San Francisco 49ers star tight end George Kittle has been in the conversation as one of the best tight ends in the NFL for some time. But there was always one name consistently ranked ahead of him: Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce.
However, in a 2023 where Kelce had something of a down year while Kittle had another solid Pro Bowl season, it would now be tough to say that Kittle is not the best tight end in football.
George Kittle has overtaken Travis Kelce as NFL's No. 1 tight end
Kittle ended the 2023 regular season with 65 receptions for 1,020 receiving yards and six touchdown catches. His 15.7 yards per reception marked the highest yards per gain of his career.
As the graphic above states, Kittle had the most receiving yards among tight ends this season. Kelce came in second with 984 receiving yards, although he did miss two regular-season games compared to Kittle missing one. It is important to note that Kelce wracked up his yardage via 93 receptions, nearly 30 more than Kittle, though. That means Kittle averaged nearly 5 yards more per reception than Kelce.
Of course, part of this is due to the fact that the 49ers offense has so many weapons. Between Christian McCaffrey, Deebo Samuel, and Brandon Aiyuk, it can be easy to overlook Kittle which can allow him to get wide open for explosive plays.
But what Kittle does with the ball in his hands is only half the story. We all know that Kittle is one of the, if not the, most premier blocking tight end in the league. Constantly, he is creating holes for McCaffrey to run through or blocking downfield for one of his wide receivers.
It is this aspect of his game that makes him a complete tight end and the best in the NFL.
Kelce may be more famous than Kittle thanks to his dating life, but Niners fans can rest easy knowing the best tight end in the NFL plays on their favorite team.