Chiefs' Kelce could set records

By Pete Grathoff
The Kansas City Star

The NFL's leading receiver is a tight end.

Through 14 weeks of the NFL season, no one has more receiving yards than the Chiefs' Travis Kelce, who has 1,250. That's 70 yards more than Seattle's D.K. Metcalf and 83 yards more than Buffalo's Stefon Diggs.

If Kelce ends the season as the NFL's leader in receiving yards, it would be the first time a tight end would win the receiving crown.

On Monday, Peter Schrager of "Good Morning Football" gushed about Kelce's achievements this season and wondered if he would take the mantle of best tight end ever from the Buccaneers' Rob Gronkowski.

"He's so good that we take it for granted," Schrager said of Kelce. "I know we love Gronk and Gronk was a fantastic tight end and Gronk still can play. I don't know if Gronk was ever as unstoppable as Travis Kelce has been the last 24 months. This guy, anytime they need a play, he finds a way to get open, he makes the play and he moves the sticks. ... He might be the very best tight end that we've seen in the league, I think maybe ever."

In addition to potentially becoming the first tight end to lead the NFL in receiving yards for a season, Kelce is the only tight end in history with five straight 1,000-yard receiving seasons.

Kelce also has had five games this season with at least seven receptions, 100 receiving yards and a receiving touchdown. The NFL said that's the most such games in a single season by a tight end since at least 1950 when tight ends were mainly blockers.

There are two other NFL tight end records that Kelce could claim this season.

Receptions

The Eagles' Zach Ertz set the record for most receptions by a tight end with 116 in the 2018 season.

Kelce has 90 receptions and is on pace for 111. To match Ertz's mark, Kelce would need 26 catches, a little under nine a game. He's had nine or more catches twice this season - at the Chargers on Sept. 20 (nine) and against Carolina on Nov. 8 (10).

Kelce is on the cusp of having the sixth 100-reception season by a tight end and he would be the only player in NFL history to do it twice. Here is the list:

116: Eagles' Zach Ertz in 2018

110: Cowboys' Jason Witten in 2012

103: Chiefs' Travis Kelce in 2018

102: Chiefs' Tony Gonzalez in 2004

100: Colts' Dallas Clark in 2009

Receiving yards

Kelce's 1,250 receiving yards gives him an average of 96.2 yards per game. If Kelce maintains that, he would finish with 1,539 receiving yards, which would shatter the NFL record for a tight end.

Here are the top three seasons for a tight end in terms of receiving yards:

1,377: 49ers' George Kittle in 2018

1,336: Chiefs' Travis Kelce in 2018

1,327: Patriots' Rob Gronkowski in 2011

Kelce is just 122 yards shy of Kittle's NFL record and 86 behind his own Chiefs record.

Could the record fall Sunday? Kelce has four games with 127 or more receiving yards this season.

Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce makes yardage for a first down in the third quarter against the Denver Broncos on Sunday, Dec. 6, 2020, at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, MO.