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DJ Jazzy Jeff on Jalen Hurts: ‘The New Fresh Prince’

The famous Philly deejay on his love of all things Eagles, particularly their quarterback.

Jeffrey Allen Townes, better known as DJ Jazzy Jeff, is a producer, deejay and actor famous for a show that the Eagles have embraced en route to Super Bowl LVII. We’re talking, of course, the 1990s classic, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. He’s also a lifelong Philadelphia sports fan, who, in recent weeks, performed at the NFC championship game, put on an epic show at the Grammys to celebrate “50 years of hip hop,” and performed his signature Fresh Prince handshake with Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts—in a moment that went viral—and Nick Sirianni, in a moment that did not. We caught up with him this week to talk Eagles, Hurts, Fresh Prince and LVII.

ON THE GRAMMYS: “The Grammys were fun. The Eagles are better. [Laughs.] If we can get a win, then this will be the greatest week of my life.”

ON HIS PHILADELPHIA SPORTS FANDOM: “Listen, I've always been one of those people who knows you're supposed to root for your home team. You can have favorite players. But your home team should be your favorite team. The Eagles have always been my favorite team. Eagles, Sixers, Flyers, Phillies. We've had good years; we've had sucky years. You just kind of ride through it, and when you roll through the bad years, it makes the good years sweeter. I never rooted against the Eagles.”

ON AN OLD FRIEND HE CANNOT ROOT FOR ON SUNDAY: “I was joking with somebody this morning. I said, if the Eagles weren't in the Super Bowl, I would absolutely root for Andy Reid. Because Andy Reid is of that fraternity. I'm automatically going to route.”

ON PHILADELPHIA SPORTS FANS: “They're very passionate, extremely passionate. I've always said, if you have thick skin, and you come and play for any Philadelphia sports team, all they want you to do is try. In the sense of somebody like Ben Simmons, people in Philadelphia just didn't feel like he tried hard. No one expected him to make 10 3-pointers a game, just try. Like, if we know that you're trying, we’re gonna ride with you. The only time you’re going to have problems with Eagles fans is when they feel that you’re not trying. We get an unfair rap, because we will be hard on our own teams. But we will build our own team up if the team is doing what they're supposed to do. I would like somebody to be honest with me. That’s what makes us who we are right now.”

ON JALEN HURTS’S CONNECTION TO THE FAN BASE: “He doesn't get too high. He doesn't get too low. And people really appreciate that he came in and did the work. That was the thing that everybody saw. Like he came in and exceeded expectations. At first, they were skeptical all the way up into pretty much training camp. Jalen didn't complain. He didn't say anything. He was just like, Check me at the end of the year. And he showed them proof. So I think he has proven himself to the hometown fan base. Enough that it’s kind of like Hey man, Jalen is our guy. We're set as far as quarterbacks.”

ON HOW THE HANDSHAKE WITH HURTS CAME TO BE: “Oh, man. I got a chance to go to the Cowboys game. And I got a chance to go into the locker room and I met Coach Sirianni, who came up and said he was a huge fan of the show, which kind of blew my mind. Sirianni and I actually did the handshake.

“Here’s the thing: I don't do the handshake with anyone—I only do it with Will Smith—but I do what I feel compelled to do with my hometown teams. So, as soon as Jalen saw a deal, I was like, Oh, man, we got to do it. So as soon as Jalen saw me, on the field [before the NFC championship game], it was almost like, This is how we’re going to greet each other. And I didn't realize there was a camera guy, right behind me. Like we weren't trying to do that, for the camera. That was me and Jalen. And then next thing you know, I looked up and it was everywhere.”

Jalen Hurts smiles during an Eagles victory over the Packers

There's little doubt Hurts is now the face of the franchise in Philadelphia.

ON HURTS, A FAN OF 1990S AND EARLIER R&B AND SHOWS LIKE THE FRESH PRINCE, BEING AN OLD SOUL: “Oh, absolutely. You can see it in the way that he plays. Like Wow, you’re really like that? You're really that guy? It feels to me like he's been here for eight years.”

ON TWO BLACK QUARTERBACKS STARTING IN THE SUPER BOWL: “You can't push race or ethnicity on any type of accolades. It got to a point that, you know, there was a stereotype where, the best quarterbacks are white, the best wide receivers are black, the best running back, and it's kind of like, Man, it doesn't work like that. It's like, How's your work ethic? What's your skill level?

