Joshua Cooley Tells Super Bowl QB Nick Foles’ Faith Story in New Book, ‘The Biggest Win’
Out July 30, ‘The Biggest Win’ Features Six Christ-Following Members of the Super Bowl-Winning Philadelphia Eagles Team
PHILADELPHIA—While Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Nick Foles might be well-known for uttering two important, game-changing words—“Philly Special”—he keeps two other words close at heart.
In his new book, “The Biggest Win,” premier sports writer Joshua Cooley tells the faith stories of six members of the 2017 Philadelphia Eagles team—Carson Wentz, Zach Ertz, Trey Burton, Jordan Hicks and Chris Maragos and the Super Bowl-winning QB Foles.
In “The Biggest Win,” soon to be released by New Growth Press on July 30, Cooley gives athletes and sports fans of all ages a unique, insider’s look into the lives and faith of these champion players. Through the ups and downs of their experiences, Cooley shows how these high-profile athletes remain committed to God’s Word, genuine Christian discipleship and sharing their faith.
The Eagles drafted Foles from the University of Arizona, in 2012. Ted Winsley, Eagles team chaplain since 2002, recalls that close to 30 players regularly attended the team Bible study, and Nick was among them.
“You saw, from the very beginning, the hunger and sincerity from Nick,” Winsley says. “Nick is a leader, period. He has a quiet demeanor, he’s approachable, but he’s not afraid to speak his mind and live what he believes.”
By 2014, Burton, Maragos and wide receiver Jordan Matthews had joined the Bible study. But when the Eagles traded Foles in 2015, the small group of believers had an important choice to make. “We either could have kept the momentum and kept the seeds and the fruit and stuff producing, or we could have just let it all fall away and gone our own different ways,” Burton recalls. “But when Foles left, we felt like there was something special being built there, so we took it like a storm and basically started hitting even harder. We kind of understood the direction and felt like we knew what God was calling to happen here in Philly.”
But by May 2017, Foles had signed a two-year deal to return to the Eagles. “A big reason why I wanted to come back to Philly,” Foles says, “is because of a great group of guys who want to do great things in Jesus’s name.”
In “The Biggest Win,” Cooley writes that one of the practical ways athletes can strive for excellence, while directing all glory and honor to the Lord, is to recognize the true Gift Giver, first realizing that athletic ability comes from God.
Nick Foles gets it.
“Who gave us these talents? God did,” he says. “Who created everything? Who gave someone the ability to create electricity, to create all these stadiums? God did.”
Leading up to the Super Bowl win, Foles went through personal and professional struggles of his own. Growing up in football-crazed Texas, Foles was a standout at Arizona. After his first stint with the Eagles, Foles was traded to the St. Louis Rams.
“As a whole, it was the toughest year of football in my entire life,” Foles told Cooley for “The Biggest Win.” “It just was not fun, but I learned a lot.”
Each day that offseason, Foles woke up feeling he didn’t have the heart to play anymore. So Foles negotiated his release from the Rams in late July 2016, then took off for a three-day camping and fly-fishing expedition to California with some of his wife’s relatives.
By the time he returned home, six interested teams had called. The message from everyone in his circle of family and friends was the same: “Give it one more year.” Foles prayed and was reminded of Jesus’s parable of the talents in Matthew 25:14-30. God had given Foles some unique abilities and opportunities to sow spiritual seeds through football, and he began to see how they would vanish if he retired. So he made a bold choice: He would continue playing, and slowly but surely, football became less of Foles’s identity and more of a vehicle to do gospel work. He signed a two-year contract with the Kansas City Chiefs, but would only play there one year before returning to Philadelphia as a free agent in 2017.
“I realized the one thing I didn’t want to do in my life at that point was play football—but because of that, I knew that I should go play football,” Foles says. “It sounds crazy, but I knew that God was working and that I had to trust in him.”
It turns out, someone had a plan in mind for Nick Foles’ football career.
Foles is releasing his own book this summer, and Cooley worked alongside the Super Bowl champion as a contributor. “Believe It: My Journey of Success, Failure, and Overcoming the Odds” will be released on June 26 and delves into Foles’ unlikely path to the Super Bowl, the obstacles that threatened to hold him back, his rediscovery of his love for the game and the faith that grounded him through it all.
“The Biggest Win” combines biblical truths with practical direction on issues that every Christian faces, including dealing with adversity, competition, change, success, failure, and how to thrive by faith in a pressurized world. Encouraging male and female athletes in any sport, “The Biggest Win” guides them in finding their ultimate identity in Christ, not their athletic achievements, and assures them that their greatest prize is eternal life.
A percentage of the book sales from “The Biggest Win” will go to the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, a nearly 65-year-old international sports ministry with a vision to see the world transformed by Jesus Christ through the influence of coaches and athletes.
Cooley is also the author or co-author of “The One Year Devotions with Jesus: 365 Devotions to Help You Know and Love the Savior,” “Heroes of the Bible Devotional: 90 Devotions to Help You Become a Hero of God!” and “The One Year Sports Devotions for Kids.” He also co-authored Nick Foles’ forthcoming memoir, “Believe It,” which is scheduled for release in late June.
New Growth Press (NGP) publishes gospel-centered, Bible-based materials that provide churches, families, and individuals with resources for personal and spiritual growth and change. The growing Christian publisher produces a wide variety of gospel-centered resources for individuals, families and churches. NGP also publishes books, minibooks, small group and Gospel Story for Kids resources that provide churches, families and individuals with gospel-driven publications for all ages.
One of NGP’s children’s books was recently honored with a Christian Book Award. “The Radical Book for Kids: Exploring Roots and Shoots of Faith” is a fun-filled explorer’s guide to the Bible, church history and life for boys and girls age 8 and up.
“The Biggest Win” is available now for preorder at Amazon.com or ChristianBook.com. View the media page for “The Biggest Win” here, or visit joshuacooleyauthor.com/the-biggest-win or the New Growth Press page at newgrowthpress.com/the-biggest-win.