Josh McCown remembers being at his home in East Texas watching Super Bowl LII. He said he was genuinely pulling for the Eagles to beat the Patriots that night.
Sure, Jeffrey Lurie just handed him a couple of million to come out of retirement and hold a clipboard, but the guy was sincere. He pointed out two key reasons.
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Nick Foles, he’ll remind you, is a fellow Texan. And two, like the rest of the football world, he was blown away by “Philly Philly.”
“I was rooting for Nick. It was a fun story,” McCown said. “As a guy who spent a lot of time being a backup, you appreciate what he did. And the courage that Doug [Pederson] had on some of the calls was awesome.”
It’s unclear how much McCown will play Thursday night against the Ravens, but what is without question is that he’s had a rather interesting journey. Here are 25 things to know about the one player Eagles fans do not want to see in the regular season — unless the Eagles are up 30.
1. The Eagles are McCown’s 11th NFL team, including training-camp stints in Miami and San Francisco. He also played for Hartford in the defunct United Football League in 2010.
2. ”I’ve changed systems every year for 18 years,” McCown said. “To listen to [Eagles teammates] talk about the nuances of the system, after they’ve been together for two or three years, is fun. Most of the situations I’ve been in are startups, new head coaches, that type of deal.”
3. He wasn’t exaggerating. McCown has played for 15 head coaches and 18 offensive coordinators in his pro career. Only once has he had the same OC in consecutive years (Carolina’s Jeff Davidson in 2008-09). Mike Martz was his coordinator in Detroit (2006) and Chicago (2011).
4. McCown was a third-round pick of the Cardinals in 2002. A month later, teammate Pat Tillman quit football to enlist in the Army. Tillman was killed in combat in 2004.
5. The Cardinals took McCown with the 81st pick, 10 spots before the Eagles nabbed Brian Westbrook.
6. He’s the last remaining member of what was a pretty underwhelming quarterback draft class. David Carr was the No. 1 overall pick. Joey Harrington went third. Patrick Ramsey (32), David Garrard (108), Kurt Kittner (158), Craig Nall (164) and J.T. O’Sullivan (186) also went that year.
7. Jay Cutler, Sam Darnold, Jake Delhomme, Kurt Warner, Johnny Manziel (ugh) and JaMarcus Russell (double ugh) are among the quarterbacks McCown has either backed up or mentored.
8. McCown’s take on Carson Wentz so far: “He’s a sharp kid. He does all the things that it takes. You get concerned if a guy leaves early or he shows up late or he’s not paying attention in meetings. He’s the exact opposite. Those are the things that afford you to play good football on Sunday.”
9. Got his first coaching experience when he was out of the NFL in 2010 at Marvin Ridge High School in North Carolina. He had played for the Panthers in 2008-09. Has called the experience a “turning point” in his life.
10. Asked whether he’d like to coach in the NFL someday, McCown responded, “I love the game enough to do it, for sure. Maybe one day.”
12. Won the Bears’ Brian Piccolo Award in 2014 for dedication and loyalty. Jay Cutler accepted the trophy at the team’s postseason banquet after McCown had signed with the Buccaneers.
13. ″Josh didn’t know how to say ‘no’ when it came to helping people or extending himself,” Cutler said that night. “That’s a rare quality in this industry and a rare quality in people, especially in the world of selfies and hashtags. Josh genuinely cared about others, and you could see it every day in how he operated and how he extended himself.”
14. Joshua Treadwell McCown was born on July 4, 1979. The only other notable quarterback born on the Fourth of July is Todd Marinovich (1969). McCown’s middle name is his mother’s maiden name.
15. At 40, he would be the oldest Eagles quarterback to play since 1950, according to Pro-Football-Reference.com. Roman Gabriel, age 37 in 1977, is currently the oldest.
16. McCown has played in 99 career games and is 23-53 in 76 career starts. He played in college at SMU and Sam Houston State.
17. Older brother Luke played for four NFL teams in nine years, ending in 2015. Younger brother Randy started at Texas A&M, but did not play in the NFL.
18. The Chicago Bears called right after Josh McCown agreed to play in the UFL in 2010, but he turned down their offer. “I didn’t have peace about breaking that commitment,” McCown told the Cleveland Plain Dealer in 2015. “I didn’t want to leave an example for my kids of ‘Hey, as soon as something better comes along, jump onto that.’ ”
19. The 2010 Bears could have used him, too. They lost a close playoff game to the Packers when they had to turn to third-stringer Caleb Hanie.
20. Was on the 2002 Cardinals when they lost a game at Veterans Stadium, but did not play. His only game action in Philadelphia came in a mop-up role when the Eagles hammered the Bears, 54-11, in 2013.
21. “It was one of those Sunday nights where that place was rolling and we were like, ‘Oh man,’ ” he recalled. “I’m old enough to have played at the Vet, and you try to tell the guys what they’re getting into when they come into Philly. But you don’t quite know until you get here.”
22. Has thrown 98 touchdown passes in his 99 games, with the 12 to Larry Fitzgerald leading the way. He threw four to Alshon Jeffery in 2013.
23. Summing up where the current group of Eagles weapons compares to other teams he’s been on: “If it’s not the best, it’s definitely up there. But it’s probably the best.”
24. McCown had a nice gig with ESPN lined up before deciding to give football one more try. He’s played on two teams with winning records, with most having 11 or more losses. He has never won a playoff game. And still, he’s grateful.