Eagles soar into the Super Bowl without Carson Wentz, but he is still the wind beneath their wings

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The humility of Carson Wentz has been spoken about since the moment he was drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles. His ‘first in, last-out’ mentality is balanced with a kindness and sense of calmness that is very rare to find in a league driven by ego and the thrill of competition. Those qualities would have undoubtedly be tested over the last few weeks and Wentz has passed with flying colors.

After suffering a torn ACL, the Eagles have enjoyed a month that nobody could have predicted. Nick Foles was dropped into the game against the Rams and lifted the team to a fourth quarter comeback before torching the Giants one week later. A bumpy close to the season raised some doubt over the inevitable playoff push, but Foles would go on to prove the naysayers wrong.

Wentz could only watch from the sidelines as Foles guided the Eagles to a win over Atlanta and simply decimated the Minnesota Vikings, pushing Philadelphia to its first Super Bowl berth since 2005. The MVP candidate had a phenomenal season cut short, while Foles picked right up where he left off and after some brief teething problems, quickly established a rhythm. The Eagles are soaring at new heights…but Wentz shows only gratitude and excitement for the team.

“He’s been outstanding.” Offensive coordinator, Frank Reich, told reporters on Tuesday. “I even said to him in the fourth quarter of that game, once the game was in hand and we knew the game was over, just kind of reminding him of obviously the incredibly important role that he’s played in everything, most particularly the fact that that game was played on our turf; that that game was played on our turf.

And even shared a moment with him about special it is that he and Nick, about how — to me, one of the greatest things about a person that you can say is when you see him celebrating somebody else’s success. Even when you know it’s at the same position. I don’t care, human nature tells you that’s hard to do, and it’s been fun to see those two do that. It’s fun to see Carson have the maturity to truly celebrate Nick’s success and understanding how he’s helping this team, and also with the frustration knowing that he wants to be in there.”

To channel that frustration into leadership is a remarkable quality. Wentz has been an inspiration to his teammates on the field all season as well as the fans away from it. The second-year signal caller has never struggled to put the team first and even in the most trying of times, is still turning up to the facility at 6AM and doing all he can to help the team behind the scenes.

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Wentz could often be seen on the sideline communicating with Nick Foles, helping him see things only a second pair of eyes could. After the incredible win over the Vikings, Wentz and Foles shared a special moment that would melt the heart of just about every Eagles fan in existence.

“Carson and I have worked together this entire year and he’s a huge reason why we’re in this position.” Foles told reporters after the game. “It’s been awesome just being around him. He’s handled this thing amazingly and he continues to be such a great leader in our locker room. When we go through game film and we go through everything, he’s an extremely intelligent player so I listen to everything that he says. In that moment, you just embrace. It’s been a crazy year and we work together every single day for long hours.  You don’t really need to say anything. A hug goes a long way.”

The Eagles would pay ode to the man who propelled them to greatness in the best way possible. Alshon Jeffery’s second touchdown reception was a play that Carson himself injected into the playbook, with its roots digging deep into North Dakota State.

“Every time we score on his play, the smile’s going to light up.” Reich said. “It was just executed very well. Doug called it at the perfect time.”

To watch someone else jump into your role and elevate the team around him is a ridiculously hard thing to do for any human, regardless of how secure their job may be or how bright their future looks. For Carson Wentz, being proud, excited and willing to push Foles even further is just simply a part of who he is…and that’s something that goes criminally underrated.

 

Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

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