By Will Hall, Message Editor
After the Eagles’ comeback win in Super Bowl LII, Tony Dungy, a high-profile Christian and a Super Bowl champion coach now working as an NFL analyst with NBC Sports, said Philadelphia quarterback Nick Foles, a stand-in for the injured franchise quarterback Carson Wentz, had his head on straight.
He understands he is the backup, Dungy said, noting that Foles told him “This is Carson Wentz’s team.” But Foles also told Dungy, “God has me here for just this time.”
Foles is a student at Liberty University and plans to become a pastor after he eventually leaves the NFL.
But, Foles is not the only high profile Christian on the Eagles’ roster.
As team speakers came forward during interviews surrounding the presentation of the Lombardi Trophy, awarded to the winner of the NFL championship game, each offered some mention of their love of Christ.
Doug Pederson, who has strong Louisiana ties from playing for Northeast Louisiana University (now known as University of Louisiana Monroe) and coaching Calvary Baptist Academy, founded by Calvary Baptist Church in Shreveport, was bold in his testimony.
When asked by NBC sportscaster Dan Patrick how to explain that just nine years ago he was coaching high school football, Pederson did not hesitate: “I can only give the praise to my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for giving me this opportunity.”
Zach Ertz, the Eagles’ tight end who caught the game-winning touchdown, told Patrick that in the huddle he was thinking “I better score” when he heard the play call.
But, then he interjected, “Glory to God, first and foremost. We wouldn’t be here without him.”
The game’s Most Valuable Player Nick Foles was introduced next, and he repeated Patrick’s tongue in cheek comment, “Yeh, just another game,” before declaring enthusiastically, while holding baby daughter, Lily, “Unbelievable. All glory to God.”
Later, Jay Ajayi, the Eagles’ England-born running back, who became a force to be reckoned with in the Eagles’ backfield after being abruptly traded mid-season from Miami to Philadelphia, was like Foles in his spiritual perspective about his role with the team during his abbreviated season with the Eagles.
When Hall Of Fame running back LaDanian Tomlinson, now an NFL analyst, asked Ajayi to comment about going from “not knowing what to expect” after his treatment at Miami to now celebrating as a Super Bowl champ with the Eagles, Ajayi was short and sweet in his response.
“God always has a plan,” he said.
“You never know how the journey — where the road is going to lead. But for me the final destination was always to be a Super Bowl champion wherever I was at and I’m so grateful that it is in Philly, a team that’s a true family, a team that’s brothers that really care for one another, and I’m so grateful to be a part of it.”