Philadelphia, You Have a Franchise Quarterback

Posted: November 11, 2013 in Uncategorized
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In 1997, Bobby Hoying took The City of Brotherly Love by storm. The second year pro out of Ohio State was a decorated collegiate phenom as a Buckeye in the mid-1990s. In 1996, the Philadelphia Eagles made Hoying their third round pick. Ray Rhodes, still toiling with the stopgap duo of Rodney Peete and Ty Detmer at quarterback, tabbed the 24-year old as the quarterback of the future. A year after he was drafted, Hoying was thrust into the spotlight. During garbage time of a brutal 24-12 Monday Night Football loss to the San Francisco 49ers; the second year pro tossed his first touchdown pass. The six yard strike to future Pro Bowler Chad Lewis was believed, for a short time, to be the dawn of a new era at the quarterback position in Philadelphia.

Over the next four games, Hoying would show glimpses of greatness. With arresting arm strength and profound poise, the youngster would begin his career 2-0-1 in his first three starts, including a remarkable 26-42, 313 yards, 4 touchdown performance in a memorable victory over the Cincinnati Bengals. Merrill Reese, the longtime voice of the Eagles, was awestruck by what he was witnessing. “Ladies and gentlemen, you have a quarterback,” raved the bemused broadcaster. At the time, it appeared as though Bobby Hoying would be the quarterback to lead the Eagles into the new millennium.

As we all know, this fairytale remained just that. Hoying, who began his career by throwing seven touchdowns and one interception, would throw just four more in the final four games of the 1997 season. Named the starter to begin 1998, Hoying’s career collapsed. With the offensive line in front of him resembling deli-fresh swiss cheese (except not nearly as appealing), Hoying was sacked 35 times in 8 games. When he wasn’t on his back, Hoying was running for his life. This, coupled with the third-year pro’s penchant for holding onto the ball for too long, contributed to a disastrous 1-6 record that season. Hoying, who finished 1997 as one of the league’s brightest young signal-callers, never threw another touchdown in the NFL. A year later, Donovan McNabb was drafted, Hoying was dealt to Oakland, and the rest was history.

In the words of Doc Brown; let’s “go back to the future!”

A third round pick in 2012, Nick Foles was considered by many to be one of the more promising mid-round sleepers in the draft. A talented player, Foles would find himself stuck in the shadows of collegiate superstars Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III, Brandon Weeden, and Russell Wilson. Still, most analysts viewed him as a solid prospect with the potential to be a bonafide NFL starter. Few would have predicted this miraculous a beginning to the “kid’s” NFL career. The second year pro continues to have his doubters. But, when the numbers are looked into further, it becomes quite clear that Foles is more than just another flash-in-the-pan like Hoying was 15 years ago.

Foles has now played in 14 games in midnight green; which makes him the equivalent to a rookie in the NFL. So, how does he compare to other quarterbacks in their first 14 games? Below is a grouping of stat lines from the first fourteen games in the careers of five quarterbacks currently playing in the NFL. One is Nick Foles, one is a perennial Pro Bowler, and three are superstar former MVP winners.

QB #1: 247-384 (64%), 2645 yards, 17 TD – 10 INT
QB #2: 269-440 (60%), 2783 yards, 13 TD – 15 INT
QB #3: 249-390 (63%), 2748 yards, 17 TD – 8 INT
QB #4: 247-301 (62%), 2955 yards, 22 TD – 5 INT
QB #5: 286-502 (56%), 3179 yards, 24 TD – 25 INT

Go ahead, take a guess at who they are. The answer key, you ask?

QB #1: Tom Brady (2001)
QB #2: Drew Brees (2000-’01)
QB #3: Philip Rivers (2004-’05)
QB #4: Nick Foles (2012-’13)
QB #5: Peyton Manning (1998)

Were your guesses correct? Something tells me that, unless you’re Peter King, they probably weren’t. That’s right, Nick Foles has better numbers through his first 14 career appearances than Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Philip Rivers, and Peyton Manning. Of course, this does nothing to guarantee that his success will continue. However, Foles has shown a propensity to learn on the job and is clearly the better option in the short and long term than Michael Vick. Will Nick Foles end up better than Rivers? Maybe not. Will he usurp Brees, Brady, and Manning in the history books? Incredibly doubtful. Will he fizzle out like Hoying did so many years ago? That might, in fact, be the most unlikely scenario.

This Austin, Texas native has succeeded at a young age where others have failed. He is the franchise. He is the future. He is our quarterback. With Foles, the city finally has a hope, a glimmer in their eye, and a belief that one day, this surfer haired gunslinger will finally bring the Lombardi Trophy home to Philadelphia.

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