FOXBORO, Mass. — Patrick Mahomes only can be so diplomatic.
During a conference call with New England media Wednesday, the Kansas City Chiefs quarterback was asked where he’d rank Travis Kelce among the NFL’s best tight ends.
Mahomes obviously is aware his Chiefs are about to face the New England Patriots, who employ one of the all-time greats in Rob Gronkowski. But the young QB wasn’t about to pick against his guy.
“On my list, I would rank Kelce the best tight end in football,” Mahomes said. “I know Gronk has been a great tight end for a long time, but I mean, I haven’t gotten to play with Gronk.
“I’ve played with Kelce, and I’ve never seen anyone be able to do the things that he’s done.”
Mahomes apparently has an ally in ESPN’s Booger McFarland, who insisted on a Week 4 “Monday Night Football” broadcast that Kelce, not Gronkowski, is the NFL’s best tight end.
To be clear, we wouldn’t expect Mahomes to say anything different. Patriots head coach Bill Belichick also gushed about Kelce in his press conference Wednesday, insisting the 29-year-old is “good at everything.”
“He’s got good speed,” Belichick said. “He’s really good after the catch, hard to tackle, good in space, he’s quick. He’s got good size. He catches the ball well, good balance. He’s a hard guy to defend.”
Still, Mahomes’ comments likely won’t sit well with Patriots fans — and other NFL observers — who believe Gronk is the league’s gold standard at the position.
Those fans would have a point, too: While Kelce rivals his Patriots counterpart in pass-catching ability, most pundits agree Gronkowski easily is the superior blocker. He’s also found the end zone at an unrivaled rate, with 78 touchdowns in 107 career games (0.73 TDs per game) compared to Kelce’s 25 touchdowns in 69 contests (0.36 TDs per game).
Long story short: The two uber-talented tight ends may have a score to settle Sunday night at Gillette Stadium.
Thumbnail photo via Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports Images
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