Good morning, Eagles fans. The Eagles are back in Philadelphia with the franchise's first Lombardi Trophy. There's no game for which to prepare, no practices coming up, and nothing for the coaches and players to do at this moment except enjoy being Super Bowl champions.
We'll continue with comprehensive post-Super Bowl coverage for the rest of the week in Early Birds. If your friends haven't subscribed to Early Birds, it's free to sign up here to receive the newsletter in your inbox every weekday. I want to know what you think, what we should add, and what you want to read, so send me feedback by email or on Twitter @ZBerm. Thank you for reading.
— Zach Berman
Nick Foles' story has been well-chronicled during the past month, but now that it finished with a Super Bowl, what can be learned from it? Foles put thought into this question, and his answer was about failure:
"I think the big thing is don't be afraid to fail. I think in our society today, Instagram, Twitter – it's a highlight reel. It's all the good things. And then when you look at it, you think 'Wow,' when you're having a rough day or your life is not as good as that, and you're failing. But failure's a part of life. That's a part of building character, growing. Without failure, who would you be? I wouldn't be up here if I hadn't fallen thousands of times, making mistakes. We're all human; we all have weaknesses. Throughout this, being able to share that, be transparent. I know when I listen to people speak and they share their weaknesses, I'm listening, because I can resonate. I'm not perfect. I'm not Superman. I might be in the NFL and we might have just won the Super Bowl, but we still have daily struggles, I still have daily struggles. That's where my faith comes in. That's where my family comes in. And I think when you look at a struggle in your life, just know that's just opportunity for your character to grow. If something's going on in your life and you're struggling, embrace it, because you're growing."
Foles' story became a national fascination leading up to the Super Bowl and after the game, and a good chunk of it has occurred in Philadelphia. Four of his six NFL seasons have been in Philadelphia, and though he didn't contemplate retirement while with the Eagles, he's experienced his share of both success and failures in an Eagles uniform. Foles is different now from how he was in 2012 as a rookie and even 2014 when he last played for the Eagles, and that ethos about how to learn from failure will guide him as he goes forward in his career — and maybe elsewhere, if he's traded this offseason.
Eagles center Jason Kelce fought back tears when describing his journey to the Super Bowl. He went from a walk-on at Cincinnati to a sixth-round pick in 2012 to one of the core players on the the Eagles who has spent seven years with the team. His message was about persistence.
"Last two weeks … I found myself in the shower crying, dreaming of this moment. I've worked so hard in my life to get here, and everything culminates. I can't help but think back to a quote my grandfather gave from Calvin Coolidge about persistence. … He gave me that quote when I was 18 years old, when I was not given a scholarship to play at any Division I university. My father and mother told me to stay after my dream. And I've officially accomplished the best thing in this sport with a group of guys who mean the world [to me]. Because really persistence has summed up my whole career, summed up my whole life. Just keep going, keep moving forward. No matter what obstacle is in the way, just keep moving forward."
There will be a parade up Broad Street on Thursday, and the Eagles are ready.
"We're about to have a party on Broad Street, baby!" Brandon Graham said after the Super Bowl.
The parade will begin at 11 a.m. in South Philadelphia and finish at the Art Museum with a ceremony. Philadelphia schools and administrative offices will be closed. The city is expecting up to 3 million people to attend.
Knowing this group of players, I don't expect them to be shy when basking in the region's attention. There will be some good stories to come from the parade route.
Absolutely. It won't be cheap, but Nigel Bradham is the pending free agent of most importance to the Eagles. He played 100 percent of the Eagles' defensive snaps in the Super Bowl and is an ideal fit for the scheme. Bradham finished with seven tackles and a quarterback hit. He became the defensive signal-caller after Jordan Hicks' injury and is in the prime of his career.