Philly’s Newest Hero: St.Nick
Philly’s Newest Hero: St. Nick
The story of most NFL quarterbacks usually follows the same script: They star in high school against weaker competition, and then they move on to college and usually are a product of their college system.
Careers and relationships in sports between players and coaches rarely come full circle, but for the player who work harder than others there is always an executive who drafted you and yearns to bring that player back once he leaves.
Howie Roseman of the Philadelphia Eagles was one of those executives.
Draft day comes and some are drafted and continue they success they had in college, while others fall off the map. The few that desire to make themselves great become legends. Very few get drafted by a team, get traded by that team and return to their original team, once a team moves on it’s usually for good, but there is always a slim chance to rewrite history. Usually it takes someone in an organization to really like a player to bring him home and give him a second chance.
In a sports town like Philadelphia you are lucky if they like you once let alone twice. The Eagles fan base is one the toughest in the NFL, and in 2012 they drafted a guy named Nick Foles with their third round selection, at time when they had Michael Vick and a head coach Andy Reid who was on his last legs in Philadelphia after a very successful tenure.
Nick Foles was born in Austin, Texas and attended Westlake High School, which also produced future hall of Famer Drew Brees.
He broke most of the high school records, and was recruited to play basketball by Baylor and Texas. He started his college football career at Michigan St, and then transferred to the University of Arizona. His coaches always seem to bypass him as the starter, but he would eventually force his way into the starting lineup.
He completed a spectacular senior season throwing for 4,334 yards, and 28 touchdowns, and ranked first in the Pac-12 with an average of 352 yards passing per game.
Despite having all the intangibles, like size and arm strength Foles fell to the Eagles in the third round. Many quarterbacks including legends like Joe Montana, Tom Brady and Drew Brees had not gotten drafted in the first round, but still went on to have great NFL careers.
This would only drive Foles to work harder to earn his chance. His first start came in 2012, when Michael Vick got injured he was given his chance and had showed glimpses of his talent.
When Reid was let go by the Eagles at the end of the 2012 season, some of his assistants from the Eagles staff, most notably Doug Pederson went with him to Kansas City.
A player’s success in the NFL is often tied to a system fit, and with the arrival of head coach Chip Kelly in 2013, and his vaunted up tempo offense Foles threw 27 touchdown passes and only 2 interceptions. In a foreshadowing of things to come his touchdown to interception ratio broke the record of 36/4 held by a guy named Brady in New England. He led the Eagles to the NFC Wild Card game against the guy, to which whom he broke all of his high school playoff records, Drew Brees.
Foles earned his first Pro Bowl invite and won Offensive MVP of the game. His career seemed to be on the rise.
As Chip Kelly started to mold the roster and wrestle personnel control away from Roseman, many of Foles targets like Desean Jackson were shipped to other teams.
Foles was eventually traded to St. Louis in a blockbuster deal and his career trajectory was spiraling downward under the offensively challenged Jeff Fisher.
Howie Roseman was still in Philadelphia through a regime change and when he got control of personnel after Kelly was dismissed he brought back Doug Pederson, who brought some of Andy Reid’s former assistants with him to Philadelphia. This was Foles’ chance to come home.
Foles contemplated retirement, but joined the Eagles as a back up to rising star Carson Wentz. If you want proof how important it is to have an experienced backup quarterback in the NFL, ask the Oakland Raiders what happened to their Super bowl dreams when Derek Carr went down at the end of the 2016 season.
Foles took over for an injured Wentz, against (you guessed it) those L.A. Rams and this was his chance.
As Foles led his team through the playoffs and into Super bowl 52 vs the Patriots he displayed the heart of a champion, through all the trials and travails. This has put him in rather unique situation.
Foles put himself in unique company. He is one of seven backup quarterbacks to lead his team to a Super bowl victory. The others are: Roger Staubach ( 1971), Terry Bradshaw ( 1974), Jim Plunkett ( 1980) , Jeff Hostetler ( 1990), Kurt Warner ( 1999), Trent Dilfer ( 2000) , and Tom Brady ( 2001).
Foles’ situation next year is almost unheard of. He took the place of an injured rising franchise quarterback, whereas most of the names on the list above were not in that situation.
So how do you treat the guy who returned to deliver a championship to a city so starved for one?
If Wentz is healthy by opening day next year and struggles how much brotherly love will Eagles fans, who are known to be short on patience show Wentz?
Only time will tell, so in the meantime enjoy your moment Philadelphia, because St. Nick delivered and now you can’t boo Santa Claus!!!
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