Eagles Wake-Up Call: Bissinger On Foles

NFL: Philadelphia Eagles at Minnesota Vikings

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.

COMING UP

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?

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  • Andy124

    And I thought I could’t be a bigger Foles fan.

    • NickS1

      Same. And in reading those last few sentences from the excerpt, I almost got the impression that he and St. Jordan of the House Matthews may be having a behind the scenes competition to see who can solve the world’s problems first. I wonder who’s winning…

      • Wilbert31

        It is a close competition! I didn’t want to admit this, but on Father’s Day, Jordan Matthews mowed my lawn and washed my car while my real son played X-Box in the air conditioning. It’s a little embarrassing, but since this is now a competition I feel like everything should be out there for review. My phone’s ringing – Oh great, it’s Foles…

        • Andy124

          Nick Foles is coming to blow up baloons with James Franklin for my kid’s birthday party so that I can spend more time playing with her.

          He’s going to make baloon animals, juggle and do magic tricks for all the kids. Then play catch with all the dads. True story.

          • NickS1

            Nick Foles is going to go to PT for me today so that I can stay back and pack for my weekend trip. Swell guy, that Folesy.

          • tommy_the_k

            Just last week, Nick Foles took my prostate exam for me, so I wouldn’t have to.

          • Andy124

            During the exam, they found the cure for prostate cancer.

    • Richard Colton

      That Lauren Farmer’s a lucky girl.

      • Amar

        Not that lucky, she lost out to Tori Foles.

  • Eagles1018

    Do we get pictures of the BBQ? Get Josh on it!

  • Eagles1018

    I now love Foles more than I did before reading this. Agree Andy

  • GreenBleedin

    I tried to buy Philadelphia magazine at a CVS last night and they were out. So I just subscribed, I read this blog every day and it is a show of support. Then I find out I can’t read the current issue online even though I subscribed. ARRGGHH!!!!

    • sdk152

      GB, I’m looking into this. And thank you for the support. -SK

    • sdk152

      One more update: Send me an e-mail (skapadia@phillymag.com), and I will try to get you a copy since you already subscribed. -SK

      • Richard Colton

        That’s Jordan Matthews-esqe work ethic right there SK.

  • Charliefoxtrot

    Veggie burgers, Kapadia?
    A cow gave its life for ya, seems kinda uncaring not to honor it’s sacrifice by eating its flesh. I will step up and shoulder this burden, however.

    • guest

      Isn’t Sheil from India? Cows are sacred there, and Indians do not eat them. Many (most?) are vegetarians.

      That was a very ignorant comment on your part buddy

      • Andy124

        It was a joke.

      • Warhound

        I’ve worked with many Americans who immigrated from India. Some eat all kinds of meat, some don’t eat pork and the majority Hindus don’t eat flesh (but do eat eggs and dairy). However, one thing that they all shared in common was a sense of humor.

        • Amar

          We agree on that.

        • shady25

          Yup, same here. Majority of the guys I work with eat meat and are funny as heck

  • http://www.corcommunity.com/ theycallmerob

    Sheil/Tim: has the league, union, or team made the LJ suspension official yet? no news I’ve seen since Tim wrote that the league knew nothing

    • NickS1

      Domo arigato, Domo.

    • Phyxius

      Let’s hope it got lost in the mail.

  • ztom6

    the 1980s called… they want their creatine scare stories back, Sam Donellon.

  • Phyxius

    Nick Foles is the kind of guy that will watch DBZ all day with you – my quarterback.

  • shady25

    With everything that’s came out this week and now reading this, I am an even bigger Nick Foles fan. Man I hope he comes out and destroys the league this year. He is getting no respect for what he did last year. I get it though, he’s only been a starter for almost a full season so you can’t really fault these guys. I think there is a perception out there like everyone is putting him on this pedestal when that’s not the case. I am in the group that needs to see him play at a good to great level again. There have been a lot of one year wonders so you just never know. I also heard something about no come from behind victories. Well if I’m not mistaken he drove the length of the field to put us up 2 points in the playoffs. Seems clutch to me… Blame that loss on the defense. I don’t care about the long PI penalty Jackson drew either. He put the ball in the end zone when it was needed the most. Man I am so pulling for Foles this year.

  • Claire

    I’ve read the article, and the excerpt is pretty deceiving. Bissinger pretty much tears Foles apart for the sin of being “boring” and lacking fire. It felt like the whole piece had a pre-set agenda to rip Foles apart, rather than get to know him. Very disappointing piece of “journalism.”

    • GreenBleedin

      I’m with you Claire. Bis singer is like a petulant little child. He decided to make Fole pay for not giving him an interview. The only positive parts of the piece came from the few people who actually had first hand knowledge of events.

  • pkatz

    Just one thing worth mentioning about Buzz’s article -Foles declined to be interviewed for it.

  • John E. Zang

    That’s what I like about Foles, he’s very humble and he seems genuine. He’s the peoples quarterback “VolksFoles”.

  • John J. King

    I’m pleased that the geniuses in the media are pooh poohing Foles. It is much more fun to laugh when they are wrong.

  • Philly0312

    So…what’s with the negative Kerry Collins talk? Collins career was derailed by alcoholism and a racist comment in front of teammates. The guy had a huge arm, was the top HS QB recruit in the nation, and obvious top QB in his class. Guy threw for 40k yards, took an expansion team to the NFC championship game and the Giants to the super bowl (and his NFC Championship game performance was as good as his super bowl performance was bad…but hey…2001 ravens). If files has Collins talent, without the rest…I’m pretty stoked.

  • eaglesfan

    If he continues to perform at a high level he’s going to get his fair share of headlines soon enough. Media loves uncovering the rare hard working, moral athlete that can actually be a role model to kids. Provides some symmetry to the standard ‘DUI, fight at night club, beats girlfriend, etc” stories that are rampant in NFL.

  • karen

    It is disturbing to me that because a young man like Nick Foles is well
    educated, speaks well, is clean living and comes from a successful family is
    berated and belittled because of it. I found the article in the magazine mean
    spirited. What is it saying to our youth, it is better and classier to have poor
    language skills, drink alcohol, behave badly and come from the deprived
    background to be respected in the game of football.
    How does the fact that he came from an all white neighborhood have anything
    to do with his ability to lead and be successful as a quarterback.
    We should be proud that the Eagles organization could attract such a class
    act!!!
    Very disappointed in Buzz Bissinger, obviously he was annoyed he didn’t
    get an interview so decided to make sport of a young man. Shame on him and on
    Philly magazine for applauding him.
    A Nick Foles fan.