ELLEN: You did these [post-Super Bowl] interviews afterwards, and you talked about failures, which I love that you did that. People would say ‘Why?’ but explain why.
FOLES: I think, just … I spoke from the heart. I spoke from my experience. I was going to stop playing the game two years ago. There were different things that were going on in my life, my wife and I. And my career as well to where I had lost the joy of the game. And I can’t do something unless my heart’s in it, especially the game of football. That’s a seven day a week job. You’ve got everyone depending on you. When you play quarterback, you’re in the huddle. You’re doing everything. If I don’t love this, and it’s not in my heart, I can’t do it. And I didn’t touch a football for a long time.
You know, then I had my family there to support [me], my wife there to support me through it all. My wife wrote me a letter, and in the letter she just talked about wanting me to go back and play, but not to be out there and play, but because she knew I wasn’t finished yet. That she knew that I had so much going on in my heart, that I had to face my fear basically. Because it was almost paralyzing to go back and play. And I prayed about it, and I realized the tougher decision, the thing I was more afraid of, was to go back and play. I would have been fine going a different way in life. I would’ve done whatever and helped people in any which way possible. But I know to make more growth, I had to go back in and face that fear and face my failures. And I did it, and there was never an ‘ah-ha’ moment. It was a tough decision. And when I took a step in that faith, I still was like ‘This is going to be tough, I don’t know if this is the right decision.’
But I did it and it was the fourth day of training camp with the Kansas City Chiefs where all of a sudden, like, a veil was lifted and the joy came back into my heart. I remember I broke down one morning. I was journaling and, you know, I always read the Bible in the morning and journal, and I remember just crying because I was like ‘I love the game of football again.’ But it was a different feel. It was a totally different feel because what I had gone through. It was those failures.
As athletes, we have the opportunity to speak about it, because I feel like athletes, we try to be perfect. And we’re not. We fail just like anyone else. We have issues like anyone else. We have life. Life happens. And it’s okay to share those things because I think that’s what makes us strong, is overcoming those failures.
This is some real inspirational stuff. Foles was ready to give up his football dreams but, thanks to his support system, he didn’t. And then he went on to become the Super Bowl MVP. That’s about as storybook as you can get.
It’s real interesting to think about how much Foles has changed since his first stint with the Eagles. In his final start before being traded to the Rams, Foles was only 25 years old. Now the 29-year-old is married and has a daughter. He’s really matured, and it shows. He constantly brings up his family in press conferences. You can see has a new perspective on life.
Foles’ message about failure here doesn’t just apply to him. That was a common theme with the 2017 Eagles and it’s part of what made them so great. A big reason why this team had so many doubters, as highlighted in Jason Kelce’s epic rant, is because this team consisted of a lot of failures. Kelce really struggled for two seasons before this year. Foles flamed out in St. Louis. Nelson Agholor was a total bust prior to this season. Howie Roseman lost control of personnel power in 2015. And so on.
But these guys didn’t their failure define them. They didn’t give up. Instead, they worked hard to prove everyone wrong. And that’s exactly what they did. Failure ultimately made them stronger.
I think the Eagles’ 2017 season might change how we think about things. And not just as it pertains to football, but life in general. Maybe we shouldn’t be so quick to write people off. Maybe we need to have more patience.
Something to think about, at least.
You can watch more of Foles’ interview with Ellen here: