My best friend in high school was a huge Philadelphia Eagles fan. Naturally, I grew to hate the team. One of my cruelest sports moments was when I called him after the Eagles’ defeat in Super Bowl XXXIX to rub the loss in his face.
Strangely though, I have grown to like the Eagles over the past two years because they have stuck by their backup quarterback. That standard is also the reason I detest the Denver Broncos since they were willing to throw away Tim Tebow.
I never liked Tebow. One of my biggest sports disappointments is that the world never got to see Colt McCoy and the Longhorns defeat Tebow in the 2008 BCS National Championship. I hate how pious Tebow is and that I look like a jerk for hating an all-around great human being. I detest the fact that he was a terrible quarterback who won games on the back of a strong defense and sheer luck.
But if that guy had been my quarterback, I would have hypocritically loved him because he had a divine ability to win games. At the end of the day, that is all that matters in the NFL.
Yet John Elway was willing to move on from Tebow for Peyton Manning. Trading a guy who cannot throw an accurate pass for a future Hall-of-Famer is a smart decision, but it is also a greedy one. If there was any karma in the world, the Broncos would have become an accursed franchise.
And that prediction seemed to come true after the Broncos were destroyed by the Seahawks in Super Bowl XLVIII. But that was a one-off fluke. Denver shook off any bad karma and would win the championship only two years later with a decrepit version of Peyton Manning against the Carolina Panthers. Throwing away Tebow should have been a Bambino-level curse on the franchise, but the truth is God does not care about sports.
On the other hand, the Eagles stuck by Nick Foles after winning the last Super Bowl. Foles may be the best quarterback in the moment, but he is not a better QB overall than Carson Wentz. The rational move would have been to trade the Super Bowl MVP away during the offseason at the peak of his value. Instead, the team kept him on the roster and, more importantly, revised his contract to pay him more because it was the right thing to do for the man that won the city their first Super Bowl.
And that slightly irrational decision to keep a huge trade asset has paid off for the Eagles. The team played with confidence in the last weeks of the season. And it may have taken an improbable field goal miss by the Chicago Bears, but Philadelphia still beat the better team in the wild card round. With Nick Foles under center, maybe they can go all the way again. And over the next offseason, Foles may leave. He deserves to start somewhere. But I love the fact that the Eagles cared enough to run it back one more year.
The universe is usually a heartless bitch. Denver made a logical decision with Tebow, and it worked out for them. Philadelphia made an emotional one with Foles, and that is why they deserve to win because you do not watch sports in order to see cold, rational decisions. You do it because you want to see an underdog pull of the improbable. You do it because you want to see a team with chemistry beat a collection of superstars. You do it because you want to see a backup go Super Saiyan. That is not what you usually get, but it is what you want. And that’s why you should root for Big Dick Nick.