8 can’t-miss moments of the Jason Kelce documentary

Even if you’re not a Philadelphia Eagles fan, odds are you like Jason Kelce — or you will after you watch the new Prime Video documentary bearing his name. Kelce chronicles the All-Pro center’s 2022-23 NFL season, which ended with him and his brother, equally charismatic Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce, becoming the first siblings to meet in the Super Bowl last February. But more than that, the film tells the story of a beloved underdog: A guy who didn’t receive a college scholarship, walked on to the University of Cincinnati football team with a Rudy Ruettiger work ethic, joined the Eagles in 2011 as a sixth-round draft pick, and eventually delivered a legendary speech at the parade celebrating their 2018 Super Bowl victory.

It was during the 2021-22 season, which Jason thought would be his last, when he first hooked up with local Philly documentarians Don Argott and Sheena M. Joyce. The plan was to explore what it’s like to transition out of a sport that has been your whole life, with Jason talking with athletes like Charles Barkley, who’d done it successfully, and others who’d struggled. But then Jason decided he wasn’t ready to say goodbye. Luckily, they opted to keep filming, hoping another storyline would present itself. “Sometimes the documentary gods get together and hand you a gift, and this was their gift,” Argott tells Yahoo Entertainment. “This film has everything: It’s got stakes. It’s got rivalry. It’s got love. It’s got a pregnant wife! If you wrote it down, you wouldn’t believe it.” Here are eight highlights, in chronological order.

1. Travis chokes up talking about their early days

Jason has said one his favorite scenes in Kelce is Travis helping him garden, which devolves into the kind of ball-busting banter — about Travis finally earning his degree in criminal justice from their alma mater — that has made their year-old podcast, New Heights, such a success. But to truly appreciate their relationship, and how meaningful it was for them to face-off in the “Kelce Bowl,” you need to hear their individual interviews about growing up playing on the same teams. Travis, who is two years younger, always wanted the chance to feel like it was him and his brother against the world.

In high school, Travis had to sit out Jason’s senior year because he failed French. Travis followed Jason to Cincinnati, where they shared some snaps; their father, Ed, maintains the “coolest photo” he’ll ever have of the boys is Travis scoring his first touchdown with Jason blocking for him. But again, Travis missed Jason’s final year after he got kicked off the team and lost his scholarship for failing a random drug test in the post-season (he smoked weed during a trip to the Sugar Bowl). Travis joked about that setback when he hosted Saturday Night Live earlier this year, but Ed remembers Travis being devastated at the time, worrying about everyone he let down and what his brother must think of him. “He could’ve killed me, but he was every bit of a mentor in those moments, man,” Travis says of Jason. “Along the way, there was some tough-brother s**t that I just had to hear. And I knew my brother had gone to the coaches and said, ‘If you give him a second chance, he won’t screw it up,’ and kinda put his word on the line.”

Travis Kelce looks back at growing up with brother Jason in the documentary Kelce. (Prime Video)

Travis Kelce tears up while looking back at growing up with brother Jason in Kelce. (Prime Video)

As a teary-eyed Travis continues, a clip is shown of spectator Jason embracing his brother on the field when Travis earned his first Super Bowl ring with the Chiefs three years ago. “So it was a very weird feeling for me when I won the Super Bowl in 2020,” he says. “Because that’s when it started to, like, really click for me. There’s a moment you don’t make ’em proud, and then when you do, it’s the best s**t ever. So I owe a lot, if not all of it, to the big bear. Without that big guy, man, I don’t know what I would be doing.”

Fans have seen the brothers express that level of admiration and emotion before on New Heights, but it remains endearing and disarming, even to Kelce director Argott. “I’m always surprised that people allow themselves to be vulnerable on camera,” he says. “And I have a lot of respect for that.”

2. Jason has a frank discussion about CTE

While the Eagles rack up wins in the 2022-23 season — and the podcast proves more promising than Jason’s attendance at a Beginning Graziers School at a Missouri cattle farm — he’s wondering again if this is his swan song. He can no longer play football without heavy anti-inflammatories, and his supportive wife, Kylie, would love for him to retire while he can still get down on the floor to play with their kids comfortably. Jason has a fireside chat with his former teammate Connor Barwin, now the Eagles’ director of player development (and an executive producer on Kelce), and addresses the “elephant in the NFL room”: Kelce knows what the amount of head shots he takes on a weekly basis could be doing to his body. “The way I’ve rationalized it to myself is, nobody’s guaranteed tomorrow. Nobody’s guaranteed years in advance,” Jason says. “We idolize living as long as possible and as healthy as possible — I don’t know that that’s necessarily the meaning of life. And if I get CTE, and I can’t interact with my grandkids, I would still say playing 12 years in the NFL, making my family super-prosperous, and being an influential member of at least the city of Philadelphia is a good tradeoff.”

For Argott, it’s one of the most moving moments in the movie: “When Jason says, like, ‘I know the risks, and if that means that I don’t know who my grandkids are when I’m 60, then it was all worth it’ — that gets me choked up just thinking about that commitment to ‘I get it. But this is my life, and this is how I’m going to live it, and you can’t take that away from someone.’”

