Every player will remember two things when all is said and done; their first win and their last. Raymond James Stadium played host to an Eagles team who were in a downward spiral back in 2012. One of the long bright spots in that season was the flourishing of rookie quarterback, Nick Foles, who was forced into the fray when Michael Vick went down with an injury. During a year devoid of all hope, Foles found a way to at least spark some energy into his teammates and the Eagles locker room, by doing something only Nick Foles could do; suggesting a play.
The Eagles marched down to the Bucs’ 1-yard line with time ticking down. Completion after completion, Foles and the Eagles offense took 2:44 to find 64 yards, resulting on a play on the 1-yard line with just 2 seconds left and a five point deficit to overcome.
“I remember there was a timeout called,” Foles told reporters in a conference this week. “We had a play called. It was a long drive and we had one play left. I remember something hit my brain, hit my gut – that happens to me at times – and I ran over to Andy Reid and said, ‘Hey, can we do the sprint out?’ He said, ‘Go do it.’”
Foles ran back onto the field, snapped the ball and with it an eight game losing streak. Striking Jeremy Maclin in the end zone, Foles lifted the Eagles to their first win in a month and their last of the season. That feeling of jubilation for the Eagles quarterback was something he wouldn’t forget in a hurry.
“I just remember sitting at my locker, and like, ‘The NFL is not easy,’” said Foles. “I’m like, ‘Dang, the NFL is really hard to get a win.’ That wasn’t the easiest year, being Andy’s last year here and everything that went on that year. To get that win at that time is huge.
It’s safe to say that the last six years have been a complete rollercoaster for Foles, who has experienced the highs of beating the Buccaneers once again in 2013, the year in which he defied all Footballing laws en-route to a season that nobody would ever forget. The iconic ’27-2′ TD-INT ratio stands as one of the most remarkable ever witnessed. But he’s also experienced the lows of being traded to and eventually cut by the Rams after his career appeared to decline, along with his confidence and love for the game.
Well, we all knew what happened next. Foles returned to Philadelphia after reuniting with a man who helped bring him to the City of Brotherly Love to begin with, Doug Pederson, in Kansas City. Backing up the future of the franchise he once owned, it was a strange dynamic, but one that would ultimately go down in history. Nick Foles would step in for Carson Wentz in week 14 of the 2017 season and from there, channelled his inner sophomore stardom and led the City to its first ever World Championship, claiming MVP honors along the way.
The difference here of course was that instead of suggesting a ‘speed out’, Foles suggested the iconic ‘Philly Philly’ play.
In just a few days, Foles will return to Raymond James Stadium to face the team he earned his first ever NFL win against, a special moment for Foles, but also for the Coach who has watched him grow exponentially during the last six years.
“I think it can because obviously you remember your last — whether it’s your last game or last performance in a stadium, as you mentioned.” Pederson told reporters on Wednesday. “I think having success there can give you positive vibes I think going back down there for Nick.
I was obviously in the booth at the time, and just a tremendous win. He was a rookie there, and came and led us back to that win.
Yeah, I think that can be a positive for him going back down there.”
A lot can change in Six years. Happiness, heartbreak and the Hall of Fame. The career of Nick Foles comes full circle on Sunday as he faces the team that in many ways kickstarted that journey. Is there one more ‘special’ moment in the tank? If Foles has the ability to impact the offense by suggesting plays, don’t ever, ever write it off.