The Philadelphia Eagles, established in 1933, have one of the most passionate fan bases in the NFL. The quarterback is the most important position in the league, as a great QB can turn around a franchise, and the Eagles have had their fair share of great quarterbacks.
Ron Jaworski, Randall Cunningham, and Donovon McNabb are all legendary quarterbacks, but they could never win a Super Bowl for the Eagles.
Philadelphia finally got their first Super Bowl win in 2017, and, remarkably, they were led by two quarterbacks they drafted en route to their historic win. McNabb was drafted in 1999, so let’s look at the quarterback history of the Eagles since 2000 and map out what happened from the McNabb era to the Super Bowl LII champion Eagles.
A.J. Feeley (2001)
The first QB draft pick by the Eagles in the 21st century was A.J. Feeley from Oregon. The former Duck, taken in the fifth round of the 2000 NFL draft, has had his fair share of opportunities in his six-year career but has never made it as a starting quarterback.
Feeley only played one game his rookie season, coming in the fourth quarter of the 2001 season finale against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The rookie threw two touchdowns in 26 seconds and brought the Eagles back to win 17-13.
Donovan McNabb and Koy Detmer
Suffered injuries in 2002, which led to Feeley starting five games, and it preserved the Eagles Super Bowl odds. Helped by a stellar defense, Feeley went 4-1 and threw for 1,011 with six touchdowns and five interceptions.
In 2003, Feeley did not take a snap for the Eagles, but his previous year’s performances led to interest from around the league. As a result, Philadelphia traded Feeley in 2004 to the Miami Dolphins for a 2005 second pick.
He competed with Jay Fiedler for the Dolphins starting spot, and throughout the season, they traded starts. In his eleven games, Feeley struggled; he completed 53.7 percent of his passes for 1,893 yards with 11 touchdowns to 15 interceptions.
Feeley did play well to end the 2004 season. Miami head coach Nick Saban said Feeley would be the starting quarterback, but it was Gus Frerotte instead, and Feeley was traded to the San Diego Chargers midway through the 2005 NFL season.
As a backup to Philip Rivers and Drew Brees, Feeley did not take a snap as a Charger. He then returned to the Eagles in 2006 and spent three years in Philadelphia. Despite being a massive underdog in the NFL sportsbook,
Feeley almost ruined the New England Patriots’ undefeated regular season in NFL Week 12 of 2007. The Patriots’ three interceptions against Feeley kept their record perfect until they met Eli Manning and the New York Giants in the Super Bowl, of course.
He then signed with the Carolina Panthers for the 2009 season and finished his career with the St. Louis Rams in 2011.
Kevin Kolb (2007)
With the possibility of the Donovan McNabb era coming to an end, the Eagles chose Houston QB Kevin Kolb in the second round of the 2007 NFL draft.
Kolb sat behind McNabb during his rookie season, but he did come into the infamous game where McNabb was benched against the Baltimore Ravens in 2008 and promptly threw a 108-yard pick-six to Ed Reed.
Kolb made six appearances in 2008 and threw four interceptions and zero touchdowns.
Kolb’s first two NFL starts came in 2009 when McNabb injured his ribs early in the NFL regular season. Philadelphia went 1-1, and Kolb threw 718 yards with four touchdowns and three interceptions.
McNabb was traded to the Washington Redskins in 2010, and Kolb was named the starting quarterback to start the season. However, he suffered a concussion in NFL Week one against the Green Bay Packers, and Michael Vick took over the job. Due to his style of play,
Vick suffered minor injuries during the season, and Kolb ultimately started five games during the year.
With Vick winning the starting spot, Kolb was traded to the Arizona Cardinals in 2011 for Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and a 2012 second-round pick. After the trade, Kolb signed a five-year, $63.5 million contract.
After two subpar years, the Cardinals tried to restructure Kolb’s deal, but the two sides could not agree to terms, and he was released.
Kolb agreed to a two-year contract with the Buffalo Bills but suffered another, more severe concussion and was placed on injured reserve. Released in March 2014, Kolb then retired, citing lingering side effects from three NFL concussions.
Nick Foles (2012)
Nick Foles has had a career unlike any other in the NFL, and it all started when the Eagles drafted him in the third round out of Arizona. After Michael Vick went down with a concussion, Foles was named the starting quarterback for the remainder of the 2012 season.
The rookie started six games and went 1-5, throwing 1,699 yards with six touchdowns and five interceptions.
Vick and Foles were in a QB competition under new head coach Chip Kelly. Vick won the starting job but again suffered minor injuries, allowing Foles to step up.
Foles made his third start of the season against the Oakland Raiders in NFL Week nine, and he threw for seven touchdowns, tying an NFL record. Foles started ten games in 2013 and made the Pro Bowl.
That year, he remarkably threw 27 touchdowns to only two interceptions and led the NFL in yards per completion and passer rating.
