Draft visitors, including Donna Kelce, arrive at airport with positive impression

Published: Apr. 25, 2023 at 10:36 PM CDT|Updated: Apr. 26, 2023 at 7:18 AM CDT
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KCTV) - For many coming into town for the NFL Draft, the airport will be their first impression.

A month ago, travelers complained about a backlog of traffic at arrivals. There was no such thing during the time KCTV5 visited on Tuesday. A sparse row of people stood at the curb with luggage in hand. No cars were lingering.

What was lingering was a group of local collectors gathered inside the doors, watching for the possible arrival of prospects.

They jumped to their feet as Donna Kelce stepped away from a baggage carousel. For the uninitiated, that’s the mother of Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce and Eagles center Jason Kelce. The brothers have three Super Bowl rings combined and were opponents in the last Super Bowl.

Mama Kelce, as she’s affectionately known, signed one piece of memorabilia, “I created the Kelce Bowl.”

“You know, I think it’s just really neat for Kansas City to be out there for everyone to see,” she said. “It’ll be a lot of people coming into town that have never been here before that I think they’ll really find it very lovely.”

It was her first time at the new terminal. Her last visit was for the Super Bowl parade. The addition she seemed most impressed with was the red and green occupied and vacant lights above the bathroom stalls.

“It makes it very convenient,” she remarked.

It’s early enough that most of the people we spotted coming in for the Draft were with media organizations.

Max Herold does production for a German broadcast company. They just secured the rights for NFL broadcasts.

“It’s starting to grow,” he said of the American sport’s popularity overseas. “They just had their first game over in Germany last year.”

The aviation department added a little Kansas City music history to the arrivals experience for the NFL Draft.

During the busiest hours -- from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday -- a live jazz band will be performing. The musicians were chosen by the director of entertainment at the Blue Room of the American Jazz Museum at 18th & Vine.

AJ Steadham was paying extra close attention to the trumpet. He played in high school. Now he’s the co-host of a syndicated radio show focused on SEC football. He’s been to many NFL Drafts, but he’s never been to Kansas City. When he’s not at the Draft, he won’t just be relaxing at the hotel. He plans to be on the move to see what Kansas City has to offer.

He wants to visit the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame, the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, and the Kansas City Chiefs Hall of Honor. Plus, get some barbecue at spots recommended by a friend.

“Is it G? Is it Gates barbecue? Is that one?” he asked.

Yup that’s one.

“And then, is there is there a Bryant?”

Add an apostrophe and you got it.

“Bryant’s, yeah. So, I think those two are on my mind,” he said.

Mama Kelce said her boys are already in town preparing for the live broadcast of their podcast “New Heights,” which will happen Wednesday night at the Music Hall. She plans to attend.