Peyton Manning

Nick Foles willing and ready to help Peyton Manning take down Tom Brady

Nick Foles willing and ready to help Peyton Manning take down Tom Brady

Anytime you put a microphone in front of Peyton Manning, it’s good TV. 

Today is no exception. 

Tiger Wood and Manning are golfing against Phil Mickelson and Tom Brady today in a nationally televised showdown, Champions for Charity, to raise money to assist coronavirus relief efforts. 

Manning was trying to figure out who he could have gotten to caddy for him to rattle Brady and he landed on two names. 

“It’s hard to get to him,” Manning said. “So do you bring Eli? Could do that. Do you bring Nick Foles? Maybe.” 

That’s when Brady turned around: “That’s a cheap shot.”  

And Foles is ready! 

Could you imagine: It’s all tied up going into the final hole, Foles walks up next to Manning just before Brady’s tee shot … “You want Philly Philly?” 

Brady might be a six-time Super Bowl champion but he’s lost three times in the big game. To Eli Manning in 2008 and 2011 and to Foles in 2017. 

You might remember that game. You know, the one where Foles outplayed the greatest quarterback in NFL history, winning Super Bowl LII MVP, as the Eagles won 41-33 to kick off the greatest party in Philadelphia’s history. 

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Similarities between 2017 Eagles and 2005 Steelers

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Similarities between 2017 Eagles and 2005 Steelers

Playoff football is here, baby! 

Six out of my 12 years in the NFL, I was blessed to be a part of the playoffs. My first two years with the Eagles, one year with the Lions, a year with the Giants and two with the Steelers.

During those playoff games I was one and done three times, done in the divisional round once, in the championship game twice, and I won Super Bowl XL.

As I watch the Eagles enter this divisional round, it brought me back to experiences that I will never forget. One impressive game was the Steelers at the Colts in the 2005 season. I remember the game clearly, as I looked across the sideline at Peyton Manning in his prime against our defense. There were so many key matchups in this battle with the Colts. Outside LB Joey Porter against perennial All-Pro left tackle Tarik Glenn. DT Casey Hampton against All-Pro center Jeff Saturday. The list of Pro Bowlers and future Hall of Famers on the field was evident, and it was very apparent at that point that this was a game for the ages.

When not on the field, I made it a point to take in the moment. I realized that I was in a special moment in my career, not because I was in my 11th year, but more so because I understood that there was something special going on. I knew we were going to win the Super Bowl because everything fell into place. This was the game when Jerome Bettis fumbled and Big Ben made the shoestring, saving tackle. 

I was at goal-line TE going into the end zone. Jerome was never a fumbler, and we ran 16 power to the right — our bread and butter play. Alan Faneca, our Pro-Bowl left guard, pulled to the right. All I had to do was cut the DE in the end zone. It was a guaranteed six points, and Bettis fumbled. Wow, what a play by Big Ben. 

This was one of the many plays during the year that led to Super Bowl XL in Detriot, Bettis' hometown. We as a team had to send JB into retirement with a ring. I just knew there was something special about this team going into the playoffs as a 6-seed.

Well ... Philadelphia, I feel like this team has the same mojo going on this year. I'm not saying that my Birds are going to the big game, but the Eagles have taken the next-man-up philosophy to a different level. Losing All-Pro players and future Hall of Famers throughout the season and still entering the playoffs as the No. 1 seed is an unbelievable accomplishment.

So I wrote all this to say, make sure you don't lose sight of the moment. Take in the experience of a top-seeded Eagles team ready to fight the odds and naysayers. It can be done as long as the 53 men and coaches believe, even when no one else does.

Let's start making the real comparisons with Carson Wentz

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Let's start making the real comparisons with Carson Wentz

It’s time to stop comparing Carson Wentz to other “young quarterbacks.” It’s time to stop comparing him to Dak Prescott or other current rivals. It’s time to stop comparing him to Donovan McNabb or any other Eagles quarterback from the distant past.

