Jason Kelce

It's time to replace Rocky with a Jason Kelce statue

He's a World Champion, he's one of the best of all time, and he's a real person.

NBC Universal, Inc.

Sports fans throw the term immortal around quite a bit, but immortality is reserved for those whose accomplishments will live on far after they’ve completed their work, and even after they’re gone from this world.

Many historical and sports figures are immortalized around the greater Philadelphia area by statues. A larger-than-life Allen Iverson will be dedicated next month at the Sixers’ facility in Camden, New Jersey. A bronze Doug Pederson and Nick Foles stands outside the Linc. The Phillies celebrate Mike Schmidt, Steve Carlton, and Robin Roberts with statues outside Citizens Bank Park.

Among the monuments of sports heroes that dot the area, there is a statue at the Art Museum of a fictional sports hero, Rocky Balboa. It was the site for one of the iconic scenes from the movie franchise. He was the title character of a series of movies that showed that grit, determination, will and hard work can drive you to be the best in the world at your chosen craft.

In all, there are about 1,500 statues in Philadelphia, depicting everything from William Penn atop City Hall to Rocky. It’s time for a minor shake up of the roster.

Jason Kelce is one of the best centers to ever play the game of football. Even staunch historians couldn’t rank him outside the top three. He will be voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame faster than Kelce can take out a second-level defender.

Kelce is great, but where he became immortal was atop the steps of the Art Museum at the conclusion of the Eagles Super Bowl Championship parade six years ago. The man was dressed in a full Mummer costume. Fueled by his decades-long journey, tens of thousands of fans, and several adult beverages, Kelce delivered a five-and-a-half speech that no one who saw it will ever forget.

He described the journey to the top. He said that this was a team accomplishment, and made sure everyone knew the role all the naysayers played in fueling he and his teammates along the way.

This man helped deliver the first Super Bowl to the city, then delivered a passionate, cathartic oration that was just as memorable as any play from the game, shy of the Philly Special.

The definition of immortality.

Like Rocky, Kelce isn’t the most athletically gifted person. He wasn’t highly drafted, there were so lofty expectations for his professional career. Kelce made himself what he was, much like the fictional heavyweight champ: hard work, determination, sheer will. Rocky had his wife Adrian telling him “you can’t win,” and in the same vein, Kelce used his haters as fuel.

The difference? Jason Kelce is a real person, flesh and blood. Rocky is not real.

It’s time the city stopped lionizing a fictional character, and truly embrace the real thing when it’s right in front of you.

Kelce’s story is arguably more inspirational, more Philadelphian than Rocky’s, because this city prides itself on being unapologetically real.

To have a statue of Kelce – in the Mummers gear, of course – at the Art Museum instead of Rocky would immortalize one of the realest sports moments this city will ever see.

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