Four days have passed, and it still seems everyone in Philadelphia wants to talk about the passionately profane speech delivered by Jason Kelce during the Eagles Super Bowl parade last Thursday.
Kelce, who was dressed head-to-toe in Mummers gear, lit up the crowd with a wrestling-style rant about Philadelphia’s status as an underdog and the hunger he and his teammates had for bringing home a Lombardi Trophy to a city and a fan base that “have been starved” of a championship for 58 years.
Despite being used to playing in front of tens of thousands of fans, Kelce revealed on 93.3 WMMR’s The Preston and Steve Show that it was a bit imposing stepping up to the microphone to speak to a massive parade crowd (estimated at 700,000, though not everyone agrees about that). But it wasn’t the crowd size that worried Kelce — it was his speech’s colorful language.
“I thought the swearing might get some negative reaction,” Kelce said, especially after he saw the relatively tame speeches his teammates delivered before him.
Fortunately for Kelce, the FCC told Philly.com that not too many people complained about Kelce’s speech. That could be because most networks cut away or muted the sound when the Eagles center started tossing out profanity. Kelce also said he wasn’t sure how the front office, including owner Jeffrey Lurie, executive VP of football operations Howie Roseman and coach Doug Pederson, would react.
“I didn’t know how Howie or Doug or Jeffrey were going to take this, which was one of the things I looked at when I actually watched the [speech],” Kelce said. “After the speech, I’d been at the parade all day and wondered, ‘Did I say anything stupid? Did I do anything dumb?’ ”
Despite his steely confidence behind the podium, Kelce said he actually didn’t find out he would be speaking at the parade until the day before, giving him little time to practice.
“I don’t know if I was just excited for the parade or whatnot, but I was just lying there thinking about what I was going to say,” Kelce said. “The emotions of what the team’s gone through, what I’ve gone through, what all my teammates and coaches have gone throughout to get to this point… it culminated into that moment.”
Kelce certainly didn’t disappoint. During his impassioned speech, Kelce addressed the criticism the team has endured throughout the season, singling out former NFL general manager Mike Lombardi for questioning the team’s decision to hire head coach Doug Pederson.
“This past offseason, some clown named Mike Lombardi told him that he was the least-qualified head coach in the NFL,” Kelce exclaimed, pointing at Pederson. “You saw a driven Doug Pederson, a man who went for it on fourth down … in the Super Bowl … with a trick play,” Kelce shouted, pausing for emphasis. “He wasn’t playing just to go mediocre. He’s playing for a Super Bowl.” (Lombardi quickly apologized in a tweet after Kelce’s speech.)
Kelce also named just about every one of his teammates in a rapid-fire smackdown of the many doubters the Eagles had in the media during the season and into the playoffs — Stefen Wisniewski, Lane Johnson, Jay Ajayi and Nelson Agholor, just to name a few.
But he admits he left a couple names out.
“Chris Long was just a Super Bowl champion last year and … for some reason he wasn’t celebrated the way I think he should have,” Kelce said, saying the media dismissed him as a member of the defensive line earlier in the season.
Kelce also regretted not naming safety Malcolm Jenkins, whose outspokenness on civil rights and decision to raise his fist in the air during the national anthem drew criticism from many pundits and fans.
“I didn’t want to get political, but with Malcolm Jenkins and taking the knee, he was dismissed by a lot of people,” Kelce said.
Here’s Kelce’s speech (uncensored). Watch:
— SPORTSRADIO 94WIP (@SportsRadioWIP) February 8, 2018