BLOOMINGTON, Minn. — Nick Foles almost retired from football. He decided against it and ended up as the starting quarterback in Super Bowl LII.
That should be the dream story, except Foles really doesn’t buy it. Sure, he’s happy to be starting for the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday. He also would have been happy on the other path he considered, which was becoming a pastor. He took online seminary classes through Liberty University last offseason.
“A lot of people look at this moment and say, ‘Wow, aren’t you super excited that you made that decision and you’re in the Super Bowl, what if you wouldn’t have?’” Foles said Thursday. “But I look at it this way: It wasn’t a matter of that. I’m grateful to be up here, I’m grateful to have this opportunity to speak and play in this game, but at the same time, if I would have made the other decision my life wouldn’t have been a loss. I would have gone and done something else and glorified God in that instance.”
Foles has been calm all week, even as one of the centers of attention for this Super Bowl. The only time he really showed any emotion was when he got choked up talking about his young daughter. He might be the right guy for this big moment because football clearly doesn’t consume him.
Foles said he prayed about whether to return for another season. He had a wonderful 2013 season but since then had become a backup bouncing around to different teams. He decided to come back — he said he loved football and being a part of a team — and signed with the Eagles. Even after he took over for injured Carson Wentz and led the Eagles to the Super Bowl, Foles doesn’t look at continuing his football career as some fortunate event.
“Either way, it would have been fine,” Foles said.
Foles said he enjoys talking to high school and middle school kids, sharing his experiences and helping them. He said he wants to be a pastor in a high school some day.
“In my heart, that’s what I want to do,” Foles said. “I can’t play football forever.”
Foles has spoken often this week about his faith, as have other Eagles like Wentz and offensive coordinator Frank Reich. The Super Bowl provides a unique platform, especially for a starting quarterback, and maybe in that way Foles was fortunate to keep playing.
“It’s crazy how it has all unfolded, but God has had a plan for him through this whole thing, and he knows that,” Wentz said.
While it would be a scary situation for a team to go into a Super Bowl with a quarterback who was a backup less than two months ago, the Eagles have confidence in Foles because his demeanor never changes.
“Nothing rattles Nick at all,” quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo said. “He can be going through a tough stretch, going through a tough couple series, and he’s the same guy when he’s throwing four touchdowns. That’s a unique quality to have as a quarterback in the National Football League.
“With Nick, you don’t have to worry about this stage being too big for him. He’s a main of great faith, and he has a ton of confidence in himself.”
Being at this point in his football career hasn’t changed Foles’ off-field focus. In between questions Thursday about what it will mean to run out of the tunnel at the Super Bowl and play in the biggest sporting event of this year, he talked about taking more seminary classes and being excited to see where that journey takes him.
“Every time I play the game, every time I speak, it’s to glorify Him,” Foles said.
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