3. Jason and his parents watch the AFC Championship game

You may recall seeing a clip of Jason and his parents at a Philly bar last January, reacting to the Chiefs clinching their spot in the Super Bowl and Jason promptly taking off the sweatshirt he’d been wearing in support of his brother. In Kelce, you get to experience nervous mother Donna, wearing her famous half-Chiefs/half-Eagles jersey, talking to the TV (“Come on, Pat. Get it in there, dude”), Jason’s jaw dropping when the ball slips out of Patrick Mahomes’s hand in the third quarter, the cheers when the unnecessary roughness call on the Cincinnati Bengals puts the Chiefs in field goal range in the final seconds, and the tears and chanting in the bar afterward.

Jason watches a game with his mom, Donna Kelce, sporting her famous half-and-half jersey. (Prime Video)

Jason watches brother Travis in the AFC Championship game with his mom, Donna Kelce, sporting her famous half-and-half jersey. (Prime Video)

“It was pretty tense,” Argott says of waiting to see if their dream Super Bowl scenario would become a reality. He zeroes in on a subtle moment, right after the winning kick. “Jason is in the center of the frame, and there’s all these people around freaking out, and it’s maybe something I read into a little bit, but you see he’s trying to process like 20 things at the same time. He doesn’t really know how to react. And, of course, he’s gonna get excited,” Argott says, “but in that moment, it’s like he’s going through it. I think it’s fascinating to look at.”

4. Jason speaks to his team the night before the Super Bowl

Fans who follow the Eagles’ in-house web series Unscripted have seen snippets of the team’s leaders giving motivational speeches on Super Bowl Eve. Kelce includes more of Jason’s emotional, expletive-packed contribution, which urges each man to remember how hard it was for him to get there — the injuries they’ve played through, running back Boston Scott not being much more than 5-foot-5 (pause for an eruption of laughter), and all the people who’ve doubted them along the way. Jason gets especially worked up thinking about critics dubbing Jalen Hurts a system quarterback and the way Hurts kept his chin up and answered them on the field.

Argott wasn’t allowed to film team meetings, which Jason preferred stay private, but Barwin told Argott they needed to get him that footage. “Connor was in the room [that night], and he was bawling,” Argott says. “Putting that scene together with the music [in the background], it’s the archetypical scene in every sports film. Hoosiers, the coach in the locker room. And this is real, and it’s honest, and it’s really, really powerful.”

5. Jason’s daughter informs him that he lost the Super Bowl

Everyone who watched the Kelce Bowl saw the tender moments Jason shared with Travis, and media darling Donna, on the field following the Chiefs’ 38-35 victory. But Argott, who had glued himself to 38-weeks pregnant Kylie for the weekend in case she went into labor, captured the aftermath cameras usually don’t: Jason reuniting with Kylie and their toddler daughters, Wyatt and Elliotte, at their hotel room. After the initial embraces, Jason lays quietly on the bed with the girls and lets out a small groan. “Daddy, daddy, are you OK?” Elliotte asks sweetly. “I’m OK,” he answers. Wyatt shows him the rainbow she drew for him. Later, she tells him she saw the confetti that fell at the stadium. “It was red confetti. That’s not good. We wanted green confetti,” Jason notes. Elliotte says she liked the yellow confetti. “That’s all right,” Jason says. “We’re happy for Uncle Trav.”

But kids say the darndest things. “You didn’t win,” Wyatt tells him, and he can’t help but chuckle. “Uncle Travvie winned.”

Jason Kelce's daughters have no problem laying down the law. (Prime Video)

Jason Kelce’s daughters have no problem laying down the law. (Prime Video)

Kylie asks Wyatt if that’s the outcome she wanted. “I didn’t want Uncle Travvie to win,” she says. Turns out, Wyatt had announced that on the bus after the game: “It really lightened the mood,” Kylie tells Jason.

The scene ends with Jason goading Wyatt into eating her booger and more giggling before he takes time on his own. He thinks about how Philadelphia must be feeling. He hopes that fans are proud of the way the team fought. He believes the team truly represents the city: “Being unapologetically yourself until the whole world has to accept how great you are, that’s a Philly thing, man,” he concludes.

Argott had been tailing the family for more than a year at that point, but he wasn’t sure how Jason would feel seeing the camera after the loss. He had Kylie ask Jason if he was cool with him filming. “It sucks in a way, because of course you want them to have their moment. They deserve that. But at the same time, if I miss that moment, then everybody kind of loses out. And to me, that scene is what the film is all about: He comes home and he gets to see his kids and it’s all about family,” Argott says. “Especially in a town as sports-obsessed as Philly, you get so wrapped up in the Eagles and the journey to get to the Super Bowl, and then to not win — you do need to put things into perspective. So of course everybody’s upset, but I hope the film is healing for the city. And I mean that, because I do think that we need something to make us feel like, ‘We had a long time to process that [loss]. And now we’re starting [the ride] all over again [with the 2023-24 season]. We need to close that chapter.’”

