From the Bench to the Super Bowl 2018 MVP: The Nick Foles Story

The year was 2017, and after the final regular season NFL game, it had seemed the sun had set on the career of quarterback, Nick Foles. After a couple of lackluster seasons, rumors spread of his retirement. But looking back, perhaps, he was just getting started. Nobody expected him to be the MVP in the Super Bowl of 2018 and Nick Foles contract was an after-thought.

nick folesAfter all, it was Nick Foles who, in 2011, ranked first in the Pac 10 his senior year at the University of Arizona and fifth among all NCAA Division 1 FBS athletes. His collegiate success prompted the Philadelphia Eagles to select Nick Foles in the third round of the 2012 NFL draft. He was signed to a 4-year contract and though he was expected to earn the starting job. However, it was Michael Vick who got the job. It wasn’t until Week 10 of that same season that Nick Foles was able play after Vick suffered a concussion against their division rival Dallas Cowboys. Foles would remain the starter for the remainder of the season, but it was made clear by Head Coach Andy Reid that the 2013 season would begin with a pre-season battle for the job between Nick Foles, Michael Vick, and rookie Matt Barkley.

In 2013, Foles was selected to the Pro Bowl while only playing a mere 10 games that season for the Philadelphia Eagles as the supplant to an injured Michael Vick. But in his abbreviated year as the starter, he threw for nearly 2,900 yards and tossed an impressive 27 touchdown passes against just two interceptions. The team had high hopes for the young quarterback and was expected to take over the starting role the following year. However, Foles only managed to play in eight games due to a broken collarbone and, as a result, his play had suffered as well throwing for just 2,163 yards and 13 touchdowns against 10 interceptions. The sharp drop off in production inspired the Eagles organization to rethink the future of the quarterback position, and the conclusion came swiftly when the teams announced they traded two draft picks and Nick Foles to the St. Louis Rams for quarterback Sam Bradford along with a fifth-round draft pick. Nick Foles signed a 2-year contract and the Rams immediately named him the starter.

The excitement of playing for a new team in a new city, however, was short-lived. After posting just a 4-7 record and tossing more interceptions (10) than touchdown passes (7), Foles’ desire to stay in St. Louis had declined in proportion with his poor play on the field. At the close of the 2015 season he requested he be released.

Nick Foles Back on the Bench

Nick Foles’ 2013 Pro Bowl season seemed light years away when he signed a 1-year deal with the Kansas City Chiefs to play the role of backup quarterback to Alex Smith, with a second-year option that depended on his performance. It was a year he’d like to forget, though, as he saw action in just three games. In March of 2017, the Chiefs declined the second-year option making Foles a free agent once again.

The once hero of the Pac 10 gridiron, and Pro Bowl selection was now officially a journeyman quarterback with a future as uncertain as ever.

Another Chance for Nick Foles

After a couple of forgettable seasons, Nick Foles had once again found himself the property of the Philadelphia Eagles after signing a two-year contractcarson wentzthrough 2018. This time, however, there were no questions about his role—he was going to back up the Eagles first-round draft pick, Carson Wentz. Foles would occupy the #2 spot in the QB rotation until Week 14 when Wentz went down with an injury. Foles finished the game which saw the Eagles victorious over his former team, the now Los Angeles Rams. The win clinched the division for Philly for the first time since 2013. But the celebration was bitter sweet, as the news came down that Wentz had suffered a torn ACL and was subsequently ruled out for the remainder of the season.

Philly’s coach, Doug Pederson immediately announced that Foles would take over the starting job. He’d be at the helm of a team previously picked by many to reach the Super Bowl of 2018, only now, Foles was the target of the nay-sayers and critics who gave him and the team little to no chance of even making it past the first round.

But they did!

Paving the Way to Super Bowl 2018

January 13, 2018, the Eagles faced off against the defending NFC Champions Atlanta Falcons. Atlanta was coming off an impressive 26-13 win over the highly touted Rams who were among the leaders in most defensive categories, and lead by perhaps the best running back of 2017 in Todd Gurley II. But the Falcons have Matt Ryan, battle tested and coming in as the third-highest rated postseason passer of all time.

nfl championship game 2018So the stage was set. Atlanta’s superstar quarterback against the journeyman Nick Foles who, in fact, was the lowest-ranked quarterback (77.7) among the 12 who made it to the playoffs. So it was no surprise the Falcons came in as the favorite despite the Eagles’ dominance over the league during the first three months of the season. But as they say, the game is played on the field, and all the talk about who the quarterbacks are and why they’re there, took a backseat to a low scoring, defensive battle at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia.

