An Open Thank You to Nick Foles
You didn’t have to, Nick, but we’re grateful you did.
As the hangover of victory begins to settle in Philly on this February morning after our citywide celebration, one thought sticks out in my mind: you didn’t have to.
When you were seriously considering retiring from the NFL, you didn’t have to push forward.
When you were offered a two-year contract to return to the Eagles last year, a franchise that had already let you go once before, you didn’t have to sign it.
When Carson Wentz, the quarterback our city had invested all of its hope in, went down with a torn ACL, you didn’t have to step up.
But you did, Nick. You did. And we couldn’t be more grateful.
During the playoffs and in the weeks leading up to Super Bowl LII, the city buzzed with an energy that I’ve never experienced before. I saw complete strangers passing each other on the street strike up conversations about Philly’s chances. I saw bar crowds randomly break out into renditions of the Eagles fight song, regardless of the fact football wasn’t on TV. I saw our city’s homeless decorate signs with the words “GO EAGLES!”
It seemed everyone was smiling. It seemed everyone was kinder. It seemed everyone had hope.
And you didn’t let us down.
While the Eagles faced a number of critical injuries this year — Jason Peters, Jordan Hicks, Darren Sproles (to name a few) — Wentz’s was the most devastating. The man led us through an impossible season, captivating the entire Philly region and stoking a fire that hadn’t burned so bright in years. When it was announced that he would not return, we were crushed.
When you took the field in Wentz’s place, many were skeptical of your abilities. With every game you played, critics seemed more and more certain that you would blow it. We became the underdogs, a distinction that we’ve greedily embraced. At times we saw you struggle, but you got the job done. As your confidence on the field seemed to grow, so did our faith in you.
Now, you’re our worthy Super Bowl MVP, a recognition you’ve humbly accepted, always ensuring that Doug Pederson, the entire Eagles team, and Eagles staff get the credit they rightly deserve.
But you uniquely represent something about this victory that means so much to the people of Philadelphia. Just as you were often doubted, we as a city have been doubted. Just as your reputation has suffered, our reputation has suffered. You have been deemed an unlikely champion, just like us.
We could not have asked a more fitting hero to bring home our first Super Bowl win.
It’s a victory charged with emotion, as we witnessed during the celebration yesterday. Between the high fives and applause, we saw tears and embraces. Through the sea of green, we noticed longtime fans carrying the ashes of loved ones — the mothers and fathers, husbands and wives, sisters and brothers — who eagerly awaited this moment but would not get to see it alive.
Words will never be able to express how much this title means to us.
So Nick, no matter what you choose to do with your career, whether you stay an Eagle or not, we will never forget you and what you did for this city.
A grateful fan