Who doesn’t love a Cinderella story? When quarterback Jalen Hurts was drafted to the Philadelphia Eagles, not everyone was happy. There were plenty of naysayers. Where are they now? Hiding.

“My first year here [people] probably didn’t even want [me drafted] here. It was probably one of those things. But it always handles itself,” he said after Philadelphia’s 31-7 win over the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC title game Sunday (Jan. 29). “It was a big surprise to many. My favorite [Bible] verse, I went through a lot of stuff in college and it kind of stuck with me, John 13:7: ‘You may not know now but later you’ll understand.’ Hopefully people understand.”

Hurts was the 53rd overall pick in the 2020 NFL draft, and some people didn’t get why he was selected, since the Eagles had just given Carson Wentz a four-year, $128 million contract extension 10 months before. But, Wentz had a rough season in 2020 and was benched in the last four games. That’s when Hurts took over, and Wentz was traded to the Indianapolis Colts during that offseason.

Hurts took the Eagles to the playoffs in his first year as the starting quarterback in 2021. This year, of course, he’s taking them all the way to Super Bowl LVII.

“I don’t really know how to feel, to be honest,” Hurts, 24, said following the win. “You work really hard to put yourself in this position and I’m forever grateful. Only God knows the things that each individual on this team has been able to overcome for us to come together as a team and do something special as a group. That’s what means the most. I always want to go out there and give my best regardless of what’s going on because I don’t want to let down the guy next to me. That makes us all go harder.”

He added, “I know I’ve been through a lot personally, but I don’t want to steer away from the direction of how good this team has been at playing together, being together, and challenging one another. When we experience some painful times and some tough times, we always found a way to overcome. You want to be going into a situation like this, and we have a chance to go out there and win it all, so we want to prepare to go do that.”