Philly Sports Talk

Tell me what you want … what you really, really want.

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In the 53 seasons that have passed since the Eagles could last call themselves NFL champions, a parade of quarterbacks of varying value have passed through this city. For every Sonny Jurgensen, a Doug Pederson. For every Randall Cunningham, a Joe Pisarcik. For every Donovan McNabb, a Bubby Brister. Over the last decade, watching the likes of Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees and the Manning brothers raise the Lombardi Trophy, this fan base has become obsessed with the most important position in sports.

As the 2013 season dawned, new coach Chip Kelly had chosen Michael Vick to helm his offense and the consensus in town was that the QB that would define Kelly’s tenure here was not on this team. After a 1-3 and a 3-5 start to the season that included significant time on the field for Vick, Nick Foles and rookie Matt Barkley, the sports-radio airwaves were flooded with projections of the 2014 NFL Draft. Would Kelly target his Oregon QB Marcus Mariota? Would 2012 Heisman winner Johnny Manziel declare and could he be a viable NFL QB? What about Louisville’s Teddy Bridgewater or that Mettenberger kid from LSU?

While that debate raged, something entirely unexpected happened. The aforementioned Mr. Foles put together the most statistically impressive month of football in the history of the NFL. Kelly’s offense, the success of which seemed to be predicated on a mobile quarterback, began to amass yardage and roll up points at an astounding rate with the statuesque and heavy-footed Foles in charge.

Naturally, there were as many voices anointing Foles as the savior as there were denouncing him as a flash-in-the-pan whose numbers were the result of a weak schedule and a gimmicky system. One of the ‘go to’ claims of the Foles doubters was that he was not ‘a Franchise QB’.  This was fed by a perceived lack of ’pedigree’ and an unimpressive (3rd round, 88th overall) draft position.  Ask Ryan Leaf, Alex Smith, Drew Bledsoe and Matt Stafford when Tom Brady, Joe Montana and Kurt Warner were picked and they’ll tell you all you need to know about ‘pedigree’.  The prevailing logic seemed to be that only a franchise quarterback could be capable of winning the last game of the season. Certainly the list above of recent Super Bowl winners serves as fuel for that argument. But, in life, there are few such absolutes.

It would serve Eagle fans well to take a minute and focus on the object of their greatest desire.  Do you want a franchise quarterback or do you want to parade the Vincent T. Lombardi trophy down Broad Street to the Linc?  Contrary to widely held belief, you can have one of these without the other.

From these two lists, who would you rather have had under Center?

Dan Marino                                              Jeff Hostetler

Dan Fouts                                                 Mark Rypien

Warren Moon                                              Trent Dilfer

Jim Kelly                                                  Brad Johnson

Fran Tarkenton                                        Jim McMahon

Donovan McNabb                                        Jim Plunkett

Sure, this is a classic case of using selective examples to prove your point.  But, there is a point to be proven.  The guys on the left gave their teams and their fans years of exciting football, big wins and high hopes.  The guys on the right WON THE SUPER BOWL.  After 53 years, that has to be our priority.

Is Foles is the guy to get it done?  That remains to be seen.  But, his performance this year, amassing a QB ratio near 120.0 and leading this team back to the playoffs, has earned him the right to be the guy for at least the next few years.

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