Just how unlikely is it? Well, only two quarterbacks in the history of the NFL (Doug Williams and Jeff Hostetler) started three or fewer games during the regular season to go on and win the Super Bowl. Foles is the first backup to do it since Tom Brady (ironically) accomplished it 17 years ago.
Of course, what makes it even more unlikely is the fact that Foles almost quit the game of football only one and a half years ago.
So who is Foles, and what led to his incredible success?
He wasn’t a highly sought-after draft prospect coming out of college at Arizona. He was drafted in the third round by Andy Reid and the Eagles, where he began his career as a backup to Michael Vick. When given a shot with the Eagles in his rookie season, Foles played up and down before breaking his hand and being placed on injured reserve.
His career began to fall apart at the St. Louis Rams in 2015. He struggled with a new coach and a new system and was benched in favor of Case Keenum. Then, the Rams drafted Jared Goff first overall, ensuring that Foles would likely never see the field again for the Rams. He was released after only one season with the Rams.
At only 27 years old, Foles’ career was at a crossroads. It was then that he seriously considered hanging up his cleats. Start all over with a new team, learn a new system and likely swallow his pride to be someone’s backup? Or walk away from the game he loved because some called him a failure?
“That was the greatest thing in the world for me because it changed my perspective,” Foles said after arriving in Minnesota the week of the Super Bowl. “It changed my heart, and I realize how grateful I am to be here.”
He decided not to retire. Although several teams called, there was only one real choice: backup quarterback with the Chiefs for the 2016 season, reuniting with his former Eagles head coach Andy Reid. After one season here, Foles rejoined the Eagles in March, signing a two-year contract to back up starting QB Carson Wentz.
Foles could never have expected that Wentz would suffer a torn ACL in week 14, or that he’d be taking over the reins for one of the best teams in the NFL. But he was ready. And he took the opportunity and ran with it. The rest is cemented in history, as he played remarkably in the playoffs, including beating one of the best dynasty teams in NFL history.
Think of all the things Foles would have missed had he quit when things didn’t go his way. Think of his regret today had he not allowed Andy Reid, a coach and friend he trusted, to pick him up when he needed it most. He would have missed out on the experience of a lifetime and success that only a few taste.
That’s a lesson we can learn from. Things won’t always be easy, but remember your goals when they seem impossible. Find the person who won’t let you quit. Stick with it.
As Foles stood for his interview as Super Bowl MVP, he could have told us that he knew all along he would make it here. He could have told us how he deserved to be on this stage, that he never lost belief in himself, that he never doubted his abilities.
He could have told us that, but he didn’t. Because as he knew more than anyone, those things wouldn’t be true. Instead, he reminded us how close he was to giving up.
It’s okay to doubt yourself at times, but hang in there. You never know when things are about to turn around and when it will be your chance to compete with and beat the very best.