Head Coach Doug Pederson came out during his press conference this past Tuesday and verified what many of us knew to be the case all along: Carson Wentz is the quarterback of the Philadelphia Eagles going forward.
The other part of it, which comes as no surprise either, is that Nick Foles has most likely played his last game as an Eagle.
Nothing is official yet, obviously. The season just ended a few days ago, and it’s safe to assume that several players like Nick Foles, Darren Sproles, Jason Peters, or Brandon Graham to name a few don’t know for sure what their future with the team is.
Regardless of what happens with Foles though, nothing will change the legacy he’s left here in Philadelphia. It will be debated over for a long time whether Foles is or isn’t the greatest quarterback in franchise history (for the record, I don’t think he is). But what can’t be debated is that Nick Foles will forever be one of the biggest icons in Eagles franchise history.
Arguing about what Nick Foles is and isn’t has been a topic that has gone on for weeks and weeks now amongst fans and sports media alike. And for someone like me, it gets utterly exhausting and frustrating. Why? Because it pits Eagles fans against each other, making it seem as though you’re on #TeamWentz or #TeamFoles, which is pretty silly. Because even though I’m someone who sees Carson Wentz as the superior player and the undisputed franchise quarterback of the Philadelphia Eagles, that doesn’t change the fact that I still love Nick Foles and will forever be grateful for what he’s done.
Foles’ roller coaster of a career has been captivating to say the least. He was drafted by Andy Reid and the Eagles in 2012 and even started 6 games during Reid’s final season as head coach. But it wasn’t until the 2013 season under Chip Kelly when Foles started to make a name for himself. He stepped in for the injured Michael Vick in the middle of the season and had his famous “27-2” run, which helped the team win a division title.
2014 didn’t pan out the way everyone, especially Foles, had hoped however. He started to show some chinks in his armor, throwing for only 13 touchdowns and a concerning 10 interceptions in only 8 games. Then he suffered a broken collarbone against the Houston Texans and wouldn’t get his starting job back the rest of the season.
Before the 2015 season, Foles was traded to the Rams in exchange for Sam Bradford. He continued to struggle in St. Louis under Jeff Fisher (then again, what quarterback doesn’t), and was eventually released after only 1 season with the team.
It was at this time that his well-known story about him contemplating retirement came about. Despite him considering leaving the game, he ultimately decided to keep going and ended up signing with Kansas City in 2016, reuniting with Andy Reid and taking on a backup role.
And then in 2017 he finally came back to the organization that drafted him, signing with the Eagles to be Carson Wentz’s backup. What some people often forget is that Foles suffered an arm injury during that preseason. His status for the regular season and to even make the 53-man roster was in question, but thankfully he was fine.
And, as they say, the rest is history.
What Foles has been able to do these past 2 seasons, winning Super Bowl LII and then helping the team go on a playoff run in 2018, has been referred to by many as “Foles magic.” It’s as if there’s some type unexplainable higher power that comes into play when Foles starts. The team has found ways to win, and often times in inexplicable ways.
Part of the thrill has been the unpredictability of it all. If you’re speaking from a pure talent perspective, Nick Foles has never been elite. Yes, he holds some nice individual records worth noting such as the 7 touchdowns in a single game record against the Raiders, the most single game passing yards in franchise history record against the Texans, and his 25 straight completions record against the Redskins. Those are without a doubt some noteworthy accomplishments. And, of course, the big seller on his resume is Super Bowl MVP, and deservedly so. He played perhaps the best game of his career during the biggest game of them all. No one should or can ever take that away from him.
However, as many of those great performances Foles has had, he’s arguably had even more that have been on the opposite end of the spectrum. The variance of play that you can expect to get from him is so high. One game Foles will struggle and have difficulty making even the simplest of throws, and the next he’ll be on fire and play as well as any quarterback in the league. That lack of consistency is why Foles has had the type of career he’s had. He has his limitations, and one can say that he is indeed a “system QB”. A really good one at that though.
