NFL fans either love or hate the Philadelphia Eagles.
But when it comes to Jason Kelce, there’s no in-between.
Party-loving older brother Kelce dominated coverage of the NFL playoffs and Super Bowl, despite the Eagles getting blown out in a Wild Card game early in the postseason.
By the time Travis Kelce and the Kansas City Chiefs beat the San Francisco 49ers 25-22 in an overtime thriller at Allegiant Stadium, Jason was an Internet sensation.
Then he went even bigger on social media by wearing a red and yellow jumpsuit while DJing and partying in a mask, while Taylor Swift and Travis continued their blossoming romance.
Jason is truly a man of the people and has embraced the attention that now follows the Kelce brothers everywhere.
Since entering the league in 2011 as a sixth-round pick by Cincinnati, the seven-time Pro Bowler has become universally beloved in the football world and is expected to eventually enter the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
“You know what an underdog is? He’s a hungry dog,” Jason said, in a quote from the Super Bowl parade that perfectly sums up his career.
The sight of a visibly emotional Jason crying on the sidelines after Philadelphia’s painful loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers also touched NFL fans, who watched a well-respected 13-year veteran realize in real time that he could have played his last professional match.
Jason told his teammates in the locker room after the season-ending loss that he was retiring, according to ESPN.
Jason has considered retirement for the past few seasons and speculation has been growing that the 2023 campaign could be his last.
But as of Jan. 13, Jason was still an NFL player, while his brother Travis was part of a dynasty with the Super Bowl champion Chiefs.
“A Hall of Famer and I’m sure Jason Kelce would do well in a (television) pre-game show,” one fan tweeted.
While Travis is the wildly famous Chiefs tight end who hosts Saturday Night Live and dates an international pop music superstar, the older Jason brought a working-class vibe to the blue-collar Eagles and his worldwide fame.
Jason is down to earth, discreet, funny and very approachable.
He wears flip-flops before NFL games while many players treat locker room entrances like a Parisian fashion show.
He also wears crazy costumes and hilarious masks, embracing Philadelphia culture and the city-versus-the-world vibe.
Jason also embraced his role as a father and husband, with the 6-foot-3, 295-pound offensive lineman letting the world know how much his family meant to him.
“Being a father is by far the greatest moment of my life, there’s no doubt about it,” Jason told People.
Then there’s Jason’s undeniable power and leadership on the football field.
Despite not being selected until the penultimate round of the draft, the Ohio native became one of the greatest offensive linemen of his era.
Jason started 193 games, made six All Pro teams and was the center of the Tush Push, a play so successful that many NFL teams lobbied for a league ban.
Add in a popular podcast with Travis and Jason’s support of the Phillies during their recent run to the MLB playoffs, and there’s no doubt that a sixth-rounder from Cincy has become one of the most successful linemen most popular games in NFL history.
Some fans loved watching the Eagles flop throughout the 2023 season and enjoyed Philadelphia being knocked out of the playoffs by Tampa Bay.
But Jason’s contributions to the NFL on and off the field were immediately praised when news of his potential retirement broke.
He’s real, true to himself and refreshingly unique.
He’s also willing to party without his shirt on — or party with a mask while hanging out with Swift — which makes him impossible to ignore and easy to root for.
“Hungry dogs run faster,” Jason shouted after the Eagles won it all, beating Tom Brady, Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots.
“Jason Kelce’s future looks way beyond football,” a third fan posted. “Transcendent player, I can see him becoming a United States Senator. He would galvanize communities – he is intelligent, thoughtful, with a great moral compass. Thank you Jason Kelce for 13 years of excellence with the Eagles.”