“Jalen and Pat are defusing that mentality. Because a lot of times people have [those ideas] and don't even know where they got it from. It was just what you were used to seeing. Right? You get somebody like Jalen or Patrick Mahomes. That starts to change the narrative. Like, Oh, my god. Like, These guys are incredible.

“That shouldn't even be a lead story [going into the Super Bowl]. It should just be: You got two of the best quarterbacks in the NFL going head-to-head. It was never a lead story when Peyton and Brady played. So it shouldn't be a lead story now.”

ON SUMMER OF SOUL, THE OSCAR-WINNING DOCUMENTARY ON THE HARLEM CULTURAL FESTIVAL: “I loved it. Love Questlove. That was organic, you know, to realize that this footage was locked in a basement for years. It’s kind of like, Wait a minute, somebody had this footage, and his footage was just sitting somewhere forever. He found it, and he pieced it all together.”

ON EAGLES OWNER JEFFREY LURIE’S EXECUTIVE PRODUCER ROLE ON IT. “Wait? Jeffrey Lurie was involved. Man! That makes me love Jeffrey Lurie even more!”

ON IF THERE’S A SONG HE’D CHOOSE THAT EMBODIES THE EAGLES’ SEASON: “I haven't come up with the soundtrack yet. I want to see the end of this movie. Then I can figure out the soundtrack, because I’ll know it. I don’t know if my soundtrack is going to be a sad story or a triumph. So I’m gonna wait until I see the end before I put out the score.”

ON THE LINEMEN’S CHRISTMAS ALBUM WITH SKILL PLAYER CAMEOS: “I loved it. First of all, Jordan Mailata, blown away by his voice. And I’ve always been a major fan of Jason Kelce. Jason Kelce embodies Philadelphia. Through and through, he’s been here. I was so excited to meet him and even more excited that he was a fan of mine. That’s what it’s really about.”

ON HURTS’S EARNED STATUS: “He is the new Fresh Prince. He gets the handshake from me whenever he wants it.”


This is Mark Donovan, the Chiefs president and former Eagles executive, laying out in early 2021 the meeting that cemented Kansas City’s pursuit of Andy Reid, who had just been fired by the Eagles. Anyone searching for key moments in the Chiefs’ rise to near-dynasty status, might want to start right here.

Andy Reid and Clark Hunt at Reid's introductory press conference in 2013.

Reid and Clark at Reid's introductory press conference in 2013.

“We talked on our plane ride to Philadelphia, prior to meeting with Andy, and [owner Clark Hunt] said, ‘I am going to take the first hour alone with Andy.’ Real quickly, just a tangent to go back to Lamar [Hunt, Clark’s father], his influence on us and his influence on this organization, Clark has no obligation to say anything about that to us. He can do whatever he wants. In his mind, it was important to show respect to the other people in that plane. I want you to know that this is not disrespectful to you all, I value your opinion, but it’s really important to me that I spend time alone with Andy. The reason he wanted to do that is Clark really wanted to see whether Andy didn’t need to take a year off, that he was still energized and committed.

“When Clark came out of that first hour, he looked me in the eye and said, ‘Yeah, he’s ready.’ A few of us each had individual meetings with Andy after that during the nine-hour interview. But we knew. I knew right then. Clark just said, ‘I’m going to do this right now. I’ve made my decision.’ He closed the deal with Andy, and we started a journey.”


Most of the oddsmakers favor the Eagles, slightly, over the Chiefs. Having been around the team some this week, it’s safe to say that Philadelphia believes, in a collective sense, that the line (-1.5, in most places) should be higher.


“I bet there’s not more than 30 humans in the history of the world that have been as big, fast and strong and as agile as him. In the history of the world. He is a special combination of speed, athleticism, size and strength. Then you add character, work ethic and attitude.”


This is Geoff Collins, Cox’s defensive coordinator at Mississippi State, speaking to my former colleague and ace editor, Ben Baskin, in early 2018.


• The MMQB staff’s Super Bowl LVII picks and predictions
• Albert Breer on the many moves of GM Howie Roseman
• Breer on the prospects who shined at Senior Bowl