Because with Wentz, it’s no longer about how he stacks up to other Eagles QBs or other young QBs. It’s about how he stacks up with Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers and Peyton Manning.

I’ve seen enough.

I’ve seen enough after 27 career games and 11 games this year to safely conclude that Wentz, provided of course he stays healthy, will go down as an all-time great.  

I know, I know. Crazy, right?

This isn't to say he's as accomplished as those guys, just that if you project his current level of play over an entire career, he's right there.

Just 15 months ago, Wentz was the Eagles’ third-stringer behind Sam Bradford and Chase Daniel, and it looked like he wasn’t even going to play.

Now? He’s putting up numbers that very, very few quarterbacks have ever put up at any point of their career.

Think I’m nuts? Think this is premature? That’s fine. Feel free. But the numbers don’t lie. The eye test doesn’t lie. The body of work doesn’t lie.

Let’s just start with 28 touchdowns and five interceptions. Do you know how rare it is for a quarterback to have 28 or more touchdowns and five or fewer interceptions at this point of a season?

Brady has done it twice, Rodgers has done it twice and Wentz has now done it once. And that’s it.

And Brady first accomplished it in his eighth season as a 30-year-old and Rodgers in his seventh season as a 27-year-old.

Wentz is 24.

What about 22 touchdowns in a seven-game span, which Wentz has done over the last seven games? He's one of nine guys in NFL history to do that over any seven-game span but one of only five who's thrown three or fewer interceptions along the way.

One of the most impressive things about Wentz is his consistency. Since that Ravens loss last December in Baltimore, the Eagles are 12-1, and Wentz hasn't experienced anything remotely resembling a bad game. At his worst, he's been very good. At his best, he's been dazzling.

In fact, Wentz has strung together 12 consecutive games with a passer rating of 83 or higher.

Who's had longer streaks in NFL history? Manning, Brady, Rodgers, Steve Young and Troy Aikman. All are or will be Hall of Famers.

Still not buying in? Still not convinced?

OK, how about this:

Wentz is on pace to throw an interception every 70 pass attempts this year and a touchdown every 12½ attempts. There've been only two seasons in NFL history in which a quarterback threw touchdown passes that frequently and interceptions that infrequently. Rodgers in 2011 and Brady in 2007.

Now, the one thing obviously separating Wentz from Brady, Rodgers, Manning, Drew Brees and other all-time great quarterbacks is that he hasn't done it year after year after year, and he hasn't won a Super Bowl. Hasn't even made the playoffs yet.

But he's not going anywhere. All that stuff will come.

I won't be shocked if it comes this year. Honestly, I would be surprised if Wentz doesn't win at least two Lombardis by the time he hangs 'em up.

If you aren't convinced yet that he's capable of it, please raise your hand. Anybody? Didn't think so.

There will be slumps. There will be bad games. There will be challenges along the way.

But you know with his work ethic, determination, approach to practice and the way he takes care of himself, he's only going to get better. Even if he never improves and simply maintains his current level of play over a period of years, we’re still looking at one of the greatest quarterbacks of all-time.

Just based on pure skill, pure ability to carry a football team, he's there.

Wentz has played 27 regular-season NFL games, and we're having this conversation.

Wentz's next touchdown pass will be his 29th.

Brady didn't throw 29 touchdown passes until his eighth season.

And if you want to say, "The Eagles haven't beaten anybody this year," keep in mind that Wentz has faced the No. 4, No. 6 and No. 12 pass defenses in the league and threw at least three touchdowns with no interceptions against each one.

What about McNabb? Don't misjudge all this for any sort of knock on No. 5. It isn't. He was an all-time great Eagle. The best quarterback in Eagles' history. He won nine playoff games for this franchise and reached a Super Bowl.

Wentz doesn't have a postseason résumé yet, but that will come in time.

He's already doing things no quarterback this young has ever done, things that very few quarterbacks of any age have done.

He's your quarterback. And he will be for a very long time.