Travis Kelce Makes NFL History as Chiefs Defeat Broncos on Sunday Night Football

Travis Kelce made NFL history on Sunday night, as he became the first tight end to hit the 1,000 receiving yard threshold in five seasons. The 31-year-old had eight catches for 136 yards and a touchdown in the Kansas City Chiefs' 22-16 win over the Denver Broncos on Sunday Night Football, reaching 1,000 receiving yards for the season as he hauled in a 19-yard pass from Patrick Mahomes in the second quarter.

Over the last four seasons, Kelce finished with 1,125 receiving yards in 2016 and 1,038 in 2017, before putting up career-best figures of 1,336 receiving yards in 2018 and 1,229 receiving yards last season.

Hall of Famer Tony Gonzalez, Tampa Bay Buccaneers' Rob Gronkowski and Las Vegas Raiders veteran Jason Witten are the only tight ends in NFL history to have finished with at least 1,000 receiving yards in four separate seasons. Of the trio, only Gronkowski and Witten managed to hit the 1,000-yard threshold in consecutive seasons.

"It's something cool to hang your hat on when the career is over, I would assume," Kelce said after the game.

"Right now, I'm just focused on the task at hand. Gonna enjoy this one for a night with the family. Then, from there, just focus on Miami."

Kelce's 136 receiving yards against the Broncos brought his season tally to 1,114, making the 31-year-old the first tight end in the Super Bowl era to have over 1,100 receiving yards in his team's first 12 games of a season, as per NFL Research.

In 2018, Kelce had set the record for most receiving yards by a tight end at this stage of the season with 1,082.

A third-round pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, the 31-year-old has developed into one of the Chiefs' biggest stars, thanks largely to an almost telepathic understanding with Mahomes.

"He [Kelce] and [Mahomes] have a great relationship, and that's important to get these kind of things done," Chiefs head coach Andy Reid said.

"Every quarterback needs a go-to guy, and ours is fortunate to have a couple, but [No.] 87 is a big one for him."

Asked about Kelce's record-breaking milestone, Reid was full of praise for the two-time All Pro.

"That's quite an accomplishment," he explained. "Nobody enjoys a game or works harder than Kelce, so it's great to see this happen to him, and he loves playing the game.

"Those kind of guys, you love to coach, and we're blessed to have a few of those that love the game. I'm proud of Kelce for the time and effort he puts in."

Kelce wasn't alone in making history on Sunday as the win over the Broncos allowed the Chiefs to clinch a playoff spot for a franchise record sixth consecutive season.

At 11-1, the reigning Super Bowl champions currently trail only the undefeated Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC standings for the conference's No. 1 seed and solitary postseason bye.

The win over the Broncos also extended the Chiefs' stranglehold on the AFC West. According to NFL Research, Kansas City is 31-4 against divisional opponents since 2015, the best record by any team in divisional games over a six-year span since the NFL merger in 1970.

The Chiefs can secure a fifth straight divisional title with a win against the Dolphins in Miami next week.

Travis Kelce, Kansas City Chiefs
Travis Kelce #87 of the Kansas City Chiefs dives ahead of Kareem Jackson #22 of the Denver Broncos during the fourth quarter of a game at Arrowhead Stadium on December 6 in Kansas City, Missouri. The Chiefs won 22-16. Jamie Squire/Getty