Foles was the starting quarterback in 2014 but broke his collarbone in NFL Week nine, putting an end to his season. The following year, Philadelphia traded Foles and draft picks to the St. Louis Rams for quarterback Sam Bradford and a fifth-round draft pick.
Foles signed a two-year deal with the Rams but only stayed one, after a 4-7 record and throwing more interceptions than touchdowns. Upset with the Rams for drafting Jared Goff, the Rams released Foles in July 2016, and he signed with the Kansas City Chiefs as a backup to Alex Smith.
He was released after just one season with the team.
Foles returned to Philadelphia in 2017, and this is where he became an Eagles legend. Carson Wentz suffered a torn ACL in week 14, and Foles stepped in to lead the Eagles to the Super Bowl.
The Eagles were searching for their first Super Bowl win in their third appearance and took on the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LII. Foles outdueled Tom Brady with 373 yards, three touchdowns, and one interception.
Foles even caught a touchdown pass in one of the most famous plays in NFL Super Bowl history, the “Philly Special” play. For his heroics, Foles was named the Super Bowl MVP.
In 2018, Foles was named the starter as Wentz was still not medically cleared to play yet. Foles went 1-1 before Wentz took over in NFL Week three. Foles started three more games in 2018 as Wentz suffered a back injury and won all three games.
The Eagles were going to pick up Foles’ $20 million third-year option, but the QB informed the team that he was voiding the option and preferred to become a free agent.
The Jacksonville Jaguars signed Foles to a four-year $88 million deal with $50.1 million guaranteed. However, he suffered a shoulder injury throwing a touchdown in the first quarter of the NFL Week one game against the Chiefs.
Foles returned in November but struggled and was benched in favor of rookie Gardner Minshew. Foles did not win a game in his four Jacksonville starts.
Foles was traded to the Chicago Bears in 2020 and competed with Mitchell Trubisky for the starting job, which Foles lost. After poor play from Trubisky, Foles took over in NFL Week three and started NFL Week four.
Foles had his moments, but he was not fantastic, throwing for 1,852 yards with ten touchdowns and eight interceptions in his eight games in 2020. With the Bears taking Justin Fields in the 2021 draft, it is a possibility that Foles will be on the move again or relegated to the third-string quarterback behind Fields and Andy Dalton.
Carson Wentz (2016)
The Eagles thought they got their franchise QB when they chose Carson Wentz with the second overall pick, but it was not the case. Wentz came from North Dakota State, an FCS school, and NFL experts wondered if his talent would translate to the NFL.
The doubts continued through his rookie season; Wentz struggled while the Eagles went 7-9.
But in 2017, Wentz was on track to have an MVP season, but he tore his ACL in a game against the Los Angeles Rams, and Foles took over to win the Super Bowl.
Wentz was named to his only Pro Bowl in 2017, throwing 3,296 yards with 33 touchdowns and seven interceptions. Foles gets the credit for winning the Super Bowl, but Wentz was spectacular that year, and he continued that level of play through the playoffs; it would have been him winning the Super Bowl MVP.
Wentz returned from the knee injury and continued to put up decent numbers in ‘18-’19, but it was not leading to Eagles wins. 2020 was a disaster for Wentz; he went 3-8-1 in his twelve starts and only threw for 2,620 yards with 16 touchdowns and 15 interceptions. Since the knee injury, Wentz did not have the same mobility and pocket presence, which has led some to believe the injury has messed with his psyche.
Needing a fresh start, the Eagles traded Wentz to the Indianapolis Colts in 2021. The Colts were a playoff team in 2020 with Philip Rivers, and Wentz is also reunited with his former offensive coordinator in Frank Reich.
Jalen Hurts (2020)
Now that Wentz is gone, the Eagles are putting their faith in second-year QB out of Alabama, Jalen Hurts. Philadelphia took Hurts in the second round of the 2020 NFL draft but did not expect that he would be playing so much so early.
Hurts was used sporadically during the season in spread offense packages, but he started the last four games of the 2020 NFL season after Wentz was benched for poor play. Hurts dazzled in his first NFL start, throwing 167 yards and a touchdown with 18 rushes for 106 yards. The Eagles beat the New Orleans Saints 24-21. Hurts lost the final three games, but he threw for over 300 yards in two of them. It is not clear how good an NFL QB Hurts is, but in 2021, the Eagles are putting all of their money on him after the Wentz trade.
The NFL quarterback is the most challenging position in sports, and every team needs a good one if they are going to boost their Super Bowl odds. The Eagles had one of the best in Donovon McNabb, drafting him in 1999, but it seems they’re still looking for a suitable replacement, even after winning a Super Bowl. Right now, it appears as though Hurts is the Eagles franchise quarterback, but the NFL is a cutthroat league, and he could be released or traded before you know it.
Philadelphia’s QB selections have shown promise, but they have been unable to play at a high level all season long, except for their Super Bowl year in 2017 with the Wentz/Foles combination. The Eagles might not have their franchise quarterback for the next 15 years, but it all worked out, as they managed to win their first-ever Super Bowl.