PHILADELPHIA -- Jalen Hurts is the youngest quarterback to start a Super Bowl in Philadelphia Eagles history. That certainly wasn't in the franchise's thought process three seasons ago.
Hurts became the starting quarterback because the franchise ran out of faith in Carson Wentz, who didn't want to remain with the Eagles after Doug Pederson was fired and Nick Sirianni took over after Hurts' rookie season. The 2020 second-round pick was basically in a trial-by-fire situation, with the Eagles uncertain Hurts would still be the long-term solution heading into the 2022 season.
Now, Hurts is one game away from hoisting the Vince Lombardi Trophy. The Eagles made the right decision by sticking with Hurts, even if he remembers he was the quarterback the franchise wasn't certain they wanted.
"My first year here they probably didn't even want me drafted here," Hurts said with the shrugging of his shoulders. It was probably one of those things. But it always handles itself."
Hurts has done nothing but prove his doubters wrong since he arrived in Philadelphia. The Eagles are 19-2 in Hurts' last 21 starts as the 24 year old has established himself as the franchise quarterback. During that run, Hurts has thrown for 4,943 yards with 28 touchdowns to nine interceptions. Add in the 961 rushing yards and 17 rushing touchdowns and Hurts has 5,904 yards and 45 touchdowns in his last 21 starts (281.1 total yards per game).
The Eagles quarterback just needed two full seasons to take his franchise to the Super Bowl. Even if Hurts didn't get the vote of confidence from leadership before, he certainly has it now.
"He is a great young leader. He is a terrific young quarterback," Eagles Chairman and CEO Jeffrey Lurie said. "When we drafted him it was the upside we were banking on. We thought he had a huge upside. It takes a couple years.
"And somebody so dedicated as Jalen and such a great teammate. Inevitably he is going to maximize everything he has and that's what he's done."
Hurts is just the eighth quarterback to start a Super Bowl before his 25th birthday and the seventh youngest in NFL history. He's the fifth quarterback in NFL history to enter a Super Bowl with 16-plus wins and zero or one losses on the season (including playoffs). Hurts is the second player with 20 passing touchdowns and 10 rushing touchdowns in a season to reach the Super Bowl and his 760 rushing yards are the second most by a quarterback to reach the Super Bowl.
Hurts continues to defy the odds, no matter what challenge is thrown at him. He's okay with the franchise that drafted him being unsure if they wanted him -- or at least the portions of the fanbase initially not interested in him.
The Eagles quarterback never clarified what he meant, yet it all worked out because of his dedication toward being great. Hurts is one win away from that top of the mountain, even if he still has some doubters lurking.
"It was a big surprise to many," Hurts said on his selection by the Eagles. "My favorite (bible) verse -- I went through a lot of stuff in college and it kind of stuck with me. John 13:7: 'You may not know now but later you'll understand.'
"Hopefully people understand."