Credit: Reuben Frank For NBC Sports Philadelphia.
BLOOMINGTON, Minn. — It speaks volumes about Nick Foles that 11 hours after putting on one of the greatest performances in Philadelphia sports history, Nick Foles stood at a podium, accepted the Super Bowl MVP trophy and spoke about his shortcomings.
This is Nick Foles.
This is why he’s special.
Foles continued his torrid postseason Sunday, throwing for 373 yards and three touchdowns and catching a touchdown pass in the Eagles‘ 41-33 win over the Patriots in Super Bowl LII at U.S. Bank Stadium.
It was a remarkable performance for Foles and continued his wild ride from Eagles Pro Bowler to Rams castoff to Chiefs backup to Eagles backup to Super Bowl champion.
Monday morning, Foles was back at the Mall of America, the Super Bowl headquarters all last week, to accept the MVP trophy.
I asked him what he wants people to take from his journey, from the way he’s handled himself, from his ability to shake off some incredible disappointments and even contemplate retirement, from being unwanted by three teams to standing there with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell posing for pictures with the Super Bowl MVP trophy.
Foles’ response was incredibly revealing and quite powerful.
“I think the big thing is don’t be afraid to fail,” Foles said. “I think in our society today, Instagram, Twitter, it’s a highlight reel. It’s all the good things. And then when you look at it, when you think like, wow, when you have a rough day, ‘My life’s not as good as that,’ (you think) you’re failing.
“Failure is a part of life. It’s a part of building character and growing. Without failure, who would you be? I wouldn’t be up here if I hadn’t fallen thousands of times. Made mistakes.
“We all are human, we all have weaknesses, and I think throughout this, (it’s been important) to be able to share that and be transparent. I know when I listen to people speak and they share their weaknesses, I’m listening. Because (it) resonates.
“So I’m not perfect. I’m not Superman. I might be in the NFL, I might have just won a Super Bowl, but, hey, we still have daily struggles, I still have daily struggles. And that’s where my faith comes in, that’s where my family comes in.
“I think when you look at a struggle in your life, just know that’s just an opportunity for your character to grow. And that’s just been the message. Simple. If something’s going on in your life and you’re struggling? Embrace it. Because you’re growing.”
Foles’ postseason was one of the greatest in NFL history. He completed 72.6 percent of his passes (second-highest ever), averaged 324 passing yards per game and threw more touchdowns (6) than he threw in the regular season (1).
His 113.2 career passer rating is highest in NFL postseason history.
The Eagles haven’t lost a game that Foles started and finished since 2014.
And he did what Jaws couldn’t do, what Randall couldn’t do, what Donovan couldn’t do.
He delivered a championship to Philadelphia.
Doug Pederson, a backup himself for most of his Eagles career, doubted every step of the way as a coach, can certainly relate to Foles’ journey.
“Nick has been the same guy that I can remember who we drafted,” he said Monday morning while accepting the Lombardi Trophy from Goodell.
“He doesn’t change. He doesn’t change at all. The things he did back then when we had him in Philadelphia to today? He’s just a better quarterback today, he’s a smarter quarterback today, he’s a veteran quarterback today.
“But Nick is Nick. He’s who he is. You just saw here how genuine he is. I have a lot of guys on that roster that are just like Nick. Very unselfish. Call them role players if you want, call them whatever you want. Call them backups.
“These guys helped us win this championship. My hat’s off to Nick for what he’s gone through, what he’s had to deal (with), what he’s had to block out these last two months.”