Eagles Wake-Up Call: Bissinger On Foles
Nick Foles is on the cover of the most recent edition of Philadelphia Magazine, and inside is a profile of the Eagles quarterback by Buzz Bissinger.
Bissinger traveled to Foles’ home town to get a sense of what he was like before he went on to Michigan State and Arizona, eventually landing in Philadelphia.
We thought the profile might be of interest to this audience, so below is the first part. You have to grab the magazine to read the rest.
(We don’t make the rules, but c’mon – $9.90 for the year? That’s the best deal in town! And yes, I’m a company man).
Anyway, here’s the snippet:
Within the physical layout of Westlake High School is a space referred to as the Commons, with an insignia of a W in the middle of the floor. It was a hangout for seniors when Nick Foles was in his final year there in 2006. In the social pecking order at Westlake, the cooler you were, the more you gravitated to the middle.
That was the observation of Bron Hager. Hager was a latecomer to Westlake, which is located about 20 minutes west of downtown Austin. He had transferred in as a junior from a small private school, and the transition hadn’t been easy. Maybe he was too obsessed with cool, and the middle of the Commons was, well, the middle of the Commons. But Hager noticed something else about the middle: the one person who never wanted to be there.
In a school of remarkable achievement and affluence, Nick Foles perfectly fit the Westlake socioeconomic profile and was its BMOC. He was the quarterback of its football team, the Chaparrals, on their way to the Texas state championship game in the highest 5-A classification. He was equally gifted in basketball; he’d started as a freshman. His girlfriend, Lauren Farmer, was a standout cheerleader and homecoming queen. Nick Foles was the middle.
But Foles pawed around the edges. The only middle he was interested in was a football huddle, and even there, he led by the example of his toughness and arm, which gave receivers chest bruises. He cannoned balls 60 yards flat-footed, and had stand-up pocket presence. He never yelled. The idea of him trash-talking was unthinkable. He had an almost pathological aversion to drawing attention to himself, as if it was sinful. He didn’t have the requisite personality for it, anyway.
The truth was, Nick Foles was something of a nerd, a guy who hung around with a small posse of mostly non-football nerds — eggheads, kids who would go on to careers in finance and private equity and engineering. A hot Saturday night was getting together at his house to play video games like Call of Duty, or hanging out at Zilker Park on the shores of Lady Bird Lake. “Dude, come on, you’re the quarterback, go out and have some fun,” high-school teammate Matt Nader pleaded with him, fruitlessly.
He was the kid you wanted dating your daughter, because he would have her home at 9:30 after you said 10. He was socially awkward, with a naive and goofy sense of humor. He dressed as if he had never seen clothes before. His hair was oddly styled in an ersatz pageboy, curling below his ears like a drainage ditch and covering his forehead in uneven wisps, thin grime on a windshield. His face was a cup of Napoleon Dynamite and a tablespoon of golly-gee-willikers and a teaspoon of Gomer Pyle. He tried at school, and even took Latin.
During his senior spring-break trip to Mexico, while most everyone else spent the afternoon recovering from drinking, he jogged, because there was nothing for him to recover from. He threw a football around with a kid from the Austin area. When Nick asked the kid to name his favorite player, he said, “Nick Foles!” But the kid didn’t recognize that he was having a catch with the actual Nick Foles. And Nick Foles was too reticent to tell him.
To read the rest of this story, buy the July 2014 issue of Philadelphia magazine, on newsstands now, or subscribe today.
WHAT YOU MISSED
Speaking of Foles, league insiders are unwilling to place him in the upper echelon of QBs. One compared him to Kerry Collins and Jake Delhomme.
Is an Evan Mathis holdout during training camp possible? T-Mac explores.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
Sam Donnellon of the Daily News on Lane Johnson:
The truth is that we just don’t care anymore. Or at least we just don’t care as much, or we’ll convince ourselves of almost anything that protects the sanctity of our autumn Sundays. Whether these guys are adding strength, speed and girth through allowed methods such as protein shakes or Creatine – which some in the medical industry fear can lead to kidney and/or heart problems – or through the long list of cocktails on the banned list, the undeniable fact is that a football locker room looks less human and more Marvel Comics every year.
And we’re OK with that.
Zach Berman of the Inquirer was asked in his chat about how many WRs he thinks will make the team:
My guess is 5 or 6, depending on special teams/injuries. Maclin, Cooper, Matthews, and Huff will make the roster. I think Brad Smith makes the team. Then others such as Benn, Maehl, Cunningham and rookies will compete for it.
We’ll get you something before you depart for the long weekend. Barbecue at McManus’ house tomorrow. Who’s bringing the veggie burgers for me?