Before Sunday, the last Eagles quarterback to win an NFL championship game was Norm Van Brocklin. This was in 1960, before the Super Bowl era, and Van Brocklin was capping off his second stint in the league—he had come back to the NFL after working for a pipeline coating company following a short-lived retirement in 1958. Three weeks after winning the championship, Van Brocklin left the Eagles to become the head coach of the Minnesota Vikings. While that specific opportunity won’t be available to Philadelphia’s current world champion quarterback, Nick Foles’ future is still pretty wide open.
The Eagles are blessed with a champagne problem with rarified terroir. Carson Wentz, their starting quarterback, was on track to become the league’s MVP before he hurt his knee in Week 14. Young, talented, and very much the future of the franchise, Wentz should get his job back as soon as he recovers. The league may be in the midst of a quarterback talent drought, but the Eagles are blessed to find themselves with a spare starter who happens to be the Super Bowl MVP. At the risk of provoking any more property damage, I’d say that this fact alone is reason enough for Philadelphia to celebrate.
The Eagles can either keep Nick Foles or trade him, and both options are worth considering.
Carson Wentz isn’t rehabbing from a hangnail; he tore his ACL. The timeline for that recovery process can be murky (just ask Derrick Rose), and you certainly don’t want to rush it (just ask Robert Griffin III). Hypothetically, if Wentz needs a full year to recover, he wouldn’t be ready to take the field until just before next season’s playoffs. But even if he does start under center come Week 1, it’s nice to have an insurance policy who just threw for 373 yards and 3 touchdowns on the biggest possible stage.
Of course, that’s also why they’d be crazy to keep him.
Foles was magnificent in Super Bowl LII. He hurled pinpoint long bombs, converted on high-stakes 4th downs, and even caught a touchdown pass himself for good measure. Simply put, he looked like one of the best quarterbacks on Earth. Foles is under contract with Philadelphia for one more year and, at 29 years old, he is by no means ancient. One hundred million people just watched his evening of very convincing Joe Montana roleplay, and his value will never be higher. Keeping him as a backup would be like using a Stradivarius to swat flies. NFL GMs will offer their first-born sons to the Eagles’ front office for a chance to sign Foles, but Philly shouldn’t even pick up the phone unless those heirs are packaged with first-round draft picks. Foles’ stock has never been higher and doesn’t have much further up to go before he becomes a free agent.
Only fans get the luxury of mixing sentimentality with sports. For everyone else, it’s a business, and the Eagles have no choice but to start thinking about their quarterbacks’ futures. Philadelphia’s laundry was still soggy with champagne on Monday when a reporter brought up the issue with Eagles head coach Doug Pederson. “We’re just going to enjoy this moment,” he said, evading the question of whether Foles will be competing with Wentz for the starting job next season. “I’m happy for Nick. I’m happy for the team. It’s not about one guy. It’s about the team, and like I said we’re going to enjoy these next few days.”
It’s a good but difficult situation to be in, which is why the team should focus on easy decisions now, like choosing a location to build the Nick Foles statue. Who cares if his countenance doesn’t exactly lend itself to classical statuary? After more than a half-century of futility, the Eagles owe it to the man who finally secured a Super Bowl, that most desired and elusive of championships.
After all, the city erected a statue of Rocky Balboa, who, unlike Foles, is not a real person and (again, unlike Foles) lost in the main event. Building a 15-foot-tall marble Foles outside of Lincoln Financial Field is but a small way to say thank you. Get it done, Philly, while he’s still around to pose for the sculptor.
One more thing
You depend on Slate for sharp, distinctive coverage of the latest developments in politics and culture. Now we need to ask for your support.
Our work is more urgent than ever and is reaching more readers—but online advertising revenues don’t fully cover our costs, and we don’t have print subscribers to help keep us afloat. So we need your help. If you think Slate’s work matters, become a Slate Plus member. You’ll get exclusive members-only content and a suite of great benefits—and you’ll help secure Slate’s future.Join Slate Plus