Nicholas Edward Foles, the 6 ft 6 in quarterback out of Westlake high school. He was drafted in the third round as the 88th pick in the 2012 NFL draft. He was once touted as the Philadelphia Eagles next franchise quarterback. Nick Foles has done things in the NFL that few have been able to achieve. On November 3, 2013, Foles went 22-28, throwing for 406 yards and seven touchdowns against the Oakland Raiders. Only eight quarterbacks in NFL history have thrown for seven touchdowns in a single game. Of those eight, only three have done so without throwing an interception. What was driving these feats? Was Foles magic on the horizon? It’s not that simple. With triumphs often come tribulations.
Dawn of the “Magic”
Nick Foles has one of the more interesting careers in recent memory. He has gone from having one of the best seasons in NFL history, to below average, to be just flat out bad, to almost retiring, to Super Bowl MVP quarterback. The 2013 season saw Foles throw for 2,891 yards with 27 touchdowns and only two interceptions. This was our first glimpse of “magic” from Foles. His next year? Eight games with 13 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. Foles broke his collarbone and would miss the rest of the season. That offseason Nick Foles got a call from Chip Kelly (that name still hurts to say) informing him that he was traded to the St. Louis Rams. The phone call lasted one minute, and at the time I imagine it was hard to understand.
Foles 2015 season almost resulted in him retiring from the league. Foles played in 11 games, ultimately being benched for Case Keenum. He was left searching for the love of football again; the reasons that he played the game in the first place. Foles has been very vocal about his (almost) departure from the league. He and his wife had long talks about it, and it was her who convinced him to keep playing. After a year with his former coach Andy Reid in Kansas City, Foles would rejoin the club that drafted him into the league.
Rekindling the “Magic”
The circumstances were different this time around. Nick Foles was not the next franchise quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles anymore. The Eagles had just traded up in the draft to secure Carson Wentz with the second pick in the 2016 NFL draft. Foles was officially beginning life in the NFL as a backup quarterback. In just his second NFL season, Wentz was the leading MVP candidate. He had the Eagles soaring with a 10-2 record, facing the (9-3) Los Angeles Rams. With the Eagles down 28-24 late in the third quarter, Carson Wentz tore his ACL. Wentz would stay in to throw a touchdown giving the Eagles a 31-28 lead. Foles would come in and lead Philly to a 43-35 victory over the Rams.
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In an unlikely matchup, Nick Foles was facing off against Case Keenum. Two quarterbacks who played very poorly during their tenure with Jeff Fisher and the St. Louis Rams. Foles was matching up against the number 1 defense in the NFL, and the Eagles once again were underdogs. Nick Foles left little doubt when this was all said and done. Going 26/33 for 352 yards with three touchdowns is an excellent stat line. It is even better when considering it came against the NFL’s #1 defense. Minnesota was 3 point favorites and wound up losing 38-7 in a game that was never close. Nick Foles was leading the Eagles to the Super Bowl to face off against Tom Brady and the New England Patriots. Foles magic lives on.
The Consummation of Magic
Super Bowl LII: Nick Foles vs. Tom Brady. For a third straight game, Nick Foles was the underdog. This time, as a 4 point underdog in the Super Bowl going against the greatest quarterback of all time. Going into this game you know two things are certain.
- Tom Brady will pick apart this Eagles defense.
- The Eagles will fight with everything they have.
A total team effort was going to have to happen for Philly to pull this out, but Nick Foles had to protect the football. Going into the Super Bowl, Foles had a 96.4 passer rating on the year. He entered the Super Bowl with a better passer rating than Brady in the postseason. Foles needed to be magic for Philly to win.
Questions about how Foles would handle the Super Bowl were everywhere. A calm-natured, level-headed, cool under pressure Foles always knew he’d be just fine. Foles is one of the rare athletes that play their absolute best when the stakes are the highest. This Super Bowl was no exception, the caveat? Tom Brady had arguably the greatest postseason game of his career. Could Nick Foles outduel Tom Brady in the Super Bowl?
Going toe to toe with a legend is no easy feat. Answering the call when Brady leads a scoring drive is a daunting task. Foles came out of the gate and led a 14 play scoring drive to open up Super Bowl LII. While only a field goal, going up 3-0 in the Super Bowl is a big deal. Foles showed on his first drive that he was capable of handling the pressure. Was it sustainable though? Could one last magical Foles performance be in the forecast?