The teams were in a grudge match right ‘til the end with the Eagles clinging to a 15-10 lead with just a few minutes to go. With the season on the line, the Eagles overcame a late drive with a goal line stand by Philly’s defense. When the gun sounded, Nick Foles threw for 246 yards in the victory, but the respect was still not there, and for that to come, he would have to shine in the spotlight and prove he has what it takes to silence his critics.

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Securing the Eagles Spot in The Super Bowl of 2018

For the NFC championship game, the Eagles welcomed in the Minnesota Vikings who were coming off a miracle win over the New Orleans Saints on a last-second drive that saw a pair of defensive backs muff a pass to the sideline with just a few seconds left that gave up the game winning touchdown to the Vikings.

The Eagles once again enjoyed home field advantage, nonetheless, the odds makers again had them as underdogs, no doubt a reflection of the lack of super bowl mvp confidence that the masses still had in Nick Foles. However, it seemed to have bothered Foles very little, if at all. Because despite giving up an early lead to Minnesota, Foles and the Eagles bounced back in a very big way scoring 38 unanswered points and cruising to a 38-7 victory and earning a trip to the Super Bowl of 2018. Foles had a monster game throwing for 352 yards with three touchdown passes against a vaunted Vikings defense. The win surprised fewer people than the actual score and Nick Fole’s play. He was cool and calm under pressure, and never showed an ounce of fear on the large stage. But would he bottle that confidence and take it to Super Bowl 2018? If so he’d have to do it against Tom Brady and the rest of the defending World Champion New England Patriots.

Super Bowl 2018

Super Bowl 2018 took place in Minnesota, at U.S. Bank Stadium, home of the Minnesota Vikings. The Philadelphia Eagles came in a touchdown underdog to the New England Patriots who were making their eigth appearance in Super Bowl 2018, since 2001, and looking for their sixth Lombardi Trophy in its franchise history. The Eagles, however, were looking for their first Super Bowl Championship, and they were going to be successful in getting the Lombardi Trophy, it would have to be on the shoulders of Nick Foles, and their stout defense. Foles was up against history, and perhaps the greatest quarterback in NFL history in Tom Brady.

If there were any game time jitters happening with Nick Foles, he did masterful job of hiding them, as the first drive, he took his team down the field and came within a play of scoring a touchdown. Nonetheless, the Eagles got on the board first with Jake Elliot field goal. The Patriots tied the game with a field goal of their own, but Foles and the Eagles answered with a touchdown later in the first quarter. From there, the Patriots played catchup nearly the entire game. Every time New England got close, Nick Foles drove his team down the field and extended the lead, until the fourth quarter when Brady connected with TE Rob Gronkowski in the end zone giving the Patriots their first lead of the game 33-32.

Super Bowl 2018 was now shaping up as one of the greatest championship games in history, but it wasn’t over yet. It was Nick Foles’ turn.

Foles and the Eagles chewed up seven minutes off the clock and finishing a drive with a Zach Ertz touchdown with 2:21 on the clock.

Again, Nick Foles, the guy who was surrounded by such high hopes at one time, now a journeyman quarterback with no certain future, has now put his team in a position to win Super Bowl 2018. All the Eagles had to do was stop Tom Brady and the New England offense from driving down the field and scoring a go-ahead touchdown.

It seemed insurmountable given the history of Tom Brady’s Super Bowl experience. The idea seemed like old hat for the Patriots, especially considering in the second half of the game the Eagles defense seemed out of breath. But all they needed was one more big play to seal the victory in Super Bowl 2018, and they got it.

On just the second play of the drive, DE Brandon Graham stripped the ball from Brady’s hand and the eagles recovered. The game was seemingly over. The Eagles added another field goal giving them a 41-33 lead with about a minute to go. And it was enough. Philly’s defense made one more stand the game was over.

Super Bowl 2018 Champions

The Philadelphia Eagles won their first Super Bowl championship in franchise history, and lead by a most unlikely Super Bowl 2018 hero in Nick Foles, who was awarded the game’s MVP award. Nick Foles threw for 373 yards and three touchdown passes against just one interception. He even caught asuper bowl champions touchdown pass himself on a fourth and goal situation.

Despite all of Fole’s success filling in for Carson Wentz, his future is still uncertain. Wentz is expected to regain his starting role in 2018, with Foles backing him up. Or not? Trade rumors have surfaced, so there’s a chance he could be dealt to a team hoping he can maintain his outstanding play, but only time will tell. For now, Nick Foles is a Super Bowl winner and MVP, and no one can take that away from him.

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