- Cedric Golden American-Statesman Staff
Westlake High School has a new football legend.
Move over, Drew Brees.
Make some room for Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles.
Remember when many Philly fans feared a Super Bowl chance was lost when starting quarterback Carson Wentz went down with a blown-out knee in Week 13? Some of those same fans are probably starting a GoFundme account to erect a Foles statue right next to Rocky Balboa’s at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
Unlike the legendary Italian Stallion, this hero was born in a real-life competition on sport’s biggest stage. In one of the best Super Bowls we’ve witnessed from start to finish, Foles was front and center, matching the immortal Tom Brady punch-for-punch and throw-for-throw. As a result, the toughest sports town in America just started a party that will last until the 2018 season opener and beyond.
The Eagles made plays on both sides, but they won mostly because of their quarterback.
Nick Foles took down Tom Brady, 41-33. That’s something you don’t hear everyday.
The same man who considered retirement after not picking up a football for eight months one year ago now stands atop the sporting world.
After losing his job to Case Keenum in St. Louis and surviving a year under Jeff Fisher.
After holding a clipboard behind Alex Smith in Kansas City.
That’s all behind him now.
Nick Foles, Super Bowl champion.
And it wasn’t that he pulled it off over a five-time Super Bowl juggernaut but how he did it. Foles never blinked. He made money throws with Doug Pederson playing the non-wavering role of head coach/riverboat gambler. The fourth-down pass to Zach Ertz from his own 45-yard line fell under the had-to-have-it category because to not score a touchdown on that final drive was to lose to the New England Patriots. Just ask the Atlanta Falcons.
Foles showed the nerves of a seasoned brain-surgeon at a time where one mistake meant failure. He finished 28-of-43 for 373 yards, and three touchdowns with one interception that came on a drop by wideout Alshon Jeffrey. And let’s not forget the first touchdown catch of his career and the first since his sophomore year at Westlake when he played tight end. It came after Brady let a potential big-catch slip through fingers that have held five Super Bowl rings.
“The big thing that helped me was I didn’t have to be Superman,” Foles said. “I have an amazing team and amazing coaches around me. All I had do to was just go play as hard as I could, play for one another, play for those guys, not look at the scoreboard, not look at the time….just go out there and play and not worry about it.”
Unlike the Dirty Birds, who allowed the Patriots to record the biggest comeback in Super Bowl history, there would be no late-game collapse. Foles did what Matt Ryan couldn’t. He stared down Brady and stood tall in the saddle. Now no one can ever say again the Eagles are the only team in the NFC East without a Super Bowl title. Speaking of the East, Foles became the third quarterback with three or fewer starts to win a Super Bowl, joining Washington’s Doug Williams (Super Bowl XXII) and the New York Giants’ Jeff Hostetler (XXV).
It took a near-perfect game plan and the same type of fearlessness that helped New England become a modern-day sports dynasty.
“My mentality was I was going to stay aggressive with Nick and let our playmakers make plays,” Pederson said.
Foles has one year remaining on his contract and could quietly return to being the backup behind Wentz, but he was too freaking good to go back to that clipboard.
It’s obvious he’s a starter in this league.
And a Westlake legend.