It’s hard to quantify how much more dominant Travis Kelce has been in relation to every other tight end in the NFL over the past few years. Kelce has been putting up No. 1 wide receiver numbers for the Kansas City Chiefs since 2014, and he’s already established himself as one of the greatest TEs to ever play.
With his 136 receiving yards on Sunday night, Kelce made NFL history and all but locked himself in as a future Hall of Famer in the process.
Travis Kelce already has 1,000 receiving yards this season
Ever since Tony Gonzalez, Rob Gronkowski, and Jason Witten exited their primes, tight ends have mostly been used as blockers and red zone options in the NFL. That’s not the case for Travis Kelce. Kelce has been the No. 1 passing option in Kansas City’s offense since he won the starting job in 2014.
The tight end has recorded at least 100 targets and 70 catches in each of the past five years, and he’s already surpassed those numbers through 12 games this season. On Sunday night against the Denver Broncos, Kelce recorded eight catches for 136 receiving yards and a touchdown to go over 1,000 yards already in 2020.
Even with the emergence of Zach Ertz, George Kittle, and Darren Waller, Kelce led the NFL last season with 1,229 receiving yards. He’s recorded at least 1,000 receiving yards in five straight seasons, which put him in elite company among all tight ends in NFL history.
Kelce made NFL history Sunday night
By surpassing 1,000 receiving yards on the season Sunday night, Kelce became the first tight end in NFL history to record five seasons with 1,000 yards. No other tight end in league history has done so in more than four seasons. Kelce has done it in five straight.
Kelce is on pace this year to shatter his career-high of 1,336 receiving yards in a single season. The five-time Pro Bowler is also only 31 years old, so he could easily have a few more 1,000-yard seasons left in the tank. With Patrick Mahomes throwing him the football, it’s all but a guarantee.
Is Travis Kelce already a lock for the Hall of Fame?
It’s rare to dub an NFL player as a Hall of Famer before his career even comes to a close, but we might already be there with Travis Kelce. The longtime Chief already ranks near the top of the list in every statistical category for tight ends in NFL history.
Kelce has already amassed 7,579 receiving yards in seven years as a full-time starter, which ranks 10th all-time for tight ends. He also ranks ninth all-time in receptions with 589. Tony Gonzalez leads all tight ends with 1,325 catches and 15,127 receiving yards, but Kelce is already hot on his tail.
Kelce leads all tight ends in NFL history in receiving yards per game (70.2). If he continues at that pace, he’ll catch Gonzalez in just over 107 more games, or about six and a half healthy seasons. Kelce can easily play into his upper 30s, so Gonzalez’s record is well within reach.
Even if Kelce can’t catch Gonzalez, he’ll most likely finish his career in the top three or four among tight ends in catches and yards. Add a few more Super Bowls and Pro Bowls to his resume, and Kelce is nearly a lock to make the Hall of Fame.
All stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference