For years, the New England Patriots have shown the NFL how it is done when it comes to the perfectly in-sync relationship of Bill Belichick and Tom Brady. Together, they turned New England into one of the great football dynasties. When you think of great head coach-quarterback duos, their names certainly sit among the best.
However, all good things must come to an end. While Brady isn’t done yet and Belichick will most certainly coach for many more years, the changing of the guard is happening in perhaps the most surprising place of all. To find the next Belichick and Brady, you have to look no further than the Philadelphia Eagles‘ tandem of Chip Kelly and Nick Foles.
Just like Belichick when he took over the reigns of the Patriots in 2000, Kelly was under 50 when he got his chance with the Eagles. Young, fresh and prepared to shake up the NFL, Kelly’s unconventional wisdom actually took plays right out of Belichick’s playbook. While the Eagles struggled with the new offense at first, Michael Vick‘s injury turned out to be the best thing Philadelphia could have hoped for.
And just like it happened for the Patriots and Brady, the injury to the starting QB opened up the door for Foles.
Foles, the 88th pick in the 2012 draft, was picked just a few spots ahead of Brady’s infamous No. 199 selection. Just like Brady, he did not get much starting time in his rookie season. With Vick supplanted as the Eagles’ QB, Foles’ opportunities were few and far between in his first year in Philadelphia. However, when Kelly was named head coach, all of that would soon change.
Kelly gave Foles the chance previous head coach Andy Reid didn’t as he allowed him to compete openly for the starting job. Initially, this was won by Vick, but Foles showed promise in the preseason and Kelly knew if he was called upon, the young QB would deliver.
Foles got his first start of the 2013 season against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and proceeded to dash the team he got his first NFL win against for another victory. The following week, Foles had been all but named the starter for a huge rivalry game against the Dallas Cowboys. Quite simply put, he was overmatched and put forth his worst-ever single-game performance.
But the following week, Foles came back a changed man as he became just the second person in history to record a perfect passer rating and throw seven TD passes in a single game. Four wins later, he hasn’t looked back since.
The 24-year-old has shown the veteran poise, accuracy and spot-on decision making that goes with it. In all, Foles has thrown 19 touchdowns and not a single interception this season. His one fumble is the only blemish on an otherwise near perfect season. If the season ended today, Foles would be crowned the 2013 passer rating champ as his 125.2 leads all quarterbacks, including Brady.
Foles’ success has left many Eagles fans forgetting all about the QB-loaded 2014 draft class as he has shown that he can be a big-time NFL starter. Coinciding with this is Kelly, who has been brilliant in his play-calling and showing his own doubters that he can be a successful NFL head coach.
Just like Belichick formed the young Brady into what he is today, there is no reason to doubt that the seasoned college coach in Kelly can’t form the hardworking Foles in much the same way. The two have already shown an excellent ability to communicate and to work to each other’s strengths. Kelly’s playbook has been nothing if not specialized when it comes to what he has already been able to do with Foles.
Of course, just like Brady in New England, none of that would matter if Foles didn’t have the talent to run the offense, which he certainly has shown that he does. He even spreads the field like Brady and utilizes all of his weapons to the same level of effectiveness.
The Eagles have found their future and it revolves around these two. And if their results come even close to what Belichick and Brady did, fans in Philadelphia will have nothing to complain about.
Marilee Gallagher is a baseball writer for RantSports.com. You can follow her on Twitter @MGallagher17, like her page on Facebook, or join her network on Google.