Not every NFL quarterback can hope to achieve a career as successful as that of Tom Brady. In fact, the average quarterback spends just 4.44 years in the league. Those who manage to hang around longer than that deserve credit for being better than most of their peers, even if they do fall short of superstar status.
One current quarterback who falls into that good but not great category is Nick Foles. Foles’ career has followed a trajectory surprisingly like that of his contemporary Sam Bradford, whose playing days now appear to be done. Here we take a closer look at Bradford’s accomplishments in the NFL, highlight his similarities with Foles, and point out one key difference between the two quarterbacks.
Sam Bradford’s NFL career
Bradford played three years for the University of Oklahoma before the Saint Louis Rams selected him with the first pick in the 2010 NFL Draft. Bradford’s first year in the league was a promising one. He set the NFL record for the most completions thrown by a rookie, earning himself the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year award in the process.
During his rookie seasons, Bradford threw for 3,512 yards, completing 354 passes on 590 attempts, giving him a completion rate of exactly 60.0%. Based on that performance, expectations were high going into Bradford’s sophomore season. Unfortunately, both he and the Rams struggled mightily. Hampered by an ankle injury most of the season, in 10 games Bradford threw for just 2,164 yards, with a completion rate of 53.5%.
He bounced back in his third season in 2012, before tearing his ACL seven games into the 2013 season. He missed all of the 2014 season with the injury, and in March 2015, the Rams traded him to the Philadelphia Eagles for Nick Foles. Bradford had one solid season with the Eagles before they traded him to the Minnesota Vikings for a first-round pick.
Bradford had a career season with the Vikings in 2016, throwing 3,877 yards with a completion rate of 71.6%. Bradford played just two games the next season, however. In 2018, he signed a two-year deal with the Arizona Cardinals, but played only three games for them. He was inactive for several weeks before the Cardinals let him go. He hasn’t played in the NFL since.
Similarities between Sam Bradford and Nick Foles
Like Bradford, Foles has bounced around a lot in his eight-year NFL career. The Philadelphia Eagles drafted him in the third round of the 2012 NFL draft, only to trade him to the Rams (for Bradford) after three seasons. Since then, Foles played a year for the Kansas City Chiefs, returned to Philadelphia for two seasons, and last year played for the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Although Foles was never as prolific a passer as Bradford (he never broke the 3,000 yards marker in any season), statistically the two still have a lot in common. Foles has a career completion rate of 61.9%, while Bradford’s career average was 62.5%.
Foles has a career touchdown percentage of 4.2%, while Bradford averaged 3.5%. Foles threw for 7.0 yards per attempt, while Bradford averaged 6.6.
Another similarity between the two is that both have made huge amounts of money in the NFL. Bradford leads the way here, having earned in excess of $130 million during his nine seasons. Many consider Bradford the single most overpaid player of his generation. Foles, meanwhile, has made $62 million during his eight years in the league.
The one big difference between Sam Bradford and Nick Foles
Although the two quarterbacks have had similar career trajectories, and match up pretty evenly on paper, one key difference exists between them. Despite being arguably a slightly better player, Bradford never managed to win a Super Bowl. Foles, on the other hand, led the Eagles to a championship victory in 2017, as part of his second stint with the team.
Not only that, but Foles took home Super Bowl MVP honors for the key role he played in the game. He also set a new Super Bowl record, by becoming the first player to both throw and catch a touchdown pass. Foles racked up 373 yards in the game, with three touchdowns coming on a highly accurate 28 of 43 passing.