One of the best-kept secrets in the world of football has nothing to do with offensive or defensive tactics. It has nothing to do with personnel acquisition through free agency or the NFL Draft.
No, it’s that out of all position groups in the sport, offensive linemen often have bigger personalities than defensive backs or wide receivers. The difference is that offensive linemen conceal it due to the nature of their job. Jason Kelce and the Philadelphia Eagles offensive line turn that trend on its head.
It all began on Feb. 8, 2018, after the Philadelphia Eagles defeated the New England Patriots 41-33. Jason Kelce showed up to the Super Bowl Parade in a Mummers Parade costume before treating everyone to arguably the most memorable, passionate, and expletive-filled speech we’ve ever gotten surrounding a sports event. He was already on track to be a Hall of Fame center, but that speech made him a legend.
The Eagles Offensive Line is Different
The Eagles’ offensive line is one of the most dominant units we’ve seen since the turn of the century. There have been a few more commanding rushing attacks throughout the years. Still, few have paired that rushing dominance while also allowing the outrageous pockets Jalen Hurts gets to operate from so often.
And they’ve done it all very loudly. From Jordan Mailata to Lane Johnson, there is but one offensive lineman in the group that has spurned superstardom.
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Isaac Seamulo is the only quiet blocker in the group. He’s one of the blockers that only speaks when there’s something incredibly important to speak on, and the group listens intently when he speaks.
But that’s it. Each of the rest of the crew has a huge personality. Yet none is more abundantly clear than Kelce.
Jason Kelce, The Ring Leader
Kelce played a role in a reality TV show starring his brother, future Hall of Fame TE Travis, who he’ll be playing in the Super Bowl, called Catching Kelce back in 2016. Then there was the speech. Now, he and his brother co-host the most popular sports podcast on Apple, and Kelce teamed up with Mailata and Johnson to release a Christmas album. Not only did it not suck, but it was legitimately good.
Kelce has some absolute pipes, proving further how unfair the Kelce gene pool really is. Sure, the Watts can rush the passer, and the Mannings are funny. But they’re not cool. The Kelces are all those things while being genuinely cool individuals and a dynamic duo alongside one another.
Oh, and at a well-seasoned 35-year-old, Kelce hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down on the field, much to the chagrin of his divisional rivals. He’s special. But he’s not the best offensive lineman on his unit.
Lane Johnson, The Freak
If there was a comedic relief in A Philly Special Christmas, it was Johnson’s rendition of “White Christmas.” He went high, higher, and highest with his voice, and it may not have been built for that level of play. But he was a welcome addition to both tracks five and seven of the album, along with his deeper tone in Blue Christmas.
Johnson was in a negative spotlight oftentimes early in his career due to positive PED tests that resulted in four and 10-game suspensions in 2014 and 2016, respectively. And at times, he’s struggled with his health, both physically and mentally. His anxiety and withdrawal from prescribed anti-depressant medication ended in a three-game leave of absence during the Eagles’ 2021 season. Johnson came close to never playing football again.
The Eagles had worked with mental health issues in the past with Brandon Brooks, who retired after 2021 while still playing at a high level when healthy. They handled it well again, giving Johnson the space he needed, along with any support as well.
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Upon returning, he was still the quick-witted funny man the locker room knew and loved, but he also became an even more significant leader, especially with regard to mental health. The Oklahoma product played the 2022 season healthy and as arguably the most dominant player in the league not named Patrick Mahomes.
His insane attention to detail, paired with good physical and mental health, created a monster in his outrageously athletic and powerful frame.
And with a groin injury that will require offseason surgery, he made the league’s likely Defensive Player of the Year look mortal in the NFC Championship Game.
Jordan Mailata, The Masked Singer
As someone who does not watch The Masked Singer, my first introduction to Mailata’s vocal cords was the Eagles’ holiday album. And holy crap, Mailata can sing! We’re not talking about someone who is good at singing for a professional athlete like Kelce. No, we’re talking about someone who could survive off their voice if need be. The 25-year-old Aussie can play the strings and belt quite a tune.
It’s incredibly rare to see offensive linemen seek the spotlight the way the Eagles’ blockers have. The fact that they’re able to back it up on the field only cements their legacy.
Landon Dickerson, The Personality
Landon Dickerson is the youngest of the group, but he certainly isn’t reserved, even around All-Pro veterans. Dickerson’s personality has been evident dating back to his time at Alabama, something we rarely see from Crimson Tide players under Nick Saban.
Dickerson became famous for video-bombing cartwheels, posting workout videos in overalls, and having a railroad tie as a rear bumper. He’s got a massive personality to match his large frame, and it’s part of the reason why Philadelphia drafted him despite his extensive injury history. That big personality was always going to gel perfectly with the group, and it did as Dickerson slid into the starting left guard role.
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But he’s not just the funny guy, either. He couldn’t even participate in the Senior Bowl because of an injury, but he still was one of the main focuses of the week in Mobile during the predraft process in 2021.
His personality obviously shined throughout a week containing an unbelievable number of interviews, but it was his help on the field with the offensive linemen that caught everyone’s attention most.
The Eagles’ Anomaly
We’ll probably never see a team like these Philadelphia Eagles ever again. Their defensive front sacked opposing QBs 70 times, which was two shy of the record.
Their QB won a National Championship at Alabama and was a Heisman Trophy runner-up. A.J. Brown is a superstar receiver that Howie Roseman traded a first-round pick for during the offseason. They have one of the league’s premier trash talkers at safety and a cornerback who refers to himself as “Big Play Slay.”
And yet, it’s their offensive line that steals the show. It’s proof that there are unbelievable personalities at the position, and local beats need to start looking for them.