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Nick Sirianni, Jalen Hurts rise to the occasion and are Super Bowl bound

Nick Sirianni
Nick Sirianni

Philadelphia rapper Lil Uzi Vert led the Eagles out of the tunnel to his hit song, "Just wanna rock." Quarterback Jalen Hurts' favorite singer, Anita Baker, followed with her rendition of the National Anthem. The fans were louder than they've been all season. Rally towels were whirling. The Eagles held the 49ers to just one score. And when it was over, players, their families, and Eagles staff celebrated atop mounds of green and white confetti. It was the NFC Championship Game, after all.

"This is something you dream about your whole life," said Head Coach Nick Sirianni.

The atmosphere was electrifying and a Super Bowl berth was on the line, but the team, led by second-year starter Hurts and the second-year head coach remained unshaken, just as they've been all season.

"We've got mentally tough guys that have been through ups and downs not only on the football field, but in life. When you're able to withstand the storm and just keep fighting, that not only sets you up well in life, but it prepares you for moments like this where it's going to be a slugfest back and forth," Sirianni said.

The attitude of mental fortitude has percolated through the locker room since Training Camp – and it paid off big on the NFC Championship stage. Hurts pushed the team past a relentless 49ers defense, completing 15 of his 25 passes for 121 passing yards, plus 39 rushing yards and a touchdown.

"Reflecting on everything that we've been able to overcome, to have this opportunity in front of us, we want to take advantage of it," Hurts said. "The atmosphere tonight was amazing. The fans showed up, the energy, all of it. We need to bring that to AZ (the site of the Super Bowl)."

Each week, the message has been, "The most important game is the next one." Now, that "next one" is Super Bowl LVII.

"I'm forever grateful. I'm forever grateful. Only God knows the things that each individual on his team has been able to overcome to come together as a team and do something special as a group. That's what means the most, 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 the guy down next to me," Hurts said.

"When we experienced some painful times and some tough times, we always found a way to overcome them. You want to be going into it in 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."

Hurts' leadership hasn't gone unnoticed. He shepherded this team of decade-long Eagles, offseason free agent pickups, and talented rookies toward a Super Bowl in his second year as the team's starting quarterback. Eagles Chairman and CEO Jeffrey Lurie sang praises about the team's collective leadership following the win.

"He is a great young leader. He is a terrific young quarterback. When we drafted him, it was the upside we were banking on. We thought he had a huge upside. It takes a couple years. And somebody so dedicated as Jalen and such a great teammate. Inevitably, he is going to maximize everything he has and that's what he's done," Lurie said.

"He's got great teammates and great coaches. And I can't understate it takes everybody. Talk about the owner, talk about the head coach, talk about the quarterback, talk about the (general manager). We're only as good as the staff that we have and in a way that is the secret sauce – the culture and the staff."

The Eagles hosted the San Francisco 49ers at Lincoln Financial Field for the NFC Championship and a spot in Super Bowl LVII.

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