In the only recent year in which Travis Kelce and the Kansas City Chiefs weren’t playing in the Super Bowl, the N.F.L. star was driving around Los Angeles in early February with his business managers, André and Aaron Eanes, marveling at billboards featuring Dwayne Johnson, the actor and entertainer better known as the Rock.
“Man, I don’t think I’ll ever be as famous as the Rock,” Mr. Kelce said.
His co-managers looked at each other. “We’re like, Yes, you can,” André Eanes said.
The twin brothers had known since Mr. Kelce was at the University of Cincinnati that the 6-foot-5 athletic star with the Marvel-character physique, blue eyes and affable charm had crossover potential.
But let’s be honest. Nobody imagined this.
This was a year even the Rock might envy. Mr. Kelce, a tight end, won the Super Bowl (his second) in February. In March, he hosted “Saturday Night Live.” He’s starred in seven national television commercials. The podcast he co-hosts with his brother, Jason, is among the most popular on Spotify. He launched a clothing line with his team.
And he’s dating the world’s most famous pop singer. Perhaps you’ve heard.
Mr. Kelce’s sudden conquering of the zeitgeist — being put on the map, if you will — has taken even die-hard football fans by surprise. The reality is that most of his ascent has been years in the making — the result of a carefully manicured business plan developed by the 34-year-old Eanes brothers that blossomed at precisely the right moment.
The Chiefs have spent the last few years as the most unstoppable force in football and, along the way, Mr. Kelce’s other team has grown to include a creative strategist, a community outreach coordinator, a Los Angeles-based publicist, a personal chef and a trainer.
He has four football agents, led by Mike Simon at VMG. In the spring, he also became a client of Creative Artists Agency to feed his budding acting itch.