Two of the best tight ends in the game — who could also vie for the title of Next Gronkowski and all that entails — will be squaring off Sunday.
And one of the best all time at the position has rendered his verdict.
Hall of Fame tight end Shannon Sharpe told Scott Bair of NBCSportsBayArea.com that he gave a “slight nod” to 49ers tight end George Kittle over Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce.
Sharpe caught 815 passes for 10,060 yards and 62 touchdowns with the Broncos and Ravens en route to Canton, so his opinion carries weight.
Asked to break down the individual components of their games, and Sharpe gave Kittle the edge as a blocker, and Kelce the edge in receiving and swagger. But he also noted that trying to decide between the two was a difficult task because they’re both so talented.
“It is very, very close,” Sharpe said. “If you look at what they’ve been able to do over the last three to four years, the only difference is that Kelce has been able to remain a little healthier throughout the course of his career than George Kittle. But this might be the closest two great players are that I can remember because if you look at the quarterback position . . . do we think there’s another player close to Patrick Mahomes? No. We look at defensive tackles, do we think there’s a defensive tackle close to Aaron Donald? No.
“But these guys are very, very, very, very close. When I say you’re splitting hairs, you’re literally splitting hairs, I’m talking about mosquito hairs, not no grizzly bear hairs. For me, it’s just a matter of, because they’re both in the same offense, they play the West Coast [offense], both coaches do a great job of getting them matched up, they do a very good job of run after the catch. But I would probably say, as far as consistency, I would give a slight nod to Kittle for the simple fact that I think he drops a few fewer passes than Kelce. Kelce’s looking to get the home run every single time, so he drops a few passes that he should catch because he’s looking for the big play.”
If one of them is able to push a mosquito hair in the other direction, it could be the difference in a Super Bowl title.