For Super bowl 52, the Philadelphia Eagles won their first trophy in history, beating the Patriots 41-33. No one thought Nick Foles, the team’s quarterback would be the unsung hero of the game. Foles began the season as a backup quarterback. In spite of all the praise, Foles gives all credit and glory to God for his team’s first victory. In fact, many of the Eagles players put faith and family over football.
“All glory to God,” Foles said after the game as he held his baby girl, Lily. after last night’s victory, as he cradled his baby girl Lily. “To be here with my daughter, my wife, my teammates, this city….we’re very blessed.”
Many don’t know how close Foles was to giving up football for good to become a pastor. He shared this in a devotional with YouVersion last year. A revelation from God kept him on course.
“It took a lot more faith to come back and play than it would’ve to go in the other direction,” he admitted. “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.”
He said: “A lot of people don’t know this—I’m going to share this right now because I think it’s important. After my time with a certain NFL team, I wanted to retire. This was a year ago. I wanted to retire from the NFL, and I struggled. I couldn’t pick up a football for about eight months. I had no love for the game, and it was tough. But I kept reading scripture, I kept praying, and asking God.”
Fole’s football career hasn’t been without its challenges. He began as a starter. He was then traded, benched and then finally to backup quarterback. Foles explains how 2 Corinthians 12:9 has been a big verse for him the past couple of years during those rough times.
“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.’
“This verse has brought so much meaning to my heart and in my life.”
He still felt unsettled about leaving the game. Desperate, he began pleading for a sign. He needed something to give him direction as to what decision to make: “And so many of us ask God for signs. We ask God to show us, ‘Hey, please just put it on the wall, like I wanna know,’ but that’s not how it works,” said Foles. “He’s not always gonna do that. He can put something on your heart, but He’s not always gonna give you just a flat-out sign. As I read this verse, looking back, He was shaping me. He was bringing me down to my knees. I’ll never forget the moment when I decided that I had the heart to play football and I wanted to use the platform that God had given me to glorify Him with everything I have.”
This new outlook gave him the spirit and energy to once again love the game he once considered abandoning for good: “I remember praying to Him,” he recalls in his waiting period. “At that moment, through that prayer, He said, ‘Hey, just take a step of faith. You’re either going to stop playing the game of football, and you’re going to go onto a different area of your life, and I’m going to be with you, I’m going to be the most important thing in your life, or you’re going to step back into football, and you’re going to continue to play and I’m going to be with you every step of the way and you’re going to play to glorify me.”
“In that moment, I decided to go back into the game of football, and it was the greatest decision I ever made.”
Though returning to the game might have been the biggest decision he’s ever made, Foles hasn’t allowed it to shape his future: “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. 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.”
With faith ingrained in the eagles inner-workings, it’s no surprise that others have decided to follow in Fole’s footsteps. Stefen Wisniewski left guard for the Eagles, has plans to become a pastor once his football career is over.
“Guys like Nick and Wis can spit out scripture all day and it’s awesome to take in that knowledge,” commented teammate Kamu Grugier-Hill.
Foles enjoys using his good and bad life experiences to encourage students by using the word of the Lord: “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,” said Foles. “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.”
“It’s something I want to do; I can’t play football forever,” he added. “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.”
God bless Foles and his teammates for using their platforms for good. They know who’s responsible for their success and they aren’t afraid to shout out their praise.