Buzz Bissinger wrote the cover story for Philly Mag this month. It’s about Nick Foles, who didn’t want to be interviewed, at all, for the piece. So, Bissinger went to Foles’ hometown in Texas, dug up tax records and SEC filings, spoke with Foles’ friends and former teammates, and painted a picture of Foles’ humble demeanor and privileged existence. I told you this guy was hard to blog about:
The truth was, Nick Foles was something of a nerd, a guy who hung around with a small posse of mostly non-football nerds — eggheads, kids who would go on to careers in finance and private equity and engineering. A hot Saturday night was getting together at his house to play video games like Call of Duty, or hanging out at Zilker Park on the shores of Lady Bird Lake. “Dude, come on, you’re the quarterback, go out and have some fun,” high-school teammate Matt Nader pleaded with him, fruitlessly.
He was the kid you wanted dating your daughter, because he would have her home at 9:30 after you said 10. He was socially awkward, with a naive and goofy sense of humor. He dressed as if he had never seen clothes before. His hair was oddly styled in an ersatz pageboy, curling below his ears like a drainage ditch and covering his forehead in uneven wisps, thin grime on a windshield. His face was a cup of Napoleon Dynamite and a tablespoon of golly-gee-willikers and a teaspoon of Gomer Pyle. He tried at school, and even took Latin.
During his senior spring-break trip to Mexico, while most everyone else spent the afternoon recovering from drinking, he jogged, because there was nothing for him to recover from. He threw a football around with a kid from the Austin area. When Nick asked the kid to name his favorite player, he said, “Nick Foles!” But the kid didn’t recognize that he was having a catch with the actual Nick Foles. And Nick Foles was too reticent to tell him.
And, it turns out, Foles was and is rich. His father is a local restaurateur, and Foles attended a high school where the superintendent, principal and athletic director all make six figures. Westlake, it’s where Drew Brees went. Bissinger says that Foles may have come from the richest family of any player in the NFL:
His high-school teammate Matt Nader tells me that the best way to assess the rising fortunes of the Foles family was by observing the improvements made to their house over the years. The 6,708-square-foot mini-mansion, with a pool and spa, is in the winding Candylandesque hills off Westlake Drive, at the end of a cul-de-sac in an upscale housing development where even the flower petals fluttering onto the Elysian lawns look purposely placed. Currently assessed at $1.5 million, it was hardly a rancher when the Foles family bought it in the late ’90s. But over the years, the basement was finished and a new garage was put in, according to Travis County appraisal records. Then came the uncovered deck and a first-floor porch almost the entire length of the house.
I am sure Foles is just thrilled with that creepily detailed description of his family’s house. But Bissinger did an outstanding job painting a picture of Foles based on his own observations and third-person accounts. I highly recommend you read the piece when you have 15-20 minutes to spare. And yet, Bissinger, after undoubtedly hours of research (and travel) that went into the very well-written piece, concludes by taking the hackiest shot imaginable at Foles. It’s so hacky that I’m still not sure if I’m missing an obvious mocking of the naysayers. I don’t think I am. You decide:
But unless he stops being chickenshit and goes into the middle, he will never guide the Eagles to the place that only tantalizes us. We are tired, Nick. We are already dependent on you. So man up to be the man.
Sidle up to a bar on the road and order a slug of single malt, not a double shot of milk. It’s okay to address LeSean McCoy as “Shady” instead of “Sir Shady.” Don’t ever publicly say again that your favorite movie is The Lion King.
Acolytes get to heaven. Strut gets you to the Super Bowl.
What a weirdly abrupt ending to a good story.