Super Bowl 2024: Where Travis Kelce ranks among NFL’s all-time greatest tight ends after third championship

Super Bowl 2024: Where Travis Kelce ranks among NFL’s all-time greatest tight ends after third championship

Travis Kelce is already one of the greatest tight ends in NFL history, and his legacy keeps growing by the year. Culminated with his third championship in Super Bowl LVIII, the question must be asked regarding the future Hall of Famer. 

Is Travis Kelce the greatest tight end in NFL history? 

The Chiefs star tight end is fourth amongst his position in career receptions (907) and receiving yards (11,328), and certainly will pass Antonio Gates for third next year. He’s just 49 catches and 514 receiving yards away from passing Gates for third, with only Tony Gonzalez and Jason Witten ahead of Gates. Kelce also has seven consecutive seasons of 1,000 receiving yards (most for a tight end in NFL history) until this season, and is the only tight end with multiple 100-reception seasons in NFL history (Kelce has three of them)

The career number of Super Bowl titles for Gonzalez, Witten, and Gates combined? Zero. 

Of the players in the top five among tight ends in receptions and receiving yards, Kelce and Shannon Sharpe each have three Super Bowl titles. Of the tight ends in the top five in receiving touchdowns all time (Kelce is tied for fifth with 74), only Rob Gronkowski has a Super Bowl championship (and he has four titles). 

Most receptions by a tight end in NFL history 

1

Tony Gonzalez

1,325

2

Jason Witten

1,228

3

Antonio Gates

955

4

Travis Kelce

907

5

Shanon Sharpe

815

Most receiving yards by tight end in NFL history

1

Tony Gonzalez

15,127

2

Jason Witten

13,046

3

Antonio Gates

11,841

4

Travis Kelce

11,328

5

Shannon Sharpe

10,060

The difference between Gronkowski and Kelce? Gronk is just 10th amongst tight ends in career receptions (621) and sixth in receiving yards (9,286). Kelce is fourth in both categories, but needs 18 receiving touchdowns to catch Gronkowski. 

The postseason is where Kelce’s legacy really shines. He has the most catches in NFL playoff history (165), the second-most receiving yards in NFL playoff history (1,903) and the second-most receiving touchdowns (19) — trailing only Jerry Rice in those two categories (Rice has 2,245 receiving yards and 22 touchdowns in his postseason career). 

Rice has the most postseasons accumulating 200-plus receiving yards (six), but Kelce is right behind him (five). They are the only two players to accomplish the feat — keep in mind Rice is a wide receiver. Kelce is the only player in NFL playoff history with four postseasons with 20-plus receptions (Rice has never accomplished that), and he’s accomplished that feat in consecutive seasons as well. No player in NFL history has ever had more catches (113) and receiving yards (1,271) in a span of four consecutive postseasons than Kelce. 

Then there’s the Super Bowl, where Kelce is fourth all-time in receiving yards with 350 (that’s for any player). His 31 catches in a Super Bowl trail only Rice (33) for the most in Super Bowl history. 

The greatest tight end of all time is subjective, but Kelce certainly has staked his claim to have that title. As Kelce continues to build on his regular season numbers and adds to his postseason legacy, it will soon be a no-brainer who is the greatest tight end in NFL history. 

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