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Philadelphia Eagles QB Nick Foles is not just a Super Bowl champion, he’s also an astute commentator on the current state of social media. In a post-Super Bowl interview, Foles hit on the unrealistic expectations established by social media. As Foles puts it, social media has basically become a “highlight reel” of our lives, and doesn’t do justice to all the hard work and failure that goes into making those highlights.
The ups and downs of Nick Foles
Consider the case of Foles himself. He’s a Super Bowl champion, the new face of the city of Philadelphia, and a sports legend. The trick play for a touchdown that he helped to design and pull off – the Philly Special – will go down in sports lore as one of the greatest plays ever. If this were anyone else, there would be Instagram photos galore, selfie pics with the Super Bowl trophy, and lots of swagger on Twitter. Surely, there would be potshots taken at all the teams that gave up on him, and tweets aimed at the haters in the media who thought he had no chance to take Philly to the promised land once MVP-caliber star QB Carson Wentz went down with a devastating injury.
But Foles knows better than anyone else that life has its ups and downs. Just a few years ago, he was contemplating retirement. He was a backup QB for life, and would never be given a starting job. Even fans in Philadelphia were skeptical. When the Eagles closed out the season with Foles, the team looked like it was incapable of scoring even a single touchdown.
A month ago, who could have realistically predicted that Foles would lead the Eagles to 41 points and a Super Bowl victory? In fact, some NFL “experts” were even raising the prospect that the Eagles might have to turn to untested Nate Sudfield (the ultimate no-name backup QB) if things with Foles didn’t turn around fast. Even the most diehard Eagles fans were hoping that the Philly D could lead the way and “protect” Foles from having to do much of anything. Just don’t throw a pick-six or fumble, and we’ll be OK, seemed to be the conventional wisdom.
Social media needs to recognize that failure is a part of life
It’s striking, then, at just how modest Foles has been in the days after the Super Bowl victory. He has kept his head on straight. Foles notes in his interview that “failure is a part of life.” He says that he has failed “thousands of times.” He has “daily struggles” that never show up on social media.
So what’s the big takeaway lesson here? According to Foles, we need to embrace the struggle. And we need to be transparent about what’s going on in our lives. Don’t think about Facebook, Instagram and Twitter merely as “highlight reels” where you only post the highest highs, and not the lowest lows. Failure is a part of life, and there’s no reason why social media should ignore that fact.