After looking like the best team in the NFC for much of the 2022-23 season, the Philadelphia Eagles confirmed it convincingly on Sunday with a 31-7 victory over the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC championship game.
The Eagles now advance to Super Bowl LVII, their second appearance in the big game in six years; they beat the New England Patriots 41-33 after the 2017 season. However, it’ll be the first for head coach Nick Sirianni and superstar third-year quarterback Jalen Hurts.
— Philadelphia Eagles (@Eagles) January 29, 2023
Winners mood 😂
Jalen Hurts sings “FLY EAGLES FLY” while accepting the NFC Championship trophy pic.twitter.com/Oc1jbETyZY
— Complex Sports (@ComplexSports) January 29, 2023
“I’m not gonna make this about me, man, this city is a special city,” Hurts told FOX’s Terry Bradshaw during the on-field trophy celebration. “They deserve everything that’s going on. It’s a special city. We got one more.”
He then grabbed the microphone and led the entire crowd at Lincoln Financial Field in a rousing rendition of the Eagles’ fight song, “Fly Eagles, Fly.”
In his postgame press conference, Hurts said that nothing came easy for him or his team, despite their 14-3 regular-season record.
“I’m forever grateful. I’m forever grateful,” he said. “Only God knows the things that each individual on this team has been able to overcome to come together as a team and do something special.”
Later, Hurts referenced the Bible verse John 13:7 and how impactful it has been to him. It’s a verse he’s referenced numerous times before. The verse reads, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.”
Hurts completed 15 of 25 passes on Sunday for 121 yards, and rushed for another 39 yards on 11 attempts with a touchdown as the Eagles frustrated the 49ers in all phases of the game.
Hurts’ development has been one of the biggest reasons the Eagles have been one of the best teams in the NFL this season. He’s a strong candidate to win this season’s MVP award after 22 touchdowns and only six interceptions in 15 regular-season games. He also rushed for 760 yards and 13 touchdowns, as his threat as a passer and a runner left defenses around the league bewildered. In two playoff games this year, he’s thrown for two touchdowns and rushed for two more.
The second-highest scoring offense in the NFL this season is a far cry from where the Eagles were in Hurts’ rookie season, when Philly finished 26th in scoring and Hurts played sparingly.
Despite his rapid rise to NFL superstardom, the 24-year-old Hurts has remained vocal about his faith in God. Early this season in an interview with CBS Sports, Hurts said that God is the only One who deserves to be praised for the position he’s in.
“I’ve just matured and realized that God is everything, and He’s worthy of praise,” Hurts said. “You have to put Him at the center of everything that you do. That’s what I believe. All my spiritual wisdom — all of my wisdom as a whole — comes from Him, in some way, shape or form, whether that be passed down from my father, my mother, my grandmother. I just think, in all the things that we experience in life — good, bad or indifferent — you have to keep Him in the center.”
Hurts, who often praises God on Twitter, transferred from Alabama to Oklahoma in college after being passed over for Tua Tagovailoa as the starting quarterback. In Norman, however, Hurts delivered perhaps his best statistical season as a collegian before declaring for the 2020 NFL Draft, where the Eagles selected him in the second round.
Forever Grateful For God’s Grace, Favor & Guidance !
— Jalen Hurts (@JalenHurts) November 24, 2022
— Jalen Hurts (@JalenHurts) April 25, 2020
In 2019, before his standout season with the Sooners, he discussed the tough decision to transfer in a piece for the Players’ Tribune, thanking Alabama and its fans while reflecting on how he saw God at work through it all.
“I understand that God put those obstacles and challenges in my life for a reason,” Hurts wrote. “He wanted me to feel the pain I felt for a reason. He wanted me to understand the importance of never losing faith — and of always staying true to myself. He had NOT brought me this far just to leave me there.”
He continued later, “I know everything will unfold according to God’s timing. I am blessed to be where my feet are; my trust is in His hands.”
In two weeks’ time, Hurts will step with those two feet onto the field in Glendale, Arizona, for Super Bowl LVII, seeking to continue to trust in God’s perfect timing. The Super Bowl is set for 6:30 p.m. ET on Feb. 12.
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