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Eagle Eye: SI Jinx for Foles?
Nick Foles appears on the cover of this week's edition of Sports Illustrated. (Sports Illustrated)
He had already thrown seven touchdowns in a game, had his game gear sent to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, won NFC Player of the Month and improved his starting record this season to 6-1.
So what happened when Nick Foles found out that he’d appear on the cover of Sports Illustrated?
The same thing that happened after all those other accolades came his way.
“I just zone it out,” Foles said Wednesday at his locker.
Foles, who has started just 13 games in his NFL career, appears on the cover of this week’s famed national sports magazine. He’s pictured dropping back to pass in the driving snow, with Todd Herremans in front, executing a block.
He called the appearance “an honor,” but as he typically does, Foles spread the credit, calling it a “testament to the team and what we’ve been doing.”
Being on SI’s cover usually means you’ve made it big in the national sports landscape but also invites the infamous cover jinx, which is one of the great -- and eerily accurate -- urban legends in American sports.
Foles managed to dismiss the cultural phenomenon in a manner only he could, by admitting that he’s not good enough to have his bad moments seem supernatural.
“I have a lot of flaws in my game that I understand,” he said. “I’ve got to make those better every day. If I can get 100th of a percent better each day, that’ll eventually add up in the percent. It just takes time.”
And then what, the cover of Time? A statue at the Linc? Keys to the Vatican?
Not that any of those honors would move him, either.
“I just ignore it, honestly,” Foles said of the growing national attention. “I just ignore it, because there’s no time for that in my day to start thinking about anything like that.”
Foles is quickly blossoming from a local phenomenon into a sports figure of national intrigue. That’s what happens when your passer rating (120.0) is tops in the NFL, ahead of Peyton Manning’s (114.5) and Russell Wilson’s (106.5) and way better than Tony Romo’s (98.3) and Tom Brady’s (88.3).
Increasing requests for national media interviews has taken more time out of Foles’ schedule.
“It’s definitely different, he said. “There’s a lot more interviews that I have to do. But I just am who I am. I don’t try to be anything else. When I get out of them, I go back to work.”
The SI photo marks the 19th time that the Eagles have had someone, or multiple players, pictured on the cover. The last time came in 2011 season, a training-camp snapshot of prize free-agent signing Nnamdi Asomugha, who fell victim to the jinx.
Asomugha, considered one of the game’s elite cover corners when he signed a five-year, $60 million deal, never came close to fulfilling his reputation and was released this past offseason after just two seasons with the Eagles.
Foles said he’s “heard of the Madden” curse, which is the video-game version of the SI cover jinx, but doesn’t know much about the magazine’s reputation for tarnishing the same reputations that it helps build.
“And I dont want to know about it,” he said.
As a child, Foles read Sports Illustrated and SI for Kids, but he wasn’t a cover collector and couldn’t recall any of the magazine’s covers that hit home or carried special resonance. He probably won’t even save the one he’s on, figuring that his mom will do the bookkeeping for him.
“I know Michael Jordan has been on it many, many times,” he said, “but I can’t remember a specific photo. I never looked for that stuff. I never looked at awards or records. I just want to go out and play.
“It’s a great team sport. You can’t do it forever. When I look back I’ll always remember the guys I played with. This [past] weekend, I was very fortunate to have some of my high school teammates that were in the area come to the game. It was fun just seeing them and talking back about our old times, when we were playing at Chaparral Stadium in Austin, Texas. That’s what it’s all about. It’s about those memories.
“Obviously, you want to win the Super Bowl and all that, but it’s the people you do it with. That’s how I look at it.”