BOSTON (CBS) — Patriots fans do not like Travis Kelce for a myriad of reasons. It just probably isn’t the reason the Chiefs tight end thinks.
In a recent chat with Adam Lefkoe on Bleacher Report’s “The Lefkoe Show,” Kelce shared his thoughts on the New Engalnd-Kansas City rivalry, and had an interesting reason for why Patriots fans don’t like him very much.
“Pats fans, for whatever reason, just hated me for being a white tight end wearing 87,” said Kelce. “Like, if I would have had on 84, none of this would have ever been talked about. But because I wore 87, all of a sudden the Pats nation absolutely hated me.”
Brady vs. Mahomes
Gronk vs. Kelce@tkelce explains the real rivalry between the Patriots and Chiefs 👁
— B/R Gridiron (@brgridiron) May 13, 2020
No. 87 was, of course, the same number that Rob Gronkowski wore during his time with the Patriots. And when it came to talking about the best tight ends in the game, it was often Gronk-Kelce in the top two spots.
But New England’s disdain for Kelce had nothing to do with him also wearing No. 87 or being white. It had much more to do with people placing him ahead of Gronk as the best all-around tight end in the game. Kelce may have surpassed Gronkowski in his pass-catching abilities toward the end of Gronk’s career, but he was nowhere near the complete package that New England’s No. 87 possessed. Gronkowski was the superior blocker — which is a requirement to be considered an all-around tight end — by a wide margin due to Kelce’s lackadaisical approach to that aspect of being a tight end. People putting Kelce ahead of Gronk on their tight end rankings irritated Patriots fans, a fanbase that doesn’t respond well to such slights.
Mix in Kelce’s braggadocios attitude and some sour grapes on the NFL’s overtime rules after the Patriots beat the Chiefs in the 2018 AFC Championshp Game, and it’s easy to see that New England’s scorn for Kelce has nothing to do with the number he wears.