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Jason Kelce: A True Philadelphian

Jason Kelce: A True Philadelphian

This past Monday, at the age of 36, Jason Kelce decided to hang up his cleats and retire from the NFL after a decorated 13 year career with the Philadelphia Eagles. In his career, Jason Kelce was 6 times an All-Pro, made 7 Pro-Bowl appearances and the most consecutive starts in Eagles franchise history (156), 2 Super Bowl Appearances, and he delivered the Eagles their first Super Bowl in franchise history. He has been a pillar in Philadelphia sports and is undeniably one of the greatest football players of all time and a hall of famer.

On Monday, Jason Kelce made a 45 minute retirement announcement at the Eagles facility. He was joined by his brother Travis, mother, father, his wife Kylie, Big Dom, Nick Sirriani and countless others. His long, emotional speech gave us many great quotes about him thanking his family, looking into a bright future and reflecting on the iconic and hilarious moments of his career. In my opinion, the most iconic play of his career is well known, THE PHILLY SPECIAL.

Let me take you back to February 7th, 2018, my mom, dad and I (minus my sister who had no interest in watching) gathered around the TV to watch our hometown Eagles collide with the all-powerful Tom Brady led Patriots in Super Bowl 52. My mom quickly retreated to bed after having enough of my dad screaming at the TV and kindly hoping for Tom Brady to break his leg.

I don’t remember a lot about the game, but I do remember two things. I of course remember winning the game and my neighbors banging pots outside. Secondly, I remember watching the play that stunned us all. After an exciting sequence, Nick Foles and Doug Peterson whisper their plans in the redzone on 4th down. Surprisingly, the Eagles decide to go for it on fourth down in the red zone. The play started off with Nick Foles screaming at the O-line and then shuffling to the right tackle. Kelce snapped the ball to Zach Hertz and Nick Foles ran into the right corner of the endzone. Contested? No. He was WIDE OPEN. While Jason didn’t catch the touchdown, he was part of one of the best trick plays of all time.

The night was a complete roller coaster of emotions for my sad and me. The game was close, and like any great Super Bowl, it came down to the wire. My dad nervously slugged down beers deep into the fourth quarter. After a suspiciously long drive by the Patriots at the end of the game, the Eagles had finally done it. They defeated the Patriots 41-33 to claim their first Super Bowl title. My dad and I jumped up and down embracing for what seemed like forever. But all this leads back to Jason Kelce.

At the end of the game, Kelce requoted a line from Rocky postgame, “It’s not hard you get hit, it’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward, it’s about how much you can take and keep moving forward, that’s how winning is done.” While I think this quote embodies the hard-working city of Philadelphia, I think it best embodies Jason Kelce.

Two weeks later was the famous Super Bowl parade on Broad Street. It was chaotic. People were climbing poles and subway hoods, anything they could to get a glimpse of our Eagles. I remember sitting on dad’s shoulders watching Doug Peterson hoist the Lombardi trophy high in the air as they zoomed by on their team bus. That was about the best and only look I got of the team that day.

A year and a half later, I won a signed Jason Kelce poster in a raffle. The poster was the iconic photo of his Super Bowl parade speech where he wore a big, green Mummers day parade suit, which is the photo of this article. There are many iconic photos in Philadelphia sports history, Rocky throwing his fists up at the top of the Art Museum steps, Dr. J famous under-the-backboard layup against the Lakers in the 83 finals, and Jason Kelce at the Superbowl parade.

Another great memory I have of Jason Kelce is the brotherly shove. The play is simple, get low and shove. Only downside, you may get at the bottom of a heavy pile of 300-pound linemen. And at the bottom of this pile every time is no other than, Jason Kelce. I remember watching the Eagles play the Rams while having family dinner with my grandmom. After an one hand catch 20 yard reception by AJ brown the Eagles found themselves 1 yard from the endzone to close out the half. I turned to my Dad and said, “I know what they’re running.“ My grandmom asked intriguingly, “ What? “ “The brotherly shove“, I said back. 

The closest thing I can compare the Brotherly shove to is Moses parting the red sea. The Eagles offensive line plowed through the Rams defense easily and scored a huge touchdown going into half. One of the best feelings in sports, is having that player or play that makes you think your team feel unstoppable. That’s until reality sets in, but we won’t talk about that.

In addition to his on the field success, he has arguably had even more success off the field. In September 2022, him and his brother Travis started their own podcast called New Heights. Since then, it has been one of the most hilarious and entertaining podcast in the country. They have had many famous guest including Jalen Hurts, Andy Reid, the Kelce family and many more. In 2023, he released his very own documentary called Kelce. The documentary takes us through him and his brothers journey to the NFL and him confronting the question of retirement in the the exciting 2022 NFL season. Moreover, him and his wife Kylie Kelce have worked closely with the Eagles Autism Foundation during Jason’s career.

In retrospect, Jason Kelce has had a huge impact on the city of Philadelphia and my life personally. He will forever be remembered for bringing a Super Bowl to the Eagles organization. In 2029, he will be eligible to become a hall of famer and I am very certain he will be chosen. One of the best things about sports is finding your favorite player or favorite team to watch. And the great thing about Jason Kelce is that he is a lot like us. A passionate, hilarious, beer slugging mountain of a man that I’m sure one of us could relate to at one point in our life. The Eagles and the NFL will be sad to start an NFL season without him, but I’m certain he’s got great things just on the horizon. I’m sure the next time you look up at your TV you’ll see him with his own sports show, commentating NFL games or continuing to push out more hilarious podcasts. From me and the city of Philadelphia, thank you, Jason. 

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About the Contributor
Josh Scarpello
Josh Scarpello, Writer
Hi, I'm Josh Scarpello, and I am a sports and opinion writer for The Abingtonian. In my free time, I play basketball for the school and love to play golf with my Dad. For The Abingtonian, I am excited to give updates on anything Philly sports, happenings in the sports world and some of my bold opinions. I'm excited to write for The Abingtonian in my last two and a half years of high school.

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    LindaApr 5, 2024 at 8:07 am

    Terrific article for all Philadelphians- excellent writing