make the call of heads or tails, since the NFC and AFC representatives alternate the designation each season.
In recent years, the team that wins the coin toss usually loses the Super Bowl. The last team to win both the toss and the game was the Seattle Seahawks in 2014. The NFL has seen a growing trend of teams winning the toss and choosing to defer possession to start the game, preferring instead to take the ball to start the second half. The Eagles have been a major proponent of this strategy this season, winning a league-best 13 coin tosses and deferring all of them, with an 11-2 record in those games.
All of this is to say, Donna Kelce would be shouldering a lot of superstitious responsibility with one simple flick of the wrist. Maybe she'd rather not?
For what it's worth, most of these fan petitions are really just symbolic. In years past, thousands of Eagles fans have petitioned for broadcaster Chris Collinsworth to be banned from calling Philly games, for Pope Francis to bless former QB Sam Bradford's oft-injured knee, and for referee Pete Morelli to never officiate a Birds game again. None of those wishes came true, but it was always the thought that counted.
Donna Kelce joined the Today show on Wednesday to talk about her emotions heading into the Super Bowl. She said it will be somewhat easier to take in stride since both of her sons have already won Super Bowls in previous seasons.
"I'm a true fan of football. This is going to be so awesome," Donna said. "They've already got the first win under their belts, so this is just going to be pure joy. We're going to really enjoy this, have a great time. Obviously, there's going to be somebody that's going to go home heartbroken ... they won't having the bragging rights at the Thanksgiving table."
Kelce added that her sons, 35 and 33, were always ultra-competitive growing up in the Cleveland Heights community of Ohio.
"There were a lot of fights. Everything was a competition. It was a competition to see who could get to the table first, who could get in the front seat of the car. It's just typical sibling rivalry. They egged each other on. Travis was always trying to get at his older brother to pay attention to him."
Kelce admitted she'll probably shed some tears at some point during the Super Bowl, but no matter which of her sons loses the game, she know's there isn't much she can say to make it better. She'll be there to offer a hug.
A good Super Bowl prop bet would be how many times the camera shows Donna in her split Eagles-Chiefs jersey, supporting both brothers in what figures to be a great matchup.
Eagles fans might interpret one of Donna's comments as a slight rooting interest for Philly.
"Both fan bases are absolutely amazing, just give everything that they have on game day," Kelce said. "I think that Jason would say that I am going to root for the baby of the family, which is Travis, and I keep trying to tell him, 'No, you've given me grandchildren.' So leave it at that."
The Kelce brothers will have one more episode of "New Heights" before the Super Bowl, and they've teased the possibility of having both of their parents join the show. We'll see what happens when the next episode drops next Wednesday.