New Bears quarterback Nick Foles threw passes in only two games with the Chiefs in 2016, but it was one of the best years of his NFL career.
Reuniting with a pair of coaches in Andy Reid and Matt Nagy he had worked with in 2012 with the Eagles, Foles rediscovered the love for the game he had lost during a frustrating 2015 season with the Rams.
"That year was one of my favorite years of football because of the people I was blessed to be around, and it had nothing to do with football," Foles said last Friday during a conference call with the media.
"Ultimately, I got to play in two games that year. And we won both games. I played well. Once again, the love of football came back because of the people that I was stepping into the huddle with and going to work [with] every day."
Foles especially enjoyed reconnecting with Nagy; the current Bears head coach had served as an offensive quality control coach with the Eagles in 2012 when Foles was a rookie third-round draft pick.
After signing with the Chiefs a week into training camp in 2016, Foles was picked up at the airport by the team's trainer. After taking his physical, Foles was dropped off at Nagy's home in Overland Park. Nagy then drove Foles to Chiefs training camp at Missouri Western State University in St. Joseph, Mo., stopping for some barbecue food during the one-hour trip.
That year was one of my favorite years of football because of the people I was blessed to be around, and it had nothing to do with football. Nick Foles
Nagy then selflessly allowed Foles to borrow his car for the rest of camp.
"I didn't have a car and he let me use his car in training camp, so I could get from place to place," Foles said a few days before leading the Eagles into Soldier Field to face the Bears in a 2018 wild-card playoff game. "He just rode with a coach. I mean, that's who he is.
"Not only as a person but as a coach, he's unbelievable. I admire him. He's one of my favorite people in the world."
With the Chiefs in 2016, Nagy served as co-offensive coordinator with Brad Childress on Reid's staff. Foles was Kansas City's No. 2 quarterback, wedged on the depth chart between veteran starter Alex Smith and third-stringer Tyler Bray, who will once again be Foles' teammate with the Bears.
Working with that group instantly reignited Foles' passion for the game.
"Just being around Nagy, being in the room with him, talking with him, being with Alex Smith, being with Tyler Bray and those guys, it was being around the people," Foles said last Friday. It had nothing to do with football. It had to do with the culture and the energy from the human beings within the organization. Four days into training camp, I started loving the game. This love of the game poured in."
A year later, Foles returned to the Eagles and led the franchise to its first Super Bowl championship after replacing injured starter Carson Wentz late in the regular season. Foles passed for 971 yards and six touchdowns in three postseason wins and was named MVP of Super Bowl LII.
We'll never know for sure, but none of that likely would have happened if not for the special season he spent with Nagy and the Chiefs in 2016.
"Being around Matt that year was so much fun," Foles said. "It was fun going in the QB room and being with him and watching films just because of him as a person and what he represents."