Regardless of the winner between the Philadelphia Eagles and the Minnesota Vikings in the NFC Championship game, a quarterback who started this season as a backup will be the starting quarterback in Super Bowl LII.
Eagles QB Nick Foles helped his team squeak past the Atlanta Falcons in a 15-10 victory in the NFC Divisional Round. Vikings QB Case Keenum won in much more dramatic fashion when he hit WR Stefon Diggs for a 61-yard touchdown as time expired in regulation to give his team the 29-24 victory. Before both quarterbacks helped their respective teams a chance to play in the Super Bowl, they were teammates just three years ago.
In 2015, Foles and Keenum were both quarterbacks for the St. Louis (now Los Angeles) Rams. Foles was sent to the Rams to become their starting quarterback in a trade with the Eagles. Keenum came over in the same offseason when the Rams made a trade with the Houston Texans to become the backup to Foles.
In his one season with the Rams, Foles went 4-7 and threw for only seven touchdowns to go along with 10 interceptions starts before he was benched for Keenum.
Keenum ended the 2015 winning three of the Rams last four games. He threw four touchdowns and one interception in five starts. His performance helped him become the starting quarterback for the Rams in their next season.
Unfortunately for Keenum, he shared the same fate as Foles. In 2016, he went 4-5 as starting quarterback before the Rams went to first overall pick, Jared Goff. Keenum finished the season throwing for only nine touchdowns and 11 interceptions.
Now in 2017, everything came full circle. Foles signed back with the Eagles in offseason to backup Carson Wentz. He became the starting quarterback after Wentz tore his ACL in week 14 against, oddly enough, the Rams.
In relief duty, Foles has thrown for five touchdowns and two interceptions in three starts to help secure the number one seed in the NFC. In the divisional round, Foles went 23-for-30 for 246 yards against the Falcons to help get the Eagles to the NFC Championship.
Foles is doing his best job in making sure the Eagles do not lose in spite of him while his former backup has had a much different season.
Keenum has started 14 of the 16 games for the Vikings after Sam Bradford went down for majority of the season due to a knee injury. He threw for career highs in touchdowns (22), completion percentage (67.6) and only threw seven interceptions.
Both quarterbacks have taken different paths that have placed them in the same spot journey. Both quarterbacks are now given another shot to show them they belong.
Foles was contemplating retirement after his time with the Rams, but kept playing after he and his brother went on a camping trip. When he came back, he decided to sign with the Kansas City Chiefs in 2016 with his former coach, Andy Reid.
“It was the best decision of my life,” Foles said on his choice to keep playing football.
In two midseason appearances with the Chiefs in 2016, Foles completed 65 percent of his passes to go along with three touchdowns and no interceptions in back-to-back wins. Those games gave the Eagles the confidence to bring him back around for the second time.
Keenum signed one-year, two million dollar contract with the Vikings. After he did not have his best outing as a starting quarterback with the Rams just a season ago, this NFC Championship game can improve his case of being a franchise quarterback. He is expected a to be a popular name once free agency starts with a big payday. Getting the Vikings to the Super Bowl will only help validate him as a franchise quarterback.
The Eagles and Vikings will faceoff on Sunday in Philadelphia at 3:40 eastern time to play in the Super Bowl. The Eagles are looking to advance and win their first Super Bowl in franchise history while the Vikings are trying to become the first team to play a Super Bowl in their home stadium.
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