Jason Kelce further cemented his place as an all-time Philadelphia hero Friday night at Citizens Bank Park.
The Eagles center, who has now made 128 consecutive starts for the Birds, was there to hype the crowd before NLCS Game 3. Wearing a Phillies jersey over jeans, Kelce ran out of the tunnel to join the Phillie Phanatic on the field.
Before he bumped bellies with the Galapagos bird mascot, Kelce fist-bumped with another character — to whom he has a key connection.
The person in the glittery green of an Avalon String Band Mummer wasn’t just wearing any costume. They were outfitted in the sequin-and-feather ensemble Kelce donned during the 2018 Super Bowl Parade and his now-infamous victory speech at the Art Museum steps.
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After that hat-tip to past Philadelphia sports glory, Kelce and the Phanatic grabbed one another in a massive bear hug, and jumped up and down with pure joy. Arms wrapped around each other, bouncing in tandem, release puffs of unabashed love into the air every time their feet hit the ground.
After they separated, Kelce took a knee, whipped out a beer, tipped back his head, and drained the whole thing before rallying the fans to a deafening roar.
He then carefully picked up the empty can and headed back inside, but not before stopping to sign at least one autograph and slap hands with dozens of eager kids hanging over the railing.
The Eagles are the only remaining undefeated NFL team, and Kelce’s positive energy is a big part of that record. After he joked he should be called “Fat Batman” to go along with the wide receiver trio of “Swole Batman,” “Fast Batman,” and “Skinny Batman,” teammates said instead he should be known as “Sexy Batman.”
On field at the ballpark, Kelce brought that vibe. It was like he gathered up all the positive energy that had been pulsing through the city, from hundreds showing up at the city’s noon pep rally at MSB to pedestrians rocking out when “Dancing on My Own” plays in Rittenhouse Square twice a day.
This is what Philadelphia lives for, the kind of feeling everyone can get into — even if, as Inquirer culture reporter Stephanie Farr noted, you don’t like sports.
Whether it’s police sending notes to businesses at Frankford and Cottman in advance of a potential madhouse celebration, or officials placing fences in front of City Hall and on Broad Street median in preparation for the same, every part of the city is ready to explode.
To the delight of all Fightins fans watching in person and on TV, the vibe carried through nine innings as the Phillies pulled out a hard-fought win to go 2-1 on the best of seven series. The next two games are also played at home, and the energy is going to be electric.
As Jason Kelce and many, many others have said, go Phils.