Nick Foles, The Rollercoaster. Between seven and nine backup quarterbacks have won the Super Bowl, depending on who you ask. That’s a large number considering that there have been only 53 Super Bowls, and most have featured two quarterbacks who entered that season as a starter. But most of those backups haven’t gone through anything like Foles has.
In some cases, a backup started in the Super Bowl simply because a team’s coaching staff thought it was the right decision. The most famous example is Doug Williams, who led Washington to victory in Super Bowl XXII after making two starts during the 1987 regular season.
Foles has had the most soap-opera career of any backup quarterback since Matt Saracen. In a span of just 7 seasons, he’s experienced a whirlwind of stunning successes, bitter betrayals, and dramatic reunions.
His first professional action led to the longest-tenured coach in the NFL getting fired. The Eagles selected Foles in the third round of the 2012 draft, pairing him with head coach Andy Reid and quarterbacks coach Doug Pederson. He started six games as a rookie, Philly sputtered to a 4-12 finish, and the entire regime got the ax.
Nick Foles super star in the making?
Foles’s second head coach seemed like he could make the quarterback a star. Under Chip Kelly, Foles led the NFL in passer rating, touchdown percentage, and yards per attempt in 2013, earning a Pro Bowl nod in the process. But things quickly went south. He threw 10 interceptions in 2014, and Kelly gave up on him. After wrangling control of personnel duties away from Howie Roseman—the general manager responsible for drafting Foles—Kelly shipped Foles to St. Louis in the 2015 trade that netted the Eagles Sam Bradford.
Things only got worse from there. Going from Kelly to Rams head coach Jeff Fisher was the equivalent of going from a Lamborghini to a 1979 Ford Pinto. Just two seasons after tying an NFL record by throwing seven touchdowns in one game against the Raiders, Foles threw for seven scores in an entire season. The Rams traded up to take Jared Goff with the no. 1 overall pick in the 2016 draft, and Foles asked for his release. He even considered retirement, citing a loss of “love for the game.”
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