Jason Kelce Just Achieved The Greatest Success Of His Career And It Happened Off The Football Field

Jason Kelce didn't need football to achieve greatness.

Jason Kelce courtesy of Prime Video / Canva Pro

After 13 years playing for the Philadelphia Eagles, Jason Kelce announced his retirement in a press conference that caught the world’s attention, both for the stories he told and how he told them.

Jason wove a narrative that was about so much more than football. He talked about the deep bond between him and his brother, Travis. He talked about the loving support his parents, Donna and Ed, provided. He gushed over his wife’s presence in his life, sharing that all his professional successes are rooted in their relationship. 


Jason is being celebrated for his role in professional football, yet it was the way he showed his emotions during the announcement of his retirement that made him an icon.

Jason Kelce achieved the greatest success of his career — and it happened off the field.

The 36-year-old offensive lineman has won accolades and awards for how he played the game, but he’s going to be remembered for so much more than his athletic talent. Often regaled as one of the best centers to grace the football field, his story is deeper than that and so is his legacy.

In fact, he's so enigmatic and layered, that Amazon produced a feature-length documentary on his career and life simply titled, "Kelce."


RELATED: Whatever Ed & Donna Kelce Did To Help Their Sons Become Emotionally Available Should Be Studied

More recently, however, he publicly announced his retirement in a press conference that held greater meaning than sports fans could anticipate. He sat on a stage in front of millions of viewers and wept openly, mourning the end of a defining career, marking a moment where his life will be forever changed.

Jason Kelce showed that openly sharing your emotions is a sign of strength, not weakness; of confidence, not insecurity. 




With one press conference, he proved that vulnerability is the strongest, bravest trait we can have.

Jason didn’t hesitate to share his sorrow with the world. He did what so many of us, and so many men and boys, in particular, struggle to do: He mourned what he was losing while acknowledging everything he still has.

He touched on the ways his success comes from the love of those around him — his wife Kylie, his brother Travis, and his mom and dad. He recognized the value of family in buoying his success, and the importance of both having and being a supportive parent.

“I am a product of my upbringing,” he said. “I think one of the best things a person can be in this world is a father. A father who is present, loving, devoted, just might be the greatest gift a child could ask for in our society.”


The act of showing his emotions not only makes Jason a great role model, it makes him a great parent to his daughters. He’s openly modeling what it means to be vulnerable and the power that comes with accessing those harder parts of our emotional landscapes. 

In post-game footage after the Chief’s Super Bowl win, Jason was seen embracing his younger brother and telling him how much he loved him. 



RELATED: College Football Players Are Asked What Birth Year Makes Someone 'Officially Old' & Ouch — It's Way Younger Than Expected


The open expression of affection between two men is sadly not as commonplace as it should be. Yet giving men and boys the permission and space to share their emotions, both good and bad, is a necessary part of undoing toxic masculinity.

On their podcast "New Heights," Travis told Jason how his career and retirement have impacted him, as both a football player and as a family man.



“You’ve always been a step ahead of me in this game,” Travis said. “It’s always been like I’ve had that flotation device right there. To have you out of it, man, it feels empty. It feels like it's complete.”


As Travis teared up, Jason told him, “I hear you,” which is the kindest, most supportive phrase anyone can say to someone deep in their emotions. “I just appreciate you showing me the way and bringing us all along the journey with you,” Travis continued. 

“We showed each other the way,” Jason responded, exhibiting his profound humility and compassion.

The example that Jason and Travis Kelce have set for boys cannot be understated. Together, they’re shifting expectations of what it means to be a man.

They not only access their emotions, they share them openly, on a very public stage. They’re appreciative and accountable, to themselves and others. 

We live in a society where boys are taught to hide those parts of themselves to be “real men.”  By crying so openly, so fully, Jason offered himself up as the best kind of role model: one who isn’t afraid to show his full self.


RELATED: Travis Kelce Yelling At His Boss Is Not A Sign Of 'Passion' — In A 'Normal' Job He Would Have Been Fired

YourTango CEO Andrea Miller offered her perspective on the ripple effect of Jason’s speech, saying, “When I think of how the loneliness epidemic has impacted boys and men disproportionately, I think of the utter disconnection among so many of them that leaves them lonely, angry, [and] hurt… Jason just gave men and boys permission to show themselves.”

Miller spoke with a very special guest, her 14-year-old son, Nicholas, about Jason’s status as a role model and what his speech meant.



“He’s one of the all-time greats,” Nicholas said. “He’s brought so much to the league. I’m sad to see him go, but I’m excited to see the next chapter in his life.”


Miller asked her son if he was surprised to see Jason’s display of emotion, and Nicholas responded, “No, it’s just Jason being Jason.”

Nicholas’s matter-of-fact answer highlights the impact of someone who looks like Jason Kelce crying: To take it as normal, as just him being himself, is a huge shift in how most boys and men see themselves reflected. 

“Do you feel, maybe, different about being more emotional?” Miller asked her son, who answered, “No, not particularly… But I think sometimes it’s okay to be emotional and when you’re going through such an important part of your life and such a disappointing part of your life, where you have to retire from the game you’ve played all your life, it’s gonna be tricky, and emotion’s okay.” 


Miller noted, “There was so much in that speech that came back to what matters most in life,” and she’s right. His speech was about more than just retiring. It was about appreciating where he came from and recognizing how the relationships he treasures have made him the man he is.

Jason’s influence is so much greater than the game he played. By being his truest self, he’s allowing boys around the world to just be themselves, too.

RELATED: Travis Kelce Calls Out His Own Brother For How He Treats His Wife — And Is Applauded For It

Alexandra Blogier is a writer on YourTango's news and entertainment team. She covers celebrity gossip, pop culture analysis and all things to do with the entertainment industry.