Why everyone Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles talks to starts crying
Nick Foles used to be relatively anonymous as NFL players go; when your main role on Sunday is to hold the clipboard while the starting quarterback goes out and gets to be the glory boy, sometimes even your own team’s fans couldn’t pick you out of a police lineup.
When the glory boy gets injured, you take over and, against the expectations of just about everyone, you end up beating the greatest player of all time in a Super Bowl shootout?
Well, once that happens, you can’t even go to Whole Foods anymore without getting mobbed by fans.
Foles lamented that problem in an interview on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” Thursday night, and the upscale grocery chain took it in stride with a helpful suggestion for Foles to avoid being recognized:
We have the perfect disguise @NFoles_9. Miss you xoxo ?#flyeaglesfly ?@SInow pic.twitter.com/A9Km5DZ5uV
— Whole Foods Market (@WholeFoods) February 16, 2018
Perhaps the most telling part of the whole interview was when Foles talked about just how much of an impact the Eagles’ first Super Bowl championship had on the people who have endured decades of heartbreak in pursuit of the sport’s ultimate prize.
When Kimmel asked Foles, “What do they do when they see you?” — referring to the fans he meets — Foles’ reply was nothing short of amazing:
“Most of the time it’s cry. It starts off as a normal conversation, then it turns into tears. And everyone asks me, ‘Well what do you do?'”
Kimmel, acknowledging just what a valid question that is, said, “Yeah, what do you do?”
Foles replied, “I simply just say, ‘I understand. I get it.’ Trust me, I’ve been in Philly. I get it. I get it; I know. And it means a lot. And the fact that the whole city cried, it was so emotional, that’s what was so special to us. To be a part of winning this thing and bringing it back home to where it hasn’t been. That’s what was so special. And if you look at the parade and everything that went on, all the fans, all the speeches players gave, Jason Kelce gave. If you haven’t watched that speech, watch Jason Kelce’s speech.”
Kelce’s profanity-laced celebration of winning as an underdog indeed captures the heart and soul of Philadelphia sports better than a whole marathon’s worth of “Rocky” movies followed by a marathon of Joe Frazier fights.
Kimmel, steering the conversation back to football, posited that there’s no way that Foles can go back to being a backup, not after becoming the greatest football hero in the Cradle of Liberty since Norm Van Brocklin became the only quarterback to defeat Vince Lombardi’s Packers in a playoff game, the game in question being the 1960 NFL championship game, the Eagles’ last title.
Foles is still under contract with the Eagles for next season, and Carson Wentz, whose knee ligaments were last seen looking like a bundle of wires after a rat got through with them, will be back to reclaim his starting job — if he’s healthy. Still, the Eagles reportedly are open to trading their backup-quarterback-turned-Super-Bowl-MVP if another team coughs up at least a couple of first-round picks.
“We love Philly,” Foles said. “You know, that stuff’s out of my control. My agents, they handle all that. But we love Philly, we love the situation. And we’ll worry about it when that time comes.”
Foles also noted that he still hasn’t heard a word from Tom Brady since the game, although he was diplomatic about the Patriots signal-caller’s reputation as a bit of a sore loser for not shaking hands after the game. “There’s chaos on the field,” Foles said, and it’s therefore not as easy as it looks to get to an opposing player, especially one who’s being mobbed by the media and sought out about his travel plans to Disney World for a commercial.
Foles is far from the first backup quarterback to win a Super Bowl, and if history has anything to say about it, it’s very much an open question just what will happen to him after this.
Some backups, like Roger Staubach, Terry Bradshaw and Brady, cemented their own rises to power within their own teams’ hierarchies by winning the big game; Staubach beat out Craig Morton, Bradshaw got his nod when Joe Gilliam didn’t hand the ball off enough for Chuck Noll’s liking, and Brady did to Drew Bledsoe what Lou Gehrig did to Wally Pipp when Bledsoe got hurt in 2001.
All three of those guys either are in the Hall of Fame or, in Brady’s case, will be as soon as he’s been retired for long enough to get in on the first ballot.
On the other hand, guys like Doug Williams, Jeff Hostetler and Trent Dilfer were backups who won the Super Bowl, but none of those guys went on to have particularly distinguished NFL careers afterward; Williams played just two more years at the end of an 11-year career and went 4-7 as a starter, Hostetler was a good but never great starter when he ended up on the Raiders; and Dilfer was a decent backup in Seattle and a dreadful starter in his one year in Cleveland.
Foles has a career regular-season record of 22-17 as a starter, although he did make the Pro Bowl and lead the NFL in passer rating in 2013.
Whether he catapults himself back to the stardom he seemed destined for as a younger player or whether he fades into obscurity, he’s still got a Super Bowl ring, which is one more than anyone on any Eagles team prior to Feb. 4 had won.
And with Amazon now having bought Whole Foods, maybe Foles can just get his groceries delivered.
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