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Photo Courtesy Philidelphia Eagles
Photo Courtesy Philidelphia Eagles

Column: NFL’s Newest Superstar Deserves More Praise

Jalen Hurts has Ascended Rapidly. He needs more love.

The 2022-23 NFL season ended with a massive bang: Eagles and Chiefs Super Bowl. While a lot of fans around the league wanted a Bills-Eagles Super Bowl, the Chiefs proved to be too resilient for the Birds. Despite the loss, Eagles star quarterback Jalen Hurts has developed into the most underrated star in the league.

In the second round of the 2020 NFL draft, the Eagles selected Jalen Hurts. The Alabama and Oklahoma star had found a new home. Many fans around the city of Philadelphia, and around the country, had mixed feelings about the pick. At the time Carson Wentz was the future for Philadelphia and Hurts was a shot in the dark. Taking a QB in the second round when the expected “top talent” in Wentz still held the starting job was perplexing to fans. 

The end of the 2020 season fans got their first looks at Hurts. Hurts came in for Wentz in Week 13, and remained a starter that season until Week 17, when third-string QB Nate Sudfeld came in to relieve Hurts. The following off-season would spell the end of head coach Doug Pederson’s tenure in Philadelphia, ushering in the Sirriani era of Eagles football.

2021 was the first year as a full-time starter for Jalen Hurts. He led that Eagles squad to a Wild Card berth, eventually losing to Tom Brady’s Buccaneers. Despite the heartbreaking playoff loss, Hurts was about to become the newest powerhouse QB in the east.

Then something big happened: Eagles general manager Howie Roseman took it upon himself to break the NFL free agent season. 

In between the impressive 2021 campaign from new starter Jalen Hurts, and the successful 2022 season, was Roseman’s time to shine. In the summer, Roseman strengthened his team, bringing in players like top-five receiver AJ Brown, and solid secondary defensive pieces in Chauncey Gardner-Johnson and James Bradberry. With a revamped team, the Eagles looked to Hurts as the last piece of the puzzle.

Jalen Hurts’ development in the summer of 2022 is entirely unmatched. 

In just his second season as a full-time starter, Hurts finished second in MVP voting, losing to eventual Super Bowl winning QB Patrick Mahomes. Even though he didn’t bring home any hardware, Hurts put up staggering numbers. In 2022, Hurts led the entire NFL in record at 14-1 in games played, as well as setting career highs in 12 offensive categories.

Jalen Hurts also put up a stellar Super Bowl performance: 2 touchdowns, a 2-point conversion, 304 passing yards, and 70 rushing yards. That’s pretty good for a losing QB.

Regardless of performance during the season, Hurts was doubted by the mainstream sports world the entire year. Reporters and players both harped on Hurts’ abilities as a QB, claiming he “hasn’t proved anything,” and even Cowboys player Michah Parsons went as far as saying that the Eagles were so good because of “the system” they ran rather than the emergence of Hurts. Hurts’ development was so unseen throughout the NFL world that even after a 14-1 record in the 2022 season, some put Joe Burrow over him in MVP tier lists. The doubt surrounding Hurts isn’t just undeserved, but it’s also completely incorrect. He is The System in Philadelphia. 

After an incredible 2022 season, even including a Super Bowl loss, Jalen Hurts has emerged as one of the top QB’s in the league and a star for years to come. As the Manning-Brady-Rivers era comes to an end with Tom Brady’s retirement announcement following the 2022 NFL season, it’s time for a new generation of game changing quarterbacks to take over. Could the new NFL generation include Hurts as a mainstay name and face? Only time will tell, but I’m willing to bet on the side of Hurts becoming a generational talent. 

From college transfer to second round pick, Hurts displays the kind of character that consistently produces star quarterbacks: consistent hard work and extreme leadership. Jalen Hurts is here to stay, and the NFL world will have to deal with it.

Entering his third year as a full-time starter in 2023, Hurts will undoubtedly be spoken down upon. But that’s okay. That’s how Hurts and the city of Philadelphia like it, being doubted is embraced in the city, they even have a slogan for it (thanks, Jason Kelce). Hurts will certainly get a massive contract from Howie Roseman and the Eagles management team, and whether it pays off will be seen over the next few years. The hold Hurts has on the city, though, and his significant breakout season this year, has created a new, vibrant culture of football in Philly. 

From the diehards to new fans, the Eagles did not disappoint this year and a big part of that is Jalen Hurts. Jalen’s continued success will spell good times and lots of hardware coming to Philadelphia, and the NFL world will continue to witness underrated greatness.

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