The story of Nick Foles is an incredible one. From Doug Pederson lobbying for the Birds to draft him originally and the phenomenal 27-2 TD/INT ratio in the 2013 season that will go down in history, to the Rams trade and the eventual return to the City of Brotherly Love, his career has been anything but steady and predictable. But as with all great stories, there may well be a fairytale ending.
After weeks of criticism and concern from the outside, Nick Foles stepped onto Lincoln Financial Field with complete composure. A drop and some poor spatial awareness from his receivers hurt the first drive, but that would be the last time the team struggled to gain ground. Foles and the Eagles would go on to score 38 unanswered points, with the quarterback throwing for over 300 yards and 3 touchdowns in the process.
“Words can’t really describe what I feel right now. I said it out there that all glory belongs to God and I wouldn’t be here without any of that.” Nick Foles said excitedly after the game. “I’m just grateful and humble to be a part of this team, to be in this moment, and to share it with our family, our fans, all of the people who love the Philadelphia Eagles, this franchise, and my teammates. It is honestly unbelievable and words just can’t describe it.”
The NFC Championship performance was one that anybody who had previously watched Nick Foles play knew he was capable of. But without a Training Camp or preseason to practice with the team, the backup to Carson Wentz was thrown into the deep end and expected to soar straight away. That, didn’t happen. Foles struggled for a few weeks which eventually even led to discussions of Nate Sudfeld making an appearance for Philadelphia. But the resiliency of Foles shined through and as the deep shots began to hit, the confidence only grew.
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“In sports, everything is a process.” Foles said. A statement that will resonate with many Philadelphia fans. “Everything you do in life is a process that you work at it, and you can’t give up. When you have a bad outing, everyone wants to be very critical and I get that it’s part of the media’s [responsibilities]. I totally understand. But as players, the special thing is that no one in the locker room doubted me. Everyone just kept believing. We kept working and we kept getting more reps in practice. It’s just a rhythm thing. You just have to keep working. You’re not always going to have a great day. I’m sure down the road I’m going to play a bad game again. That’s the game of football. You’re going out there and competing at a high level, so you should never get down. You should always learn from those experiences and look forward to working through them. That’s the beautiful thing when you look back at the journey and you realize that it wasn’t always great. There were bumps in the road but you were able to overcome them with the people around you who believe in you and love you. That’s the special thing in this moment. It’s something that I reflect on. There are so many people who have been there for me – my family, my wife, my parents, my in-laws, my brother-in-laws, my sister-in-laws, and my sisters. In this moment I reflect on them and I’m just so grateful for the family I have. That’s what’s so special about moments like this, because you have the opportunity to reflect and be grateful.”
When Foles was traded to the Rams in exchange for Sam Bradford, many were stunned. Foles would go on to eventually be benched in favor of Case Keenum after a season of struggles, but he then decided to step away from Football, a decision that very nearly saw his career come to an end. But after reuniting with Doug Pederson in Kansas City as a backup to Alex Smith, the Eagles would later pull all the stops to ensure Foles comes home.
“We even were willing to eat a lot of the contract we had so we could go out and get Nick.” Jeffery Lurie, the team’s owner told reporters last night. “We’ve always had so much confidence in Nick. His Rams experience we thought was an outlier. He’s a wonderful person and we knew he would be great with Carson. Who knew we would have to rely on him? I’m honestly not surprised how terrific he played once he got some time with our players in terms of training. It was like going through a training camp the last three, four weeks. He hadn’t played with the first team the entire year. He’s been doing it and there’s nobody I’m happier for.”
And here we are. Nick Foles is now going to a Super Bowl after a career performance against his former teammate and one of the league’s best defenses. Foles is now the only QB in Eagles history to throw for 300+ yards and 3+ TDs in a single postseason game. From astonishing highs to lows that nearly ended a career, injuries that sparked a completely different path and then would later do the same again, Nick Foles has one more chapter left unwritten. Perhaps the most remarkable quarterback story in recent memory, Foles is just one win away from a Super Bowl.
Nick Foles is not the same quarterback he was five years ago…or four years ago…or three years ago. A quarterback who has rekindled his love for the game and the culture that was nurtured inside of him by his current Head Coach, Doug Pederson, this is a rare opportunity that could only be described as a blessing for Nick Foles. A second chance. A shot at redemption. Maybe the timing was wrong, maybe it was all leading to this moment.
“The guys to believe in him.” Doug Pederson said after the emphatic win. “Listen, he’s not a rookie. He’s a veteran player who has played a lot of games in this league. He’s started a lot of games. He had a Pro Bowl year a couple years ago. So this is not a rookie we’re talking about. Just so happy for him and what he’s been through and everything now to finally put not only himself but help this football team get to where we want to go and hopefully finish the year right.”
Mandatory Credit: James Lang-USA TODAY Sports