Travis Kelce didn’t earn his own Newser tag until he started dating Taylor Swift, but there was apparently a plan in place to propel the Kansas City Chiefs tight end to stardom way before that romance—a plan that would make him potentially “as famous as the Rock.” That scheme, detailed by Zach Schonbrun for the New York Times, was hatched by twin brothers Aaron and Andre Eanes, the football player’s co-managers who had long been sure that “the 6-foot-5 athletic star with the Marvel-character physique, blue eyes, and affable charm had crossover potential.” But, Schonbrun writes, “let’s be honest. Nobody imagined this.” “This” being a second Super Bowl win for Kelce last year; an SNL hosting gig; more than a half-dozen TV commercials; a popular podcast with his brother, Jason Kelce, of the Phildelphia Eagles—and yes, of course, Kelce’s relationship with the biggest pop star on the planet.
But although it appears the 34-year-old came out of nowhere to dominate the “zeitgeist,” Schonbrun explains how the Eanes brothers, also 34, who’ve known Kelce since his days at the University of Cincinnati, have long had a “carefully manicured business plan” that “blossomed at precisely the right moment.” Not that there haven’t been bumps along the way: Catching Kelce, an ill-fated reality show almost a decade ago in which Kelce looks for his soulmate, didn’t go anywhere. And now the Eanes brothers are concerned about oversaturation and have a plan for 2024 that involves a more carefully curated approach. But, as Aaron Eanes tells Schonbrun, when people tell him, “Man, it’s been a crazy year,” he replies, “Actually, it’s not that crazy.” He explains that although “people look at me funny” when he says that, “it’s easy when you have a plan. We’re executing that plan.” More on the machinations to make Kelce a star here. (Read more Travis Kelce stories.)