With the Eagles only one game away from a Super Bowl appearance, it’s easy for imaginations to run wild. We all know how much it would mean to the City, but how special would it be for Jason Kelce to potentially end his career in the most beautiful way imaginable?
New heights, same goals
The Philadelphia Eagles are just one game away from making their second Super Bowl in five years. A lot has changed in that timespan. A once-franchise quarterback was traded away after a cataclysmic downfall, a whole coaching staff was exiled with a few exceptions, and a rapid rebuild wrapped its arms around the City of Brotherly Love. As always, one constant remained – Jason Kelce.
People have hypothesized for a few years now that Jason Kelce could be nearing the end of what has been a phenomenal career. But a few months ago, he sat down with his brother Travis to record an episode of their new hit podcast, ‘New Heights’, and hesitantly admitted that his body is struggling to keep up with the rigors of an NFL season.
“If I’m being honest my body is starting to fall apart. This is my 12th year, I couldn’t even do training camp this year. I got surgery at the beginning of it.”
Jason Kelce is a once in a lifetime talent
Kelce’s relentless motor continues to fire at such a veteran age and it’s astounding. His production just does not fall off and he somehow looks more athletic every year. Not too long ago, he was named first-team All-Pro for the fifth time since his NFL debut. Stunningly, the 34-year-old has not allowed a single quarterback hit since week 12 of the 2020 season. He’s surrendered only one sack in his last two seasons, per NBC Sports, and his PFF grade of 88.5 was the second-highest mark of his career.
The Cincinnati product is now the fourth-longest-tenured Eagle in franchise history and officially the longest-tenured center, having surpassed Chuck Bednarik earlier this year. It’s not just how incredible Jason Kelce is on the field that makes him so adored by this fanbase, but everything he does away from it.
How Kelce became the heart and soul of Philadelphia
For many, the Super Bowl 52 Championship parade is an unforgettable moment. While some teams simply ride an open-top bus through the City, thank their fans and call it a day, the City of Brotherly Love rallied in their thousands to listen to this team after such a remarkable feat. Jason Kelce, dressed in a classic Mummers parade outfit, embodied everything that makes Philadelphia so special on that day. His iconic suit, and emotional speech about how everyone overlooked that team, will still give the majority of Eagles fans goosebumps as they recall the passion and fire that fueled a 2017 group of underdogs to the grandest accomplishment of all.
That’s just who Jason Kelce is. From the second he was drafted, he embraced this City and never looked back. He fell head over heels and wore his heart on his sleeve, withstanding every coaching change, schematic transition, and speculative offseason imaginable. He became the foundation of this team. Regardless of it the Eagles were contending in the playoffs or simply just trying to weather a storm, Jason Kelce was the glue keeping them all together.
That fire has never left him and it’s why Howie Roseman made him the highest-paid center in all of Football this offseason. Jason Kelce returned for what many presume to be one last rodeo, and he has a chance to end a truly generational career in a way that only he deserves – winning a second Super Bowl ring.
One last rodeo
We know his time on this team is short. The Eagles drafted Landon Dickerson in 2021 and Cam Jurgens in 2022. The future of that offensive front is ready to grow and Kelce will pass that torch on. But not before one final fight. Not before one last short at etching his name into the history books and bringing glory to Philadelphia one more time.
Not only that, but there is a chance that Jason will get to play in a Super Bowl against his brother Travis, the star TE of the Kansas City Chiefs. Not only would that make for one hell of a ‘New Heights’ episode, but the pride and adulation felt by the Kelce family and the fans who have stood behind the pair, watching them hone their craft and become the best in their position over the past decade, would be on a whole new level.
It’s not very often, especially in today’s NFL, that a player can transcend just about every team-related circumstance. Through his eye-popping athleticism on the field, his inspiring leadership qualities, and lovable personality, Jason Kelce has become the heartbeat of Philadelphia, and I think it’s safe to say there will be more than a handful of people who will want to see an Eagles Super Bowl win just so Jason Kelce can get another ring.
I don’t think anybody is ready for the day we have to say goodbye to Jason Kelce, whose selflessness, humour, and dedication to his teammates have made him a cultural hero. But everybody will be ready and waiting to yell at the top of their lungs in pride and gratitude if he can stand outside the Philadelphia Museum of Art one more time, addressing Eagles fans as a two-time Super Bowl champion.
Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire