BLOOMINGTON, Minn. -- Nick Foles is the big man in the NFC.
The sixth-year quarterback and the Philadelphia Eagles are getting ready to go up against the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LII at U.S. Bank Stadium.
All eyes are on Foles as he prepares to play in his first Super Bowl. The pressure is on, especially because of the fact that he's technically a backup.
Starter Carson Wentz injured his knee midway through the season. Foles stepped up and continued to lead the Eagles past the Atlanta Falcons, easily through the Minnesota Vikings and now they are in the Super Bowl.
But when Foles was a rookie drafted in the third round of the 2012 to the Eagles out of Michigan State, he had another quarterback that helped in his development, Michael Vick.
"Mike Vick was always great to me. Getting to play for someone who is arguably one of the greatest athletes to ever play the game of football, he was always great to me," Foles said.
Vick had just returned to the NFL after serving a prison sentence. In 2007, Vick was indicted and served 21 months in prison after he was found to have been part of an illegal dog fighting operation in Virginia for more than 6 years. He returned to the NFL in 2009 and played for the Eagles, the New York Jets and Pittsburgh Steelers. Vick hasn't played an NFL game since 2015.
The Eagles gave him a second chance after the Falcons let him go, and he eventually became the starter.
Behind him was Foles, willing and ready to learn.
Good thing, too. He was thrown in six weeks into the season after Vick went out with a head injury.
It was a bumpy start, as it usually is with any rookie. But Foles settled in, won his first game against Tampa Bay in week 14, and was named the starter for the rest of the season.
"Anytime you get to go out and play, especially as a rookie, you’re thrown into the fire, you start picking up the speed of the game, you start going out and running the game. You’re running the NFL offense," Foles said. "It was a great experience. We didn’t do very well, unfortunately. I learned a lot."
Foles dealt with injuries, too. By the next season, he became a Pro Bowler as Vick dealt with more injuries. Even Vick admitted that Foles was the right guy for the starting job.
"Being around him, being his teammate, he did everything the right way," Foles said. "And just watching him throw the football is a thing of beauty, watching him move around. Those are memories that I’ll cherish for sure."