The Eagles Offensive Line: Just hanging with the boys

PHILADELPHIA, PA – NOVEMBER 07: Philadelphia Eagles center Jason Kelce (62) looks on during the game between the Los Angeles Chargers and the Philadelphia Eagles on November 7, 2021 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, PA. (Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire)

When NFL analysts scrutinize Super Bowl matchups this week, they’ll undoubtedly break down the advantage for the Philadelphia Eagles against the Kansas City Chiefs in the trenches. You’ll hear the phrase “the best offensive line in football” over and over leading up to Sunday.

They’re not only (arguably) the best, but they’re also the most fun and likable too. Long-time offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland leads a group of men’s men.

“We’re a unit. Coach Stout says it’s five-wheel drive. We’re all one unit. We all work together. We’re like a machine. Gears mesh together. All of us has to be going at the same pace,” Landon Dickerson said during his rookie season in 2021.

The boys bring the beef and the attitude that lands with a Philadelphia fan base that has celebrated the tough guys for generations, and their relatable attitude makes them one of the most fun storylines heading into a week of media frenzy.

Jason Kelce: The Glue

Let’s be honest. The “hanging with the boys” attitude starts and ends with Jason Kelce. The 12-year veteran has displayed one of the most eccentric personalities in Philadelphia sports history. The same man who dressed in a Mummers costume for an unforgettable Super Bowl speech just finished his fifth All-Pro season in six tries.

Through the countless replays of the Super Bowl speech and the seemingly regular media content with Kelce enjoying some cold beers, fans might not think as much about the trajectory of his career. The former Cincinnati Bearcat became a sixth-round draft pick taken by Andy Reid in 2011. He stormed into the league and earned a starting position that looked like it was set in stone with Jamaal Jackson.

He became the mouthpiece for Chip Kelly from 2013-2015 but fell into uncertainty after the unceremonious downfall of his head coach in Philadelphia. His worst year as a pro came in 2016 when the Eagles transitioned to Doug Pederson, and conversations swirled about how Kelce’s best years had passed him by.

All he did in response was climb the ranks as one of the best players in franchise history.

You can find Kelce in Sea Isle every summer with an approachable demeanor taking pictures with his fans. The cold beers in his hand for most of these pictures only help his public image as the common man and one of the most relatable athletes in professional sports.

Kelce never hesitates to fire up the Philadelphia crowd, and he stayed true to his attitude on his podcast with a shout-out to the fans at Lincoln Financial Field during the two playoff games.

“You want to talk about an animosity-filled stadium that is going to be loud and, in your words, electric. the Philadelphia fans are bringing it. It is a hostile environment for any opposing team or fan, as… Joey Bosa easily found out. The Santa Clara 49ers found out the hard way that Philadelphia is a rough city. You can’t create an app over there in Silicon Valley to quiet the Eagles fans. They’re going to be loud and proud.”

Jeff Stoutland University

The most celebrated position coach in the NFL helped an Australian Rugby player who knew nothing about the sport of football turn into an intimidating force of an offensive tackle, and the story somehow gets undersold.

Jordan Mailata put an excellent spin on the Sunday Night Football tradition of players shouting out their colleges before a matchup against the Green Bay Packers in Week 12. The 6-foot-8 mammoth poked fun at the fact that he never played an NCAA game.

“Jeff Stoutland University” became an instant hit in Philadelphia when the daunting offensive line pushed the helpless Packers all over the field for 363 yards on the ground.

The Linc crowd goes wild for a “meat and potatoes” performance from a dominant rushing attack, regardless of how much of a sports radio caller cliché it might be. The publicity unlocked the chance for Stoutland University t-shirts to become a big seller in the organization’s initiatives to raise money for Autism research, and it did justice to the love the boys have for their position coach.

Admiration for Lane Johnson

A healthy Lane Johnson is the best player at his position on the loaded Philadelphia Eagles roster, and the team naturally missed him during a three-game absence in 2021. Nick Sirianni and other members of the organization and the local media granted him proper privacy.

When Johnson returned, he candidly spoke about his struggle with mental health issues. The authenticity came just four years after his long-time teammate Brandon Brooks opened up about comparable experiences.

The vast majority of the fan base accepted Johnson’s authenticity without hesitation, and they got their moment to celebrate the triumphant return in Week 16 against the New York Giants.

The thought that Johnson shouldn’t earn a Pro Bowl bid as a key anchor of an offensive line that set up a record-breaking running game was ludicrous, but the snub set up Sirianni to give an emotional reward to an all-time Eagles legend.

He caught his only career pass for a touchdown on the “East Texas” connection from Jalen Hurts. The spirited celebration led Mailata to bust some chops as if he was one of the boys watching a game from his living room.

He appropriately called it “half ballroom dancing, half making it up on the spot, half Lincoln (Financial) Field Leap.”

Lane Johnson joined in on the lighthearted mocking around the boys this Halloween just a few weeks after Jason Kelce dropped a man’s man line in typical fashion.

“I don’t like to play dress up. I like to play football,” Kelce said.

Johnson took the comment and ran with it, mocking his friend with an Ocean Drive t-shirt and a terrible fake haircut.

The Antics of the Boys

The bromance between Jordan Mailata and Landon Dickerson hasn’t made the headlines as much this season. A friend who hasn’t played football for very long might need help with his pads, and Dickerson kindly helped his boy out when he needed it throughout the 2021 season.

You might think the former NCAA National Champion showed a non-threatening innocence, but he sure doesn’t lack the hard-nosed attitude that Philadelphians have fallen in love with.

“There’s no better feeling than imposing your will on somebody and forcing a man from point A to point B against whatever he wants to do. So, it’s just kind of what we live for,” Dickerson told Mike Quick.

Isaac Seumalo is the reserved one of the bunch who’s quietly having an excellent season. The Eagles can run left. The Eagles can run right. They can protect the quarterback too, and it’s all because of a five-man unit that includes a player who personally prefers to stay out of the spotlight. The boys need a quieter one to balance out the antics sometimes.

Who could forget an NFL offensive line releasing a Christmas album? They don’t exactly give off the vibes of Mariah Carey singing “All I Want For Christmas Is You,” but Mailata’s incredible voice saved the day in a hilarious side job.

Fly, Eagles, Fly

Hanging with the boys might not give the offensive linemen an edge against the Chiefs. Their talent sure does though, and fans deserve to enjoy fun Super Bowl storylines. 

Consume hours and hours of Super Bowl coverage this week. Enjoy the fact that the Philadelphia Eagles have won the NFC for the second time in six seasons after winning it only twice in over a half-century after the Super Bowl era began.