While most of the attention surrounding the Kansas City Chiefs' matchup with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Super Bowl LV is focused on the quarterback battle, the game will also feature two of the best tight ends to ever do it.
Kansas City tight end Travis Kelce and Tampa Bay tight end Rob Gronkowski will play against each other for the third time in the postseason as Gronkowski came out of retirement in 2020 to play with quarterback Tom Brady in his first season with the Buccaneers.
While he hasn't put up the same type of receiving numbers as he did in New England, Gronkowski has taken on a different role with the Buccaneers and has noticed what Kelce has been doing this season.
Gronkowski said Kelce isn't only revolutionizing how the game is played from the tight end position but also aiding it in other ways.
"You know, I've got nothing but major respect for Travis Kelce," Gronkowski said. "He has helped transform the tight end position. He has helped put the tight end position on the map. Speaking of contract wise, he's helped the tight end position get paid the way they deserve to get paid."
Prior to the 2020 season, Kelce signed a four-year, $57 million contract extension that keeps him in Kansas City for the next six seasons.
The money wasn't the only thing that impressed the four-time All-Pro. Gronkowski said Kelce's continual improvement throughout his career is something else he has to tip his cap to.
"What's one thing that's very intriguing about Travis Kelce, and I've never really seen this with any other player in the NFL ever before, is that Kelce gets better every single year that I've seen him play in the NFL," Gronkowski said.
In the season following his contract extension, Kelce set the record for single-season receiving yards by a tight end while being at the top of the receiving yards leaderboard throughout the year.
"That's just respect right there," Gronkowski said. "Ever since he's been in the league, he has progressed his game and has gotten better every single year going into this year. That's mad respect right there and shoutouts for doing that."