Eagles starting quarterback Nick Foles has been the subject of quite a few articles over the past couple of weeks. With training camp on the horizon, many wonder if Foles is merely a "one hit wonder", which is a legitimate concern. However, I've also noticed a striking amount of articles focusing on Nick Foles "boring" personality. It's been the subject of talk radio and various sports writers columns. Yes, Nick Foles is a bit corny, alright really corny. He recently stated in an interview, "My Mom, she can still kick my butt in anything," Foles admitted. "When you have your Mom kick your butt, you can't help but stay humble." Often Foles gives selfless answers to post game questions, valuing the team over himself. By the end of last season, many started to wonder, is Nick Foles really that corny/folksy? The answer it seems is yes, and I say who cares? What does his "lame" personality have to do with anything as long as he's producing on the field?
However, for Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist/author Buzz Bissinger, the idea that Foles is just a boring, normal guy is not enough to claim he'll be a good quarterback. Bissinger, who went to school in Philadelphia (UPenn), and wrote for The Philadelphia Inquirer (where he won the Pulitzer Prize for Investigative Reporting for his story on corruption in the Philadelphia court system in 1987), is familiar enough with the area to know how sports mad we are in Philadelphia. Indeed, Bissinger is best known for his book Friday Night Lights, which was subsequently turned into a film by his cousin Peter Berg in 2004. So the idea that a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist would write an in depth, cover story article entitled, Who Is Nick Foles? in this month's issue of Philadelphia Magazine, sounds intriguing right? After all, Nick Foles grew up in Texas where he played high school football, and now plays in Philadelphia, surely Bissinger would be the man for the job to tell this story.
Actually, this article turns out to be one of the most pointless, self-indulgent, narcissistic, articles ever written about anyone. Nick Foles and his family refused Buzz Bissinger's attempts to be interviewed. Why? Who knows? Who cares? Maybe they refused because Bissinger doesn't have a glowing reputation in Texas. While Bissinger, who had taken a leave of absence from reporting for The Philadelphia Inquirer to follow the team and write Friday Night Lights, was writing the book, the University Interscholastic League (UIL) investigated the Permian Panthers football program, alleging that Bissinger took players out to eat and paid for the meals while interviewing them for the book, a violation of amateur rules. He also paid for Boobie Miles' car for an interview. Friday Night Lights is an amazing book, and really good movie, but Bissinger ticked off many people in Texas. However, this is mere speculation.
Nevertheless, Foles refused to be interviewed by Bissinger, who took that as an insult and turned his story on Foles into an attack on his apparent lack of swagger.
Particularly since Foles is the New Face of Philadelphia Sports in a sports-mad town, the newest promise to the Promised Land in the post-Donovan McNabb era. Is he capable of leading the Eagles to the Super Bowl one day? Was the 2013 season aberrant? How will he handle the pressure? Fans need to try to figure out what ticks inside him to remotely know any of the answers.
Instead, what has emerged is a one-dimensional choirboy caricature reflective of a player and a team and a league terrified of individuality. Foles is selling himself, and being sold by the born-again Eagles, as the anti-DeSean: contrite, non-charismatic, cautious, churchgoing, Caucasian. The perfect poster boy for Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie and commissioner Roger Goodell’s vision of a new NFL theme park where players have no discernible personality and the Twitter account is laced with Glories to God.
So maybe Nick Foles doesn’t have the edge of Peyton Manning. Or the come-from-behind fearlessness of Tom Brady. Or the gravitas of Drew Brees. Or the feet of Russell Wilson, or Colin Kaepernick, or …
He carries with him the fragility embedded into everything. The dividing line you never know. It’s something that no championship ring can ever teach him and few NFL players truly understand, clinging to their careers long after they’re over.
“He has remained true to his natural person,” Matt Nader says, “and that goes to show you how strong of a kid he is.”
But unless he stops being chickenshit and goes into the middle, he will never guide the Eagles to the place that only tantalizes us. We are tired, Nick. We are already dependent on you. So man up to be the man.
Unbelievable, isn't it? The Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist actually calls Foles "chickenshit". Are you kidding me? You don't have to read much more into the article (which Bissinger interviews many friends and acquaintances of the Foles family) to realize this is clearly all personal for Buzz. So Nick Foles came from a rich family, he doesn't like to drink a lot, he's a team guy not a me guy, and he concentrates on football. So what? The NFL has plenty of swagger type players and personalities, and the Eagles have had their share of them in the past (T.O, DeSean Jackson, and now Shady). I find it sort of refreshing that Foles is an "aw shucks" kind of guy because I don't think it's an act, and I believe he's genuine. It's clear Bissinger, who's used to writing stories uncovering scandals and corruption, found that the same couldn't be done with a Foles story, because he is, in fact, just plain old Nick Foles, used this opportunity to rip him for being boring just for the sake of it. While I agree with the notion that Foles could use a bit more swagger, there's no reason to attack a guy simply for who he is, just because it's not that interesting. I'd expect better from a Pultizer Prize-winning (something Buzz would gladly tell you) journalist.
P.S. Hey Buzz, telling Foles to "man up" is funny coming from you, a man who has admitted to having a Gucci shopping addiction. Why don't you man up and shop like a man....man.