Jason Kelce is a player who will go down in history with the likes of Brian Dawkins, Randall Cunningham and Reggie White as one of the most legendary Philadelphia Eagles. If his performance on the field did not already, his speech at the 2018 Super Bowl LII parade solidified his legacy.
“Kelce,” the new Prime Video documentary on the Birds’ very own “Sexy Batman,” is an emotional, often sobering look at the center’s twelfth season as he considers retirement along the road to Super Bowl LVII, where the Philadelphia Eagles ultimately lost to the Kansas City Chiefs, where Jason’s own brother Travis plays tight end.
“Kelce” captures the entire wave of emotions that comes with being a Philadelphia Eagles fan. Not just the triumphant montage of the Eagles’ winning streak in the 2022 season, set to the Eagles’ own rendition of “Santa Claus is Comin’ To Town” from their album “A Philly Special Christmas,” but also the heartbreak from the Super Bowl loss and the little things like Jason’s wife Kylie expressing “Can’t we have one f—-ing game where we just, like, cruise?” as the Eagles struggled against the Detroit Lions in the season opener.
Jason’s warmth is in every frame of the film- he truly embodies the spirit of Philly, warts and all. He has always been a larger-than-life figure, with his spirit and passion being visible all the way from section 244, where my own family has held season tickets for almost thirty years. Seeing him humanized in such a way is incredibly inspiring and emotional in unexpected ways. In one scene, his wife Kylie expresses her hope that by the time he retires, he’ll still be able to get down on the floor and play with their kids. Jason vents at one point about his fear of CTE and not being able to speak to his grandkids. The NFL typically shies away from showing the physical toll of football in the media, so seeing it here is refreshingly honest, albeit harrowing.
One thing I truly did love was Kylie’s role in the film as a whole. She was nine months pregnant during Super Bowl LVII, and the documentary showcases how hard the season was on her, but ultimately Jason and Kylie do right by themselves and by one another. Their love is passionate, honest and one of the best things this documentary has to offer.
Seeing the actual Super Bowl be portrayed was, admittedly, difficult to watch. It was a very emotional game on its own, but with the context provided by this documentary, combined with a shot of Jason realizing that the Eagles were about to lose made it that much more heartbreaking. Seeing him cry on his mother’s shoulder and walk away in solitude as his brother celebrates the Chiefs’ win felt like watching the opening of “Up” while being smacked in the ribs with a hammer.
But Jason’s loving nature still shines through, as he plays with his daughters in their hotel room while Kylie quietly cries to herself. Jason ponders his own future with the sport, where retirement seemed obvious before, he can not help but feel he has unfinished business. But between his age, his injuries and his responsibilities to his family, he has to decide whether or not to tackle that unfinished business.
The film ends on perhaps a more beautiful and tender moment than what would have happened if the Eagles had won, so perhaps that is the silver lining.
“Kelce” is a love letter to a legend, a city and a triumphant if ultimately heartbreaking season of football. Even if you are not a fan of the Eagles (which inherently makes your opinion invalid, but I digress) it is a fantastic watch for fans of football, film and charming, hairy fat dudes. (Signed, the Montclarion’s resident Eagles-loving, charming, hairy fat dude).