The success the team has had these past 2 seasons under Foles is not supposed to make sense, but at the same time, it does. While some call it “Foles magic” and others attribute it to a higher power, I like to simply credit it to the belief and confidence the players and coaches have in him. They’re confident that he can still help lead the team to a victory against anyone. And despite what other teams try to tell or sell to you, there aren’t many in the league that can say that about their backup quarterback and actually have the wins to back it up. Maybe none.
The fact that the team has had not only 1 good quarterback but 2 is extremely fortunate and can’t go understated. And a great thing about it is that there has been no “QB controversy”. There’s no animosity between Wentz and Foles. They genuinely support each other when the other is playing. History says that when a team has 2 quarterbacks on their roster that are both good enough to be starters that it leads to trouble, but that hasn’t been the case with them. It’s because they’re both amazing leaders who care more about the team than themselves, and it’s because of the great culture that Doug Pederson has been able to establish in that locker room. Foles knows that Wentz is the franchise quarterback and the future of the team, and Wentz has done nothing to stir up any drama while Foles has won. If that relationship between the two of them doesn’t exist, the team doesn’t win, and it’s a credit to both of them and who they are as teammates.
I can go on and on about the great things that Foles has done, and there are plenty. But above anything else, what has made him an icon in this city forever is this: it’s not just about what he did, but how he did it. Not only was he able to help give the franchise and us fans the one thing that has eluded us for what seems like forever, but he’s done so in a way that is straight out of a fairy tail.
When Wentz went down with a season-ending ACL injury, it seemed as though all hope was lost. It was yet another typical heartbreaking turn of events for the Philadelphia Eagles that us fans are so familiar with. But the team didn’t quit. Nick Foles didn’t quit. When everyone doubted them and labeled them as the worst #1 seed in NFL history, Foles and the rest of the team proved them all wrong. And when Foles had to go up against the greatest quarterback in NFL history in Tom Brady in order to win it all, he went blow-for-blow with him in what turned out to be one of the best Super Bowl games in recent history. He achieved what seemed like the impossible.
And even though the team couldn’t repeat as Super Bowl champions this season, Foles showed the same type of resilience and fight that he did the year before. The team’s season was practically over after the 2nd loss to the Cowboys, but Foles stepped in and led them to 3 straight wins, an improbable playoff berth, and a victory in the Wild Card round against the #1 defense in the league.
That underdog mentality and fight that these Eagles teams have shown resonates with the city of Philadelphia. What they’ve been able to accomplish is something that we’ll never forget, and Nick Foles will forever be a part of that.
This is Nick Foles. Uplifting, encouraging, inspiring. Easy to do in good times but it’s extra special in worst ones. A Super Bowl MVP who stays humble, strives to impact people beyond tossing TDs. Fitting this may be Nick’s last #Eagles moment bc it says more about his character pic.twitter.com/vM5Fc3dQ4L
— Rob Maaddi (@RobMaaddi) January 14, 2019
The way Foles leads and the respect he’s gained from the players, coaches, and even fans everywhere (even outside of Philadelphia) is invaluable and inspiring. He possesses the type of character that anyone would want to have in a player. It’s almost impossible not to root for him. When you hear him speak, he makes you believe in the brotherhood he has with his teammates. He uplifts you in many ways that transcend the sport of football.
No matter what happens to him this offseason, whether he ends up getting traded somehow, hits free agency, or even retires, the legend of Nick Foles will never be forgotten or unappreciated. Eagles fans everywhere will pass on stories from generation to generation about what Foles and the Philadelphia Eagles of 2017 and 2018 did. He will forever be a beloved figure in Philadelphia, and nothing will ever change that. He can don a different uniform, but he’ll always be a Philadelphia Eagle.
— NFL (@NFL) January 15, 2019
Thank you, Nick Foles.