The Eagles have won the Super Bowl!
And the world is a better place.
This Super Bowl-winning Philadelphia Eagles 2017-18 season has been so different from just about any other in the franchise’s 85 years in the National Football League.
The unbelievable Eagles’ upset win over the New England Patriots and Tom Brady, the preeminent sports dynasty of the 21st century, has solidified this team’s place in the annals of Philly sports history as perhaps the most likeable and unexpected pleasure to ever whet the appetite of the most passionate sports fans in the world.
And a lot of this glorious run has to do with giving up authority.
Carson Wentz and Nick Foles realize this. And because they humbly decided to give up authority of their lives to Jesus Christ, the Philadelphia Eagles had the greatest season in their history.
The three most important letters/symbols in Wentz’s life are not “MVP” or “QBR.” They are simply “AO1.”
The term stands for “Authority of One.” Wentz’s motto simply means that he has given complete authority of his life to Jesus Christ – the “One” in this case.
Wentz believes with all his heart that Our Lord will take care of us in the way and manner that is best for us and has given him complete authority to do exactly that. He has surrendered himself completely to Our Lord.
The “O” in the “AO1” is a circle with the crown of thorns from the cross. When Wentz’s faith was imparted to many of his teammates, that circle changed the trajectory of their lives.
Giving up ownership of one’s own life is not a very easy task because it involves a huge amount of faith and trust – the kind that recognizes that God knows what’s best for us, and will indeed do what’s best for us at all times. It leaves little room for ego, a quality that is found in so many high-salaried athletes in this day and age.
Wentz kept to his “AO1” mantra all during his great accomplishments as the Eagles surged to an 11-2 record and headed to Los Angeles for a Dec. 10 showdown with the Rams. The motto kept him grounded through all the wins and all the accolades and as he reached the lofty status as the next most likely MVP of the league.
Even when he sustained the heartbreaking, season-ending injury after throwing his club-record 33rd touchdown pass to engineer another win, Wentz stayed true to his life’s philosophy. The star quarterback could have taken an attitude of, “Why did this have to happen to me?” when it was disclosed that the injury would end his season and possibly alter his career forever. He didn’t.
The first words out of his mouth on the first press conference the next day was the very philosophy of life that had shaped him since his days growing up in Fargo, North Dakota.
“I accept this as God’s plan for me at this time,” Wentz said that day.” I trust in him that he knows what’s best for me, and I will do my best to glorify him in that process.”
Flash forward another eight weeks. All Philadelphians not in comas know what has happened since. Nick Foles, Wentz’s backup and replacement — who has a great faith equally as strong as his good friend and fellow quarterback — stepped up and produced the two greatest games at quarterback in Eagles and perhaps NFL history, in the two most important games of his life.
The “Rocky Underdog” Eagles won the Super Bowl in the most dramatic way possible and altered the lives of Philadelphians forever.
As Foles donned the NFC Champions T-shirt on Jan. 21 and the Super Bowl Champions T-shirt this past Sunday, on the biggest stage of his life he was inundated with hundreds of questions from the very media horde who so thoroughly doubted him for weeks.
The quarterback took a deep breath and looked for an instant up into the night sky. And his first words to the world after leading the Eagles to the most unlikely of Super Bowl wins was calm and reassuring.
“I give all the glory for all of this to Jesus Christ, my Savior,” Foles said.
For Foles and the Super Bowl champion Eagles, it all came back to “AO1.”
God Bless the Eagles and Philadelphia!
Joe Devine is a writer in Philadelphia.