Nick Foles’ wife, Tori, happened to be watching TV when clips commemorating the 25th anniversary of the greatest comeback in NFL history — Buffalo’s rally from a 32-point deficit against Houston in an AFC playoff game in 1993 — came on in early January, and she was surprised to hear the name of the Bills quarterback who led it.
Frank Reich, now the Eagles offensive coordinator, was a backup pressed into service when Jim Kelly suffered a knee injury in the season’s final game. And after falling behind 35-3, Reich threw four second-half touchdown passes and guided the Bills to a 41-38 overtime victory.
Not that Reich ever mentions it.
“It says a lot about him that it had to be the anniversary of the game for it to come out,” said Foles, who was 3 years old at the time. After Tori told him, “I asked Frank about it and he shared some memories. He’s not a bragger, he’s a very humble guy, and I love working with him every day.”
Reich said he intentionally tries not to bring up the subject, but it came in handy as he prepared Foles, who took over for injured teammate Carson Wentz, for this Super Bowl run.
“It helped a little bit with Nick, just to be able to talk about a backup quarterback stepping in to a playoff situation,” Reich said. “But it’s hard to express the amount of confidence we’ve had in him throughout this process.”
Favre remains Pederson fan
In an e-mail to the Star Tribune, Brett Favre shared his thoughts on Eagles coach Doug Pederson’s coaching style. Favre and Pederson remain close friends after playing eight NFL seasons as teammates.
“What I saw in Doug right away was a simple yet creative football mind!!” Favre wrote. “He was able to digest info very quickly and come up with a doable solution. What was great for me was he understood immediately my style and what I liked and didn’t. In fact I sometimes would ask Doug to draw my first 15 plays for Mike [Holmgren, then-Packers coach].”
Favre said he sought Pederson’s input after he agreed to serve as offensive coordinator at a high school near his Mississippi home a few years ago.
“What sums up Doug’s coaching philosophies is when I asked his advice when I was about to coach high school,” Favre wrote. “He said Kiss!! KEEP IT SIMPLE STUPID. And it’s so true. We learned from Holmgren not to outsmart yourself but also keep the team eager and fresh.”
Like father, like sons
Patriots coach Bill Belichick has two sons on his coaching staff. Steven, the oldest, is in his fifth official year with the team and second as the safeties coach. Younger brother Brian has worked on the team’s scouting staff and is now a coaching assistant.
Asked specifically about Steven, Bill Belichick, 65, said he values the perspective the 30-year-old brings as someone closer in age to the players: “He has a good overall feel on things that we do as a staff, and things I need to address that I miss because I don’t see the point of view that he sees. So he’s been really helpful in that. It’s been good.”
Long gets NFLPA top honor
Eagles defensive end Chris Long was named the NFL players union’s 2018 Byron “Whizzer” White Award winner. Long donated his entire 2017 salary of $1 million to scholarships. He will receive an additional $100,000 toward the charity of his choice.
The other finalists were the Texans’ J.J. Watt, the Bengals’ Andy Dalton, the Broncos’ Von Miller and free agent Colin Kaepernick.
• After practice, Belichick gathered his players at midfield around former All-Pro nose tackle Vince Wilfork, who preached the importance of minimizing distractions and remembering why they’re in Minnesota. “He’s an inspiration,” New England tight end Rob Gronkowski said. “I mean, how much hard work he’s put in throughout the years. He’s been to four Super Bowls. He has two rings.”
• Patriots defensive end Deatrich Wise Jr. (concussion) and cornerback Malcolm Butler (illness) were upgraded to full participants in practice. Eagles defensive tackle Tim Jernigan (illness) again was held out of practice.
Staff writers Andrew Krammer, Phil Miller, Joe Christensen and Chip Scoggins contributed to this report.