COLUMN: Philadelphia Eagles are the heroes America needs
With their victory the over the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LII, the Philadelphia Eagles won their first championship and made their way into the hearts of Americans.
Other than beating the Patriots, the Eagles have done a lot to make themselves the heroes in this NFL story.
First, let’s look at defensive end Chris Long, who forced a fumble during the fourth quarter of the game and prevented the Patriots from scoring.
Off the field, Long has been outspoken about social issues and showed solidarity with black teammates during silent protests on the field.
Not to mention, Long donated his entire regular season salary — worth $1 million — to charities in Charlottesville, Philadelphia, Boston and St. Louis.
Long also said he won’t being going to the White House after the win, a tradition of Super Bowl champions.
“When my son grows up — and I believe the legacy of our president is going to be what it is — I don’t want him to say, ‘Hey dad, why’d you go when you knew the right thing was to not go,’” Long said, in a video released in 2017.
Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins and wide receiver Torrey Smith also said they would decline the invitation to the While House.
Nick Foles is another inspiration on the team.
The play-calling, touchdown-catching quarterback never should have made it to the Super Bowl.
He didn’t have a great college football career. Or a great NFL career.
At Michigan State, Foles threw eight passes — he completed five of them.
Arizona was no better for him.
He went undrafted.
After making his way into the NFL and bouncing around for a few years, Foles almost retired in 2015, only changing his mind after a camping trip with his brother.
When he finally found himself on the Eagles in 2017, it was as a backup.
Starting quarterback Carson Wentz suffered an injury in week 14, and it was then up to Foles to finish the season. He did so, and won a Super Bowl against one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time: New England’s Tom Brady.
“I think the big thing is don’t be afraid to fail. In our society today, with Instagram, and Twitter, it’s a highlight reel — it’s all the good things. Then, when you look at it, when you have a rough day or your life’s not as good as that, like, you’re failing. You know failure is a part of life… We all have weaknesses and I think throughout this, just being able to share that and being be transparent,” he said in a post-game press conference.
“When you look at a struggle in your life you know that’s just and opportunity for your character to grow. If something is going on in your life and you’re struggling embrace it.”
This team showed the country that happy endings really can happen.
They’re not limited to fairy tales.
Foles showed us failures should be learned from and weaknesses admitted.
Long showed us that it’s worth standing up for what we believe in, even if people don’t stand with you.
In a country obsessed with underdog stories, the Eagles are exactly what we needed — and we didn’t even know it.