Nick Foles continues to make University of Arizona football history. Reports emanating out of Philadelphia are that Foles, the Wildcats' three-year field general and first Arizona quarterback to throw an NFL pass in nearly 40 years, will start Week 11 against the Washington Redskins.
The Philadelphia Eagle rookie made his NFL debut last Sunday against the Dallas Cowboys and threw for 219 yards on 22 completions, including a 44-yard touchdown connection with Jeremy Maclin. Foles relieved starter Michael Vick after Vick suffered a serious concussion.
Headlines asking if Sunday marked the beginning of "The Nick Foles Era" for Philly popped up in earnest. Christening Foles the long-term starter is premature; Vick is a seasoned veteran, and the issues that were plaguing his performance will pose challenges for Foles vis a vis a porous offensive line.
Fans and pundits may be getting ahead of themselves with speculation of this becoming Foles' team, but a conclusion that can be safely jumped to is he will start opposite Robert Griffin III on Sunday. For longtime followers of Wildcat football, Foles' start is a little surreal.
His ascension -- which began before he ever took a snap -- has reached staggering heights. Google the Arizona product's name and marvel at the SEO-violating blogs about Foles' fantasy football value. Folesamania is running wild to such a degree that a SPAM email offering discounts on "Nic" [sic] Foles jerseys reached this blogger's inbox.
Interest in Foles isn't so much because the former Wildcat is a rookie. Rookie starters are somewhat passe in the current NFL.
College football fans may remember ESPN dubbed the 2011 season "Year of the Quarterback." Validating that somewhat is the influx of starting, rookie quarterbacks in the NFL's 2012 campaign. Foles joins the aforementioned Griffin, Miami Dolphin Ryan Tannehill (Texas A&M), Seattle Seahawk Russell Wilson (Wisconsin), and Indianapolis Colt Andrew Luck (Stanford).
Only Foles started the regular season as a reserve though, and each of the other four were drafted before him. At No. 75, Wilson was taken 13 picks before Foles and is the only other of the rookie starters not selected in the first round.
What piques the interest of the uninitiated is Foles has come from oblivion -- at least, to many. He wasn't the celebrated commodity entering April's NFL Draft. Quarterbacking a four-win team his senior season did little to build Foles' public profile, and certain measurables didn't meet NFL scout expectations.
What those who followed Arizona know is how adept Foles is at defying expectations. The last time he took over a starting quarterback job was in September 2009, when Matt Scott had beat him out in practice. After earning the job, though, Foles would not relinquish it for three years, save injuries.
The circumstances are different, of course. Though Foles took over Arizona's offense after a loss at Iowa, the Wildcats were hardly on the dizzying free-fall Philadelphia is experiencing. Furthermore, the vitriolic reputation those who inhabit Philly's Lincoln Financial Stadium have is not at all comparable to the atmosphere of Arizona Stadium.
If Foles flourishes as quickly as an Eagle as he did as a Wildcat though, the boos Philadelphia is known for will turn to cheers.