6. Jason and Kylie “fight” on their way to deliver daughter No. 3

Originally, Kylie was nervous about being interviewed for the documentary. But it wouldn’t exist without her openness discussing the ways Jason’s long, well-compensated football career impacts their family even now and the insights into their loving, chaotic, sitcom-like home life. “Their dynamic is gold,” Argott says of the couple who met on Tinder. “So much of Jason’s story is his family, so if you’re not showing that part, you’re really not showing the full picture.”

Hilarity ensues when they’re packing to go to the hospital for the late February arrival of baby Bennett, and Jason wants to bring a fan to make himself comfortable — a goal for which Kylie understandably has little empathy. So he changes tactics.

“Just think of how nice it’s gonna be when you get those stirrups off and you have a nice breeze goin’ right across your face,” he says.

“Jason, I swear to god, if I feel an ounce of f***in’ wind from that fan, at any point during labor, I will personally end you,” she responds, laughing.

“That will make the whole retirement decision easy,” he says.

Kylie made headlines when she posted a TikTok video of Jason being “a tremendous support” while she was in labor, napping in front of his fan and eating when she couldn’t. They both have a great sense of humor — clearly one secret to their five-year marriage. Kelce hits another emotional beat, showing the look of love and gratitude on Jason’s face when he watches Kylie hold Bennett in the hospital. It’s the same look he has later when he sees Travis use his ball-security skills to hold his new niece.

Travis (left) and Jason Kelce practice their parenting skills in Kelce. (Prime Video)

Travis holds newborn niece Bennett as proud dad Jason Kelce looks on. (Prime Video)

“I do think this film is going to cement people’s love for Jason,” Argott says. “Jason is everything that you hoped he would be and more. And to be around that kind of energy, I think, is really going to affect people, especially in the city where they’re gonna make a statue of this guy. Like, for real.”

7. Jason decides to return for the 2023-24 season

If the Eagles had won the Super Bowl, it might have been easier for Jason to make the choice between retiring or returning for a 13th year. But in March, when the Eagles needed to know whether they had an open spot on their roster, he’s still second-guessing himself. He went to bed thinking he’d decided to make another run for the Super Bowl, and woke up remembering how sore his body was and questioning whether he could get through another season physically or mentally. “Every logical thing is telling me I should stop playing football,” he says. Again, he knows the risks he’s taking, for a game. But for him, it’s about the feeling he gets fighting every day. To have to constantly prove your worth is hard, but it keeps you alive, he says, holding back tears. That’s what he’s afraid to be without. “I have no doubt I can be a loving father. I have no doubt that I can be successful. But where am I gonna get that?” he asks. “Where am I gonna be the best in the world at what I f***in’ do and not because of anything other than I go out there and earned it?” You’ll want to reach through the screen and hug him.

Jason Kelce on the field in Philadelphia in his eponymous documentary. (Prime Video)

Jason Kelce on the field in Philadelphia in his eponymous documentary. (Prime Video)

Argott has been making documentaries for 20 years, and it’s one of his favorite scenes he’s ever shot. “It’s so real, and honest, and raw,” the director says. “Within that moment, you start to see everything that it means to dedicate your life to something, that you try to be the best at, and then having to, at a certain point, walk away from it. For an athlete, they do have a shelf life, and Jason knows his time is coming to an end. But when all that stuff is at stake, how do you make that decision?”

8. Jason hunts for his Mummer’s costume

There’s a recurring theme in Kelce that Jason doesn’t always remember where he puts things. Early on, we see him looking for his 2018 Super Bowl ring to no avail as Kylie provides commentary: “He reads the defense very, very well, and calls protections very effectively.

“So he’ll go out there and see everything on a football field, but he cannot find his keys if they’re in his pockets.” (They did find the ring later, off-camera, in his glovebox, Argott reports.)

Philadelphia Eagles center Jason Kelce speaks at the conclusion of the NFL team's Super Bowl victory parade in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)

Philadelphia Eagles center Jason Kelce speaks at the conclusion of the NFL team’s Super Bowl victory parade in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)

But Jason’s most poignant search is for the Mummer’s costume he sported five years ago while giving that epic Super Bowl parade speech in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. That is also the one thing in the film that Argott admits he suggested. After Jason made his decision about this season, the director struggled with a way to end the film (he knew Jason reading Oh, the Places You’ll Go! to his toddlers was the way to open it the second he saw Jason doing it). He didn’t want to use an anticlimactic title card on screen that read, “Jason decided to play another year.”

“That’s not satisfying,” Argott says. “So I’m like, ‘Do you still have the Mummer’s outfit?’ He’s like, ‘Yeah, I think so. I think it’s in a garbage bag in my basement.’ I was like, ‘Keep it there! Can we come over one night and can you pull it out?’ So we ended up doing that. But he was legitimately looking for it. He didn’t know where it was in the basement. And that thing should be in a f***ing museum.”

After Jason gets one last to chance to wear it.

Kelce is now streaming on Prime Video.

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