Starting out the season as a backup quarterback, nobody expected Nick Foles to be a postseason hero that would lead the Philadelphia Eagles to a 41-33 victory over the Patriots, marking the first Super Bowl win in the team’s history.
But in spite of being showered with praise by fans and teammates alike, Foles is one Eagles player—similar to his band of Bible-believing brothers—that redirects the glory to God first and foremost.
“All glory to God,” Foles said 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.”
With a Twitter bio simply reading, “Believer in Jesus Christ, husband, father, son, brother,” it’s unquestionable that the QB humbly puts his faith and family above football in every circumstance.
But what most people don’t know is just how close Foles was to give up the game he loved for good.
“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.”
In a 2017 devotional with YouVersion, Foles opened up to viewers about how he nearly quit his football career, shortly before a revelation from God that kept him on the course:
“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 really 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.”
After going from a starter to being traded, benched, and then backup quarterback, Foles has certainly seen his fair share of turbulence throughout his career.
He explains that 2 Corinthians 12:9 has been a big verse for him the past couple of years through his ups and downs with the NFL:
“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 says.
But there was still a deep unsettling in his soul about this major decision to leave the game.
Out of desperation for answers, Foles even tried pleading for signs—ANYTHING that would give him direction on the right 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.”
Foles says it gave him a “completely revigorated outlook” on the game that he was nearly ready to quit.
“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.”
After waiting since 1960 for a championship, not a single diehard Eagles fan could disagree.
But while that may have been the greatest decision Foles has made to this point, it certainly doesn’t define his big-picture plans for the future.
“I want to be a pastor in a high school,” he said on Thursday. “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.”
As part of an NFL team that’s as deeply ingrained in the Christian faith as they are football, this dream comes as no surprise. Stefen Wisniewski, left guard for the Eagles, plans to be a pastor as well once his career ends.
“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 has a passion for using his life experiences (both good and bad) to encourage students through the Word of God.
“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.”
Amidst a nation that worships at the altar of football and Super Bowl rings, all the praise to this quarterback-turned-preacher for using his platform to make the name of Jesus famous.