Jalen Hurts walked slowly off the field in Glendale, AZ, covered in red and yellow confetti. With his head down, avoiding media and cameras, he simply went to the locker room to debrief the situation. After putting up the best statline in Super Bowl history, Hurts was still a runner-up, with no trophy to show for his performance. There are quarterbacks in the NFL that would settle for second place and be happy they even made it to the championship game. Jalen Hurts is not one of them, as this site has fueled his motivation for the upcoming season to win it all. The Eagles’ star, who also finished second in MVP voting, went as far as to change his phone lock screen to the picture, so it's the first thing he sees in the morning and the last thing he sees at night. It’s reasonable to say that no player in this league is more dedicated to winning and getting better than Hurts is.
Hurts has been counted out for most of his professional career. Even going back to college, after having an incredible season for Alabama, he was disastrous in the first half of the national championship. Instead of coach Nick Saben trusting his signal caller, backup Tua Tagovailoa subbed in and led Alabama to a comeback against all odds. Tua would become the Crimson Tide’s starter, forcing Hurts to restart his college career and transfer to the University of Oklahoma. Again, he proved to everyone that he was a top college athlete in the nation, but he fell all the way to the second round while Tagovailoa was selected with the fifth pick. Hurts would be selected at 53 by the Eagles, who already had a star quarterback at the time in Carson Wentz. Again, Hurts was forced into the role of a backup.
At this point, in 2020, the Eagles seemed to be in a pretty decent position, coming off of a playoff appearance that was limited due to injury. They quickly went downhill, as Wentz turned into the subpar player we know today, and the receiving core was made up of unnoteworthy players like JJ Arcega-Whiteside, John Hightower, and more players who likely will never see another snap in the league. Finally, Hurts was subbed into the middle of a blowout against the Packers in the second half, where he would impress in the limited time. He impressed coach Doug Pederson enough to earn the start the next week against the Saints, who had the #1 defense that season. Immediately, the rookie’s impact was felt as he miraculously led the team to victory, showing his talent with passing and running. He did enough to close the season that the Eagles were comfortable with trading Wentz and naming Hurts the starter.
The Eagles worked to reshape the team over the offseason, most notably drafting Devonta Smith, Hurts’ favorite wide receiver at Alabama. With a new roster built around Hurts’ strengths the quarterback led the Eagles to wild card appearance and showed significant improvements in all facets of his game in his sophomore season. When the Eagles retooled again over the offseason, there was a general belief that they were continuing to play off his strengths. They traded for Hurts’ best friend and star receiver AJ Brown, plus they were able to add new coordinators and defensive pieces. Everyone knew Hurts was going to improve, but nobody could have predicted the season he would have in 2022.
Hurts would go on to become debatably the best two way threat in the league, picking up over 4,600 yards and 35 total touchdowns with just six turnovers, all of which were massive improvements from the season prior. His dominance got the Eagles the best record in the NFL, but he still couldn’t catch a break. Instead of saying he was a backup quarterback, social media just said he was playing with a super team and that any quarterback could thrive in that system. Again, Hurts proved his overwhelming number of doubters wrong when he got injured and his replacement lost two games, both of which were very winnable from an offensive perspective.
Now, after being second place for two of the most prestigious achievements in football, and second place on his college and NFL depth charts, Jalen Hurts has a job to finish. It feels like he already took the biggest step he could, but his 2023 season could prove us wrong again. To Hurts, this season will be a disappointment if it doesn’t end in a parade and an MVP trophy for the quarterback on pace to be a generationally outstanding player.