Travis Kelce’s latest episode of his podcast, “New Heights,” got a lot of publicity this week for his recounting of the Derwin James tackle that was apparently heard around the world.
Of course, that was just one short segment of the hour-plus-long conversation between Travis and his older brother Jason Kelce, of the Philadelphia Eagles. Give the whole thing a listen if you have the time — it’s pure gold — but there was one other section that stood out.
Jason Kelce asked Travis what he thinks about Pro Football Focus after Patrick Mahomes’ Week 2 comments and whether or not he and his Kansas City Chiefs teammates trust the grading site. The answer was surprisingly blunt at times.
Travis Kelce Calls out PFF With Strong Accusation
This part of the discussion came about 20 seconds after the 23-minute mark and Travis Kelce definitely tackled it with total honesty, as he typically does.
“The thing is that these PFF graders are grading off of what they think the play should be,” he began, “whereas we might have a specific fundamental or we might have a specific call that takes us into something else and the play doesn’t work… The graders don’t necessarily know the objective of the play and the fundamentals that we’re being taught.”
Travis continued on, summing up that PFF marks wouldn’t generally be as accurate as team facility grades from coaches who know the scheme and the task at hand. That first portion was just a mild correction of why Pro Football Focus might sometimes be off-base. The eye-opening remarks came later.
Here was the drop-the-bomb moment from Travis: “I also think that there [are] agents out here paying guys to get higher grades than others — I won’t name any names.”
This even sparked a reaction from Jason Kelce. “I have wondered that for years,” the older of the Kelce brothers stated.”
“What? Wondered it?” Travis responded. “No doubt in my mind.”
“You think that’s a fact?” Jason asked, appearing somewhat shocked. “No doubt in my mind, yes,” Travis repeated for a second time.
His brother countered that he chooses to believe that a website like PFF would have more credibility than that, which got a laugh from Travis. “More credible?” He chuckled.
“If that was true, that would completely ruin their website so I don’t think that happens,” Jason argued in favor of the grading site.
“You don’t think there [are] agents out here paying these scouts to give higher grades so their players can make more money when it comes down to the bargaining?” Travis harped. “You don’t think there [are] agents out here trying to slither their way into a few extra [bucks].”
“It’s happening Jason,” Travis concluded with a sly smirk. “It’s happening.”
Chiefs War With PFF Rages On
More than maybe any other fanbase and team, Chiefs Kingdom seems to have an ongoing war with Pro Football Focus.
It’s not just supporters mistrusting the grading or a general lack of belief, but also player quotes and conspiracy theories like this one. Is there any truth to Travis Kelce’s claim? That knowledge is well-above my pay grade but it’s clear that the Chiefs’ current core of stars is not a fan.
“I’m sure PFF will have me at a low grade for that,” Mahomes told reporters with a devilish grin after a couple of near-interceptions in Week 2, “but I’ll keep it rolling.”
It’s comments like these and Travis’ that have stirred the pot but at least to this point, the grading site has chosen not to respond to any of these claims or headlines. They probably know better than to further alienate any NFL stars. After all — without them, no one would need PFF.
“All in all, I think PFF does a pretty good job on the extremes,” Jason Kelce later voiced. “It’s a good way for fans to gauge without any knowledge of [what] players are doing but it’s not infallible.”