Super Bowl LII saw an unlikely hero rise to become the Most Valuable Player on sports’ grandest stage. That man, Eagles quarterback Nick Foles, draws strength from his Christian humility and plans to do God’s work after his career in the NFL.
“I want to be a pastor in a high school. It’s on my heart. I took a leap of faith last year and signed up to take classes at seminary,” Foles recently said. “I wanted to continue to learn and challenge my faith. It’s a challenge because you are writing papers that are biblically correct. You want to impact people’s hearts.”
“When I speak to (students), that’s such a time of young men and young women’s lives that there’s a lot of things that are thrown at them. So much temptation in this world, so much going on with social media and the internet that you want to talk to them and address it. And, share all the weaknesses I have because I’ve fallen many times.”
From Humble Beginnings
The sports world has grown accustomed to top professional players having a pedigree that dates back to high school. The Lebron James’ and Michael Phelp’s of the world are household names and enjoyed early success. Such was not the case with now-Super Bowl champion Nick Foles.
Coming out of Westlake High School in Austin, Foles was only modestly recruited despite being a 6’6” two-sport athlete. He attended Michigan State and only appeared in a single game before transferring to Arizona in 2008. In 2010, he led the team to a 7-1 record and would throw for more than 4,000 yards in his final college season. Those efforts, however, earned him underdog status from NFL scouts. While quarterback is a highly sought-after position, Foles fell into the third round before being drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles in 2012.
Almost immediately the Super Bowl hero discovered just how competitive the National Football League was. After two seasons with the Eagles, he found himself in St. Louis, then Kansas City and the Eagles only resigned him to be a backup this year. He had become a career journeyman known by fans for hot or cold play.
Before the season, Foles confided in one of his biggest emotional supporters, Tony Dungy. The former coach now working as a sports commentator connected with Foles in terms of Christian faith.
“I think as people, we deal with struggles,” Foles said after the Super Bowl. “And that was a moment in my life where I thought about it, and I prayed about it. I’m grateful that I made the decision to come back and play.”
“It took a lot more faith to come back and play than it would’ve to go in the other direction,” Foles said. “Either way would’ve been fine. Either way, I would’ve trusted in God. I would’ve done something else and glorified God in that instance.”
Rather than quit before the 2017 season, Foles leaned on fellow Christian teammates, including starting QB Carson Wentz. Eagles team leaders developed a core Christian foundation through prayer and faith that took everyone to unexpected heights.
A group of team members reportedly attended Bible study together every Monday night. On Thursdays, the team took Bible study. On nights before NFL games, they prayed together as a team and talked about the Gospel. Players shared their personal struggles and bonded in a close-knit fellowship. One might say that Foles and the Eagles formed a team church that gave them strength.
Life after Football
Foles is acutely aware that professional football careers are generally short-lived. At 29 years old, he may have another five or six years before his athletic skills wane. Quarterbacks tend to last longer than other positions. But every athlete understands they are just one injury away from retirement and Foles has taken steps toward continuing God’s work.
“I can’t play football forever,” Foles reportedly said. “I’ve been blessed with an amazing platform and it’s just a door God has opened. But I still have a lot of school left and a long journey.”
Foles is currently working on his religious education by taking Liberty University Online classes. He remains humble after attaining the highest achievement in professional football.
“I wouldn’t be out here without God, without Jesus in my life,” Foles said.
~ Christian Patriot Daily