• Sports
  • Super Bowl

The Kelce Brothers’ Mom Wishes They Would Call More (Especially You, Jason)

8 minute read

On Feb. 12, two brothers will face each other as players for the first time in Super Bowl history. Philadelphia Eagles All-Pro center Jason Kelce, 35, and his younger brother Travis, 33, the Kansas City Chiefs All-Pro tight end, grew up in Cleveland Heights, Ohio, and played together for a season at the University of Cincinnati. The Eagles, coached at the time by Andy Reid, selected Jason in the sixth round, 191th overall, of the 2011 draft. The Chiefs, coached then and now by Reid, took Travis in the third round, 63rd overall, in the 2013 NFL Draft.

They’ve each won a Super Bowl, Jason in 2018, when the Eagles upset the New England Patriots, and Travis two years later, when the Kansas City Chiefs came back late to beat San Francisco. The Kelces both have strong chances to make the Pro Football Hall of Fame. No pair of siblings have ever been elected as players.

So during Super Bowl week their mom Donna Kelce, a retired bank executive now living in Orlando, has been a popular presence around Phoenix, the host city. On Monday’s Super Bowl opening night, she delivered cookies to her kids, wearing a jersey that’s red in the front (Travis) and green in the back (Jason). More than 180,000 fans signed a petition for her to do the Super Bowl coin toss.

Read More: The Historic Significance of a Super Bowl With Two Black Quarterbacks

TIME spoke to Donna by the phone earlier this week, while she was in an Uber en route to record an episode of the popular podcast hosted by her sons, “New Heights.” We knew she was unlikely to make any predictions about the game — though we asked — so we grilled her instead on the question that’s on everyone’s mind: Which kid was a bigger pain to deal with?

Just kidding. Donna was more than happy to gush about her sons, but she definitely didn’t try to paint them as perfect. Jason, jumping into a trash can on a dare was just dumb. And both of you: call your mother, will you?

So who’s funnier: Jason or Travis?
Toss-up. They’re probably 50/50. They’re both hysterical. I think Jason has a quicker wit. But Travis is pretty funny, too. I can’t make a decision there.

Who’s more likely to cry at a movie?
Oh, it depends on the movie, but I would say probably Travis. But Jason also. They’re both very emotional, especially with sports and everything else. They’re very similar in a lot of different ways. You just hit on two.

All right, who was messier growing up?
I’m pretty sure it’s Jason. There would be food plates underneath the bed. He never brought anything downstairs. Like a pack rat.

Read More: LeBron James Is the New Scoring King. He’s Not Done Yet

Who was the bigger eater?
Jason definitely was the bigger eater. He was less picky and so he ate everything. Plus, he was a linebacker and a lineman. So he needed to put the pounds on. He loved ribs.

Who won more brawls?
Jason, because he was always bigger, two years older, smarter. More experience. So yeah, definitely Jason would win a lot of the fights until they got to high school. Then one of them [Travis] took off and got larger. Once they were the same height and weight, in high school — it was Jason’s senior year, Travis sophomore year — that’s the year that they were pretty equal.

Who got in more trouble in school?
That’s a toss-up too. It was never bad things. Like one time Jason did a dare. It was for hockey. Basically what happened was, he jumped from a lunch-room table into a trash can with a snorkel on, rip-away pants and swimming trunks on. So it was stuff like that. It was always disruptive. It was silly stuff that I got calls for. It was never for fighting or being mean or stealing or anything like that.

A substitute teacher was in class. The class was kind of unruly. Travis took a wad of paper and threw it at another kid. So, I got a call for that.

Read More: Modeling Pays the Bills. But She’s Got Her Eye on a Boxing World Title

Who calls his mother more?

Oh, that’s a good question. The NFL really doesn’t do well with that. They will answer my texts. But both of them are extremely busy. Jason, at home, he’s got two kids. Travis is constantly doing commercials and things like that. I would say that that’s a toss-up between the two of them. But maybe Travis is a little better at communicating and getting back to me.

I hope Jason reads this and gets a little better.

I don’t think that’s going to happen.

I think Travis had an $1,100 text bill when he was in high school, before they gave unlimited. He was always on the phone. He’s a true communicator.

Who give better gifts?

I’ve gotten wonderful gifts from both of them. Trips and jewelry and, you know, grandchildren. I would say even in that one.

Who’s more stubborn?

Definitely Jason. He’ll pick the other side of an argument just to argue. He just keeps at you like a drill sergeant. Trying to ask you to make a decision. Like, just recently, “Who are you going to pick to win in the Super Bowl?” He just won’t let it go.

Who was more likely to walk the family dog, Belle [named after former Cleveland Guardians star Albert Belle]?

Neither one. It was mom taking care of the cat and the dog. But they would go in the backyard and play with the dog, that’s for sure.

Who’s more of a do-gooder, more likely to save the world than the other?

Travis has a little bit more, I don’t know what the right word is … he’s just a kinder human being. That’s just in his nature. Jason sometimes is a little cynical.

Kids often have their dream occupations when they’re growing up. To be an astronaut, that kind of thing. Do you remember, for each of them, the first thing they wanted to be when they grew up?

Travis was definitely Charles Barkley. He had that dream, when he was very young, to be an NBA player. I don’t know why, but that’s what he chose. Jason wanted to be a superhero. He wore a lot of Batman outfits.

All right … Who’s more likely to win the game Sunday?

Oh, jeez. I just don’t know. If they were playing another team, I would say each of them were. It’s the team that makes the least amount of mistakes. You just have to wait on that one.

You didn’t fall for that one. I don’t blame you.

It’s tough.

As we get closer to the game, does it make it less stressful knowing that each of them has already won a Super Bowl?

Yeah, it’s a lot better. This one will be pure joy, knowing they made it and that one of their dreams came true. Now the original one was that they would play with each other, on the same team, and it would be the Browns. That’s what they always talked about. But that didn’t happen and it turned out well for both of them. They both got drafted by Andy Reid though.

That Browns dream … it’s not too late. Do you think it has any chance to come true?

OK, Jason will never leave Philadelphia. If they tell him “you’re done,” that’s it. Travis, he will never leave Patrick [Mahomes]. Or Andy for that matter. So it’s not going to happen. They’re going to stay where they are.

OK, are there any lighting-round questions I should have asked? Or any last thing you’d want to point out?

Travis seems to have always followed in Jason’s footsteps. You know, Jason got into the NFL, then Travis did. Jason got the [Ed Block Courage Award], and Travis did. Jason won the Super Bowl. And Travis did. So it just seems like he’s following his older brother’s footsteps all the way through.

More Must-Reads from TIME

Write to Sean Gregory at sean.gregory@time.com