Cleveland Heights Well-Represented In Super Bowl 57

Cleveland Heights brothers Travis and Jason Kelce will oppose each other in Super Bowl 57. (Travis Kelce Instagram)

Cleveland Heights brothers Travis and Jason Kelce will oppose each other in Super Bowl 57. (Travis Kelce Instagram)

Cleveland Heights well-represented in Super Bowl 57

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Editor's note: Tony Grossi is a Cleveland Browns analyst for and 850 ESPN Cleveland. He has covered the Browns since 1984.

Takeaways from NFL championship game weekend … 

1. At last, the Kelce Bowl: Brothers Jason and Travis Kelce of Cleveland Heights will oppose each other in Super Bowl 57 Feb. 12 in Glendale, AZ, as a result of NFL Championship Game weekend. Jason’s Philadelphia Eagles easily disposed of the San Francisco 49ers, 31-7, in the NFC title game. Travis’ Kansas City Chiefs edged the Cincinnati Bengals, 23-20, on a Harrison Butker field goal of 45 yards with :03 left in regulation in the AFC game. Jason, 35, won a Super Bowl ring with the Eagles following the 2017 season. Travis, 33, won a Super Bowl ring with the Chiefs following the 2019 season. So one will claim bragging rights in two weeks. A second ring is the only thing separating them. In modern times, the great NFL brother acts that come to mind are Bruce and Clay Matthews from the 1980s-90s, and Peyton and Eli Manning from the 2000s-10s. Unfortunately, neither Matthews won a Super Bowl. The Mannings won two apiece. Bruce and Peyton are in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Clay made it to the finalist round in 2020, but now is mired in the pool of senior candidates whose modern-era eligibility of 20 years have expired. Eli will be eligible for the first time in 2024. His candidacy is arguable but far from conclusive. Jason and Travis have bona fide Hall of Fame resumes. Jason, a sixth-round draft pick in 2011, has six Pro Bowl berths and five first-team All-Pro selections in 12 years as Eagles center. Travis, a third-round pick in 2013, has eight Pro Bowl berths and four first-team All-Pro selections in 10 years as Chiefs tight end. Quite a remarkable achievement for a family from Cleveland Heights.

2. And the Andy Reid Bowl: Chiefs coach Andy Reid now opposes the Eagles, his former team, in the Super Bowl. Reid had an overall record of 140-102-1 in 14 seasons as Eagles coach (1999-2012). He made the playoffs nine times but only once got to the Super Bowl, losing to Bill Belichick’s New England Patriots, 24-21, in Super Bowl 39 following the 2004 season. Reid is 127-52 in 10 seasons with the Chiefs. He won Super Bowl 54 following the 2019 season, 31-20, and lost Super Bowl 55, 31-9, to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after the 2020 season.

3. Agonizing loss: Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes verified his PFWA MVP Award with a heroic performance on a bum right ankle, capped off by a gallant scramble out of bounds with 3 seconds left to avoid the game going into overtime. Cincinnati defensive end Joseph Ossai shoved Mahomes to the ground after he was out of bounds, however, drawing a roughness penalty that put the Chiefs in the range of Butker to make the game-winning field goal. It was the last of a series of errors by the Bengals in the late going that caused their defeat. They were victimized by questionable officiating throughout the game, but the Bengals lost the game because of poor judgment in the fourth quarter, which included a greedy series of downfield throws instead of running the ball against a gassed Kansas City defense and a punt down the middle of the field, which resulted in a 29-yard punt return by Skyy Moore that gave Mahomes the ball at his 47-yard line with 30 seconds to go. Ultimately, the Chiefs deserved to win and the Bengals deserved to lose.

4. An organization feat: Joe Gibbs claims a unique coaching feat for winning Super Bowls with the Washington Redskins with three different starting quarterbacks and running backs. Gibbs did it with Joe Theismann and John Riggins (1982 season), Doug Williams and Timmy Smith (1987), and Mark Rypien and Earnest Byner (1991). The Eagles have carved their own place in history with the chance to win their second Super Bowl in six seasons with different head coaches and quarterbacks. They won after the 2017 season with Doug Pederson at coach and Nick Foles at quarterback, filling in for the injured Carson Wentz. Now they have a chance to win with Nick Sirianni at coach and Jalen Hurts at quarterback. The major players on both Eagles Super Bowl teams are center Jason Kelce, right tackle Lane Johnson, and defensive tackle Fletcher Cox. By the way, both Eagles coaches reached the Super Bowl in their second season.

5. QB woes: The 49ers’ quarterback room was cursed like none other since the 1988 Browns. They started the season with 2021 No. 3 overall draft pick Trey Lance as the starter. Lance suffered a season-ending fractured ankle early in his second game. Jimmy Garappolo, who was not even allowed to practice in training camp because the 49ers were trying to trade him, took over and went 7-3 as the starter until breaking a foot in his 10th start. Rookie Brock Purdy completed the 10th game and won his seven starts before having to leave the Championship Game in the first quarter with a right elbow injury. QB4 Josh Johnson replaced Purdy and was knocked out with a concussion. That forced Purdy back in even though he couldn’t throw the ball beyond short screen passes. Coach Kyle Shanahan hesitated too long in using Christian McCaffrey as a Wildcat quarterback, a la Tysom Hill in the Saints’ win over the Browns. In 1988, the Browns crawled to the AFC wild-card berth despite injuries to quarterbacks Bernie Kosar, Gary Danielson, Mike Pagel and unretired Don Strock. Pagel ended up finishing the wild-card loss against Houston when Strock got hurt. This season typified why Shanahan and the 49ers gave up on Garappolo despite his 38-17 record with them. Garappolo missed 29 games in six years with injuries. He’ll be changing teams via free agency in 2023.