NFL fans know that the only time Travis Kelce and Jason Kelce team up is when they get in front of the microphone. The stars from the Kansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles, respectively, have formed a comical and stout tandem with their “New Heights” podcast.
Was there ever a time when both Kelce brothers played together on the same football team?
Going Back to the Cincinnati Bearcats Days for Jason Kelce and Travis Kelce
Though the famed Super Bowl-winning brothers grew up in the Cleveland area, they both went to college at the University of Cincinnati.
That includes being on the same roster together at one point in Jason’s Bearcats career — in 2008 and 2009, the tail end of his collegiate experience.
Jason was recruited to UC by then-Bearcats head coach Mark Dantonio before the coach would go on to Michigan State. Jason also suited up for Brian Kelly, who was the team’s head coach from 2006 to 2009. It was Kelly who helped recruit Travis to the campus.
Before manning center for the Eagles, Jason was an unranked prospect who signed his National Letter of Intent to Cincinnati for its 2006 class. And he showed up to the Bearcats as a walk-on linebacker.
Eventually, Jason became a towering 6’4″, 280-pound interior offensive lineman option. He didn’t get a chance to earn playing time until 2007, as he competed for spots at guard and center.
In 2008, he solidified himself as the starting left guard as his younger brother Travis took a redshirt season. Jason helped the UC offense average 27.3 points per game.
The brothers eventually became starters in the 2009 season. Jason remained at left guard while Travis got situated at tight end. However, he was utilized as a quarterback in wildcat formations for the Bearcats.
That 2009 campaign was the last time the Kelce brothers were football teammates.
How Good Were Those Bearcat Teams When the Kelces Were There?
When fans think of the Bearcats, they’ll likely think about the Kelce brothers playing there or how the program eventually launched itself into a College Football Playoff contender.
But was Cincinnati a contender for the national title during when the Kelces were there? Here’s how Cincinnati fared when Jason lined up for them:
- 2006: Finished 8-5 overall and won the International Bowl over Western Michigan.
- 2007: Went 10-3 under Kelly and ended the season winning the PapaJohns.com Bowl (now known as the Birmingham Bowl) over Southern Miss.
- 2008: Went 11-3 overall but lost to Virginia Tech in the Orange Bowl.
- 2009: Considered, at the time, the greatest season in program history — Jason Kelce led UC to a 12-0 start before Brian Kelly accepted the Norte Dame job. The Bearcats were walloped by a Florida Gators team led by Tim Tebow in the Sugar Bowl.
How did the Travis-led Bearcats team fare? Did the future two-time Super Bowl winner help elevate Cincinnati’s brand even further?
In the 2010 season, he didn’t play a down for UC after a violation of team rules. That UC team fell to 4-8 overall. He managed to return in 2011 but caught just 13 passes for 150 yards and scored twice as the Bearcats went 10-3.
In his final collegiate season in 2012, Travis helped guide the team to a second straight 10-3 season. His last collegiate game included an 83-yard reception to break a 34-34 tie, as Cincinnati won 48-34 over Duke in the Belk Bowl.
In short, the Kelces experienced being a part of the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) together while also turning Bearcats football into a popular Saturday brand. Now, they’re two of 26 former Bearcat players in the NFL.