Sunday 18 March 2018

Eagles hero Foles 'embraces the struggle'

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Nick Foles celebrates after the Super Bowl victory with his seven-month-old daughter Lily. Photo: Reuters
Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Nick Foles celebrates after the Super Bowl victory with his seven-month-old daughter Lily. Photo: Reuters

Jeff Reynolds

Nick Foles spent the night of his life in Minneapolis, capping a Super Bowl LII MVP performance in the presence of the Philadelphia Eagles' first Lombardi Trophy.

"The big thing is, don't be afraid to fail," a weary but reflective Foles said yesterday morning at a press conference ending Super Bowl week in Minnesota.

Foles went toe to toe with Tom Brady on Sunday at US Bank Stadium, throwing three touchdown passes and catching another to guide the Eagles to their first Super Bowl title.

A pregame conversation with fellow Westlake (Texas) High School football product Drew Brees helped ease Foles' concerns about logistics before and during the Super Bowl.

"A lot of the message I'll keep to myself, but the big thing was going into this game he just reminded me that it's just football," Foles said.

The support he has received and interest in his story - out of the league, near retirement, Super Bowl hero - have overwhelmed Foles and his family the past 48 hours.

"I'm not perfect. I'm not Superman," Foles said. "We might've just won the Super Bowl, but I still have daily struggles. We all do ... Embrace it."


Installed as the starter in December when the Eagles lost Carson Wentz to a knee injury in Los Angeles, Foles propelled Philadelphia through the playoffs. In the NFC Championship game victory over the Minnesota Vikings, Foles hit 78.8 per cent of his passes with three touchdowns.

On Sunday, Foles became the first player to throw and catch a touchdown in the Super Bowl.

The TD catch came on a play the Eagles practised for the past month. Head coach Doug Pederson called it, "Philly Special".

With less than a minute left in the first half and faced with fourth and goal at the Patriots 1, Pederson went deep into the playbook after Foles suggested the play would work.

The direct snap to running back Corey Clement was followed by a pitch to backup tight end Trey Burton, who flipped the ball to Foles in the right corner of the end zone.

"We've been waiting for the perfect time," Foles said, "that was the perfect time."

Foles, who had a combined 115.7 passer rating in the playoffs, is signed through the 2018 season and will return to probable back-up duty behind Wentz, who could miss the start of the season recovering from multiple knee ligament surgery in December. "I'm not really worried about my future right now," Foles said. "Staying in the moment."

Foles and Wentz are affordable, earning a combined salary of $14.9 million in 2018, which is less than 17 individual quarterbacks will make next season.

"I had a chance to talk to Carson actually on the field, on the podium last night after the game. I told him to take this in, enjoy this moment," Pederson said. "He's a great quarterback and he's a big reason - I told him you're a big, big part of why this team won this championship, won this game. I told him that hopefully we'll be back in this game with him leading the way."

Pederson said the Eagles will enjoy the moment and the week before discussing any plans for the future.

Wentz might not be healthy for Week 1. However, it's possible a trade opportunity will tempt Philadelphia to consider moving Foles. Whether he would embrace that chance and whether the Eagles will trade a Super Bowl-winning back-up is uncertain.

Irish Independent

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