Super Bowl LVII: The remake of Jalen Hurts 

PHOENIX (News4usonline) – Throw out the numbers. Super Bowl LVII is going to be won by will. Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts has plenty of that stored up somewhere in his mental chambers. Hurts was a national champion at the University of Alabama. Before playing for the Crimson Tide, Hurts was dominant while playing ball at Channelview High School in Texas.   

In his third season with the Eagles, Hurts led his team to Super Bowl LVII. The Eagles carried a 14-1 record in the 15 games that Hurts played. Philadelphia lost the two games (14-3 overall record) that Hurts missed due to a shoulder injury. For a good portion of the season, Hurts was talked about as the league’s MVP. 

PHILADELPHIA, PA – JANUARY 21: Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts (1) runs with the football during the NFC Divisional playoff game between the Philadelphia Eagles and the New York Giants on January 21, 2023, at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire)

That honor eventually went to Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, Hurts’ adversary in the Super Bowl. Hurts wound up with just one vote for the regular season trophy. That has to sting. A lot. At least Hurts knows he’s keeping good company. Both Hurts ad Mahomes played their high school football in Texas.  

“I always joke around with people saying that you know, Texas is the quarterback powerhouse,” Hurts said. “You know, I think football in Texas is so special, something that I grew up on. The pride that we take in football out there is different.”    

All Hurts did this year was lead the Eagles to the best record in the NFC and the No. 1 seed in the playoffs. That’s not half of the story of what Hurts has done for the Philadelphia franchise.

Drafted by the Eagles in the second round following a year at the University of Oklahoma, Hurts has improved as a quarterback and playmaker every year since he’s been in the league. More importantly, he’s beaten back all the naysayers and haters who thought Hurts was nothing more than a flash in the pan, another running college quarterback who wouldn’t be able to make the passing grade in the NFL.

That’s a lot of hay that people have to eat. Then again, the scrutiny Black quarterbacks feel or have to deal with is much more intense than any of their contemporaries have to face. 

Can he read the playbook? Can he read defenses? Can he stay in the pocket long enough to make a throw instead of taking off and running? How good of a leader is he? Does he have the presence to own the locker room? Is he teachable? How accurate of a passer is he? 

These seem like typical questions one would ask of any quarterback trying to make a roster spot in the NFL. But for Hurts and other Black quarterbacks, those questions appear to have more weight to them. Going into the 2022 season, there was chatter about if Hurts was even the guy in Philadelphia. 

Now mind you, the Eagles went out and snatched up Hurts when Carson Wentz was still the team’s starting quarterback. The Eagles, after selecting Hurts with the No. 53 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, eventually traded Wentz, making way for Hurts to take over the starting gig. All Hurts did was take the Eagles to the playoffs. 

But to some people, that wasn’t good enough as Hurts and the Eagles got the boot from the postseason by Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the first round. Two years into the job, it felt like Hurts was almost dealing with the same type of apprehension and unfounded criticism that he dealt with when he was the starting quarterback for Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide. 

That was a crazy time for Hurts, who lost his starting position to Tua Tagovailoa and wound up transferring to play for the Sooners at Oklahoma. Hurts had his doubters then as he does now. However, all that has done is spur Hurts into being better. You can hate on Hurts all you want to, but all he does is win. Isn’t that the name of the game? 

If that is the case, Hurts has a lot going for himself because that’s his makeup: winning. Philadelphia likes winners, especially coming from their quarterbacks. Former Eagles star Donovan McNabb took Philadelphia to five NFC title games and a Super Bowl. Michael Vick, the 2.0 version, re-invigorated the Eagles for a short time while he starred for the franchise.        

For 11 seasons, the incredible Randall Cunningham brought a whole dimension to the quarterback position for the Eagles when he manned the starting spot. Of course, there’s Ron “Jaws” Jaworski, who took the Eagles to their first Super Bowl appearance back in 1981. It would take journeyman quarterback Nick Foles, under the guidance of current Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Doug Pederson to bring Philadelphia its first Super Bowl win. 

The outcome of this historical gathering with the flavor of having two Black quarterbacks to start the game is a show of progress. Doug Williams was the first Black quarterback to win a Super Bowl when the Washington Redskins thrashed John Elway and the Denver Broncos. Hurts, like Mahomes, is on a course to continue to blaze that trail. 

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts fields questions from reporters during Super Bowl LVII media day at the Footprint Center in Phoenix, Arizona, on Feb. 6, 2023. Photo by Dennis J. Freeman/News4usonline

“It’s crazy,” Hurts said. It’s crazy. I think of all the quarterbacks that have come through Phill, you know, Randall Cunningham, Rodney Peete, Donavan McNabb, Mike Vick. That there itself and this franchise and this history that we have, having African American quarterbacks at that position here in this organization, that speaks for itself. I told those guys long ago, I just want to carry that torch for them.”        

 When it comes to which quarterback has had the most influence on him, Hurts gave a special shoutout to Vick during Super Bowl LVII’s media day. 

“Talked to Donovan sometimes and Mike Vick. Obviously, all the quarterbacks that have come through Philly,” Hurts said. “I’ve always tried to be a student of the game. I’ve always been a student of the game…I never really had guys that I kind of really locked in on, but everyone loved Mick Vick growing up. I have my No. 7 jersey, the black (Atlanta) Falcons one there…a couple of years later, I had the green one from Philly. I’ve always tried to be a student of the game. I respect anybody, any quarterback that goes about the process of getting better and the process of growing. I love that. It’s about the process, not always about the result.”