The Eagles’ Nick Foles Gets No Respect

Philadelphia Eagle’s starting quarterback has a knack for winning games. So why doesn’t anyone take him seriously?

Two months ago, Nick Foles dressed up as a waiter to surprise a group of fantasy football players holding a draft in a Courtyard Marriott. He served drinks and appetizers and chatted for a while. It took a long time—longer than expected—for them to notice that he wasn’t Nick the waiter and was, in fact, Nick the quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles. It was a funny promotion for the hotel chain? Sure. It was also a little indicative of Foles’s that the starting QB for one of the most storied NFL franchises went unnoticed by a bunch of football fanatics—in Philly.

Drew Brees would have been recognized immediately. Tom Brady would have been spotted before he pulled into the hotel parking lot (normal people don’t look like that). Aaron Rodgers, ditto. Here’s the thing: None of those guys has Foles’s 5-1 record. None of those guys is winning as often as Foles. And none of those guys is getting the press Nick Foles is getting, which is to say that no one—much less a major city’s press core—is trying to explain away their victories.

Foles has been accused of lacking grit, but it’s possible his jawline is just less square, his body less compact. He doesn’t have to look determined because he wins and that’s his job. Yes, he keeps throwing interceptions, but he also keeps throwing touchdowns. The Eagles score. The Eagles win. The Eagles peck the Giants’ eyes out, pull down their trousers, and humiliate them in front of America. Then Nick Foles answers questions about turnovers. It’s not fair; it’s just football.

In the spirit of turning play around, Maxim talked to Foles about other people talking about Foles. He was calm about the whole thing, a bit more even keeled than we would have liked. But that’s his prerogative. As long as the Eagles are on top, it doesn’t matter if Foles seems more pecked than pecker.

You’ve been criticized a lot in the media of late. Do you just ignore it or does it not really register anymore?

It’s just part of it. At times, you wonder what’s going on, but I’ve been around in college and in the league so I’m used to it. We have involuntary media appointments, but I try to just keep my head on the field or in the locker room. I try not to watch or read too much.

So you don’t take it personally?

There’s always going to be something to improve on.

The scrutiny is pretty crazy for everyone in the NFL, but it seems even crazier in Philly.

It’s fun. The fans are intense. They’re critical, but they love their Eagles. If you know where they’re coming from, it’s easy to understand. And it can be a bit of an advantage at home.

And now you guys are frontrunners. Does that change the vibe?

We know each team is coming for us with a bit more energy, but we’re still being self critical and we know that we still need to improve. We do have a bullseye on our backs and we know that there are teams that will go for it on fourth, but that’s not a bad thing.

What are you focused on?

Ball security. My defense has been helping me out and stopping people. I know how to fix the problem, but it takes work. Fortunately, our guys are holding other teams to field goals or stopping them altogether.

They’ve been good to you. To you thank them when they help you out?

Whenever they get a stop you celebrate with them. The other night, I threw an interception and they got a stop so we celebrated. They tell me, “We’ll go stop ’em for you.” It’s like a brotherhood and you have to have each others’ backs. It’s about operating under the same philosophy instilled by the coaches.

You are one of the quarterbacks not named Brees or Brady that puts up big fantasy numbers. Your fantasy season has been impressive. Do people approach you and want to talk about their team?

I do get that a lot. I get that in Austin. Everybody plays now. It’s this whole crazy other thing.

Photos by Rich Schultz / Getty Images