Foles secures his Hollywood ending with stunning Super Bowl showing
Nick Foles' rise from a man considering retirement to Super Bowl MVP is a story not even the Eagles' film producer owner could dream of.
On December 10, Philadelphia Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie saw his team's season take an agonising turn for the worse as starting quarterback and MVP candidate Carson Wentz suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament.
It was fitting that Wentz's season was brought to a cruel end in a win over the Rams in Los Angeles, as it set in motion a sequence of events that not even Holllywood producer Lurie could have imagined.
With Nick Foles tasked with leading the Eagles' offense in Wentz's absence, certain postseason doom was predicted for Philadelphia, despite them holding the top seed in an ultra-competitive NFC.
Such forecasts seemed logical given Foles' career arc. He burst onto the scene by throwing 27 touchdowns and just two interceptions in an incredible 2013 season under then-Eagles coach Chip Kelly, but an injury-affected 2014 campaign led to his exit from the Eagles and was followed by a failed stint with the then St. Louis Rams and a year as a backup with the Kansas City Chiefs.
That rapid fall from grace left Foles considering retirement, with the prospect of an MVP performance on the biggest stage looking like the most ambitious of pipe dreams.
However, sport has an uncanny knack for fulfilling pipe dreams and Foles' willingness to stick with his career was rewarded in the most remarkable fashion as he went toe-to-toe with the greatest quarterback of all time, Tom Brady, and the New England Patriots and led the Eagles to their first Super Bowl title with a pulsating 41-33 victory in Super Bowl LII.
Having served as an effective game manager in the 15-10 Divisional Round win over the Atlanta Falcons before dissecting a vaunted Minnesota Vikings defense in a 38-7 NFC Championship Game rout, it was fair to wonder which Foles would show up.
The answer was emphatic. Foles, aided by a spectacular performance from an excellent offensive line that did not give up a sack, diced up the Patriots secondary and kept the Eagles' noses in front in an absorbing shootout even with Brady throwing for a Super Bowl record 508 yards and three touchdowns.
Showcasing poise which belied that of a player stuck with the journeyman backup tag, Foles shredded New England for 373 yards and three touchdowns, his only interception coming as Alshon Jeffery juggled a pass into the hands of Duron Harmon, and also became the first quarterback in Super Bowl history to catch a touchdown pass, doing so from Trey Burton on an audacious fourth-down trick play.
But where Foles was most impressive was on third down. The Eagles were successful on 10 of their 16 third-down attempts with Foles consistently and calmly moving the chains as the took advantage of the excellent protection provided to him.
That composure carried through to the biggest drive of the game, Foles responding to Brady giving the Patriots their first lead in the fourth quarter by making a pivotal fourth-down throw to Zach Ertz, before hitting the same player for what proved the decisive score.
Brady, who was stripped of the ball by Brandon Graham on the subsequent drive and failed with a Hail Mary attempt to force overtime, could not respond.
"We talked a lot this last week about a couple years ago, there was a time where I was thinking about hanging up the cleats, and I think as people, we deal with struggles," Foles said in his post-game media conference.
"And that was a moment in my life where I thought about it, and I prayed about it. I'm grateful that I made the decision to come back and play."
That decision has now received the ultimate vindication, though, with the Eagles committed to Wentz, a trade to another quarterback-needy team now seems inevitable.
But Foles has delivered, in scarcely believable fashion, what Philadelphia fans have for so long been craving, and he will now be part of the folklore of a city that celebrates even fictional sporting heroes.
No matter what happens in the rest of his career, Foles has his Hollywood ending.