He’s the backup to the most famous backup in the sports world.
World, meet Nate Sudfeld. Nate Sudfeld, meet the world.
The Eagles backup quarterback – who took over the position after Nick Foles moved under center when Carson Wentz got hurt – is a bit of an unknown and while he’s got plenty of experience in the college game, his resume isn’t quite as impressive at the pro level.
So who exactly is Sudfeld? Let’s break it all down.
Sudfeld, 24, grew up in Modesto California where he hit his football stride at Modesto Christian School. He threw for 3,300 yards, 33 touchdowns and 16 interceptions and racked up a handful of awards during his senior year before taking his talents to Indiana.
He played four seasons with the Hoosiers, appearing in 38 games and throwing for a whopping 7,879 yards and 61 touchdowns. Sudfeld still holds records for both stats and completed 60.3 percent of his 593 passing attempts, sitting second in both categories in the history of Indiana football.
Although his college career was historic, Sudfeld almost didn’t make it to Indiana. In fact, he nearly replaced Nick Foles – at the University of Arizona. The pair first met when Sudfeld visited the campus in 2011 and talking to Foles helped spark his interest in the Wildcats. Of course, a coaching change ultimately sent Sudfeld to Indiana, but the QB still remembers his initial conversation with Foles, telling NJ.com:
We talked for a little bit. He was just telling me how great it was there and how they make the (protein) shakes for you right after the lift. He disputes some of the stuff I remember him saying. I was just trying to get a feel for what it was like. He was very helpful and he was really nice to me. It is kind of a small world because I watched all of his games since, obviously, I was committed there. So I was like, this is the offense I’m going to play in, trying to watch all I could and getting to play with him now it’s kind of full circle.
Foles won’t be the only quarterback Sudfeld is familiar with on Sunday night. The sixth-round pick – who spent a season with the Redskins before signing with the Eagles practice squad on September 3, 2017 – has spent the last two weeks pretending to be Tom Brady.
Sudfeld has suited up as the scout-team quarterback to help the Eagles defense prepare for the Super Bowl, but the role is one he’s used to. After all, Sudfeld is the first to admit that he’s spent his career emulating Brady.
“I’m not going to lie: I ate a lot of his meals in the offseason. I’d cook them up myself,” Sudfeld told the Philadelphia Inquirer. “Everything he was doing — anything he was doing — I was trying to figure out. Sleepwear, you name it.”
Sudfeld, if everything goes according to plan, won’t see a single snap in the Super Bowl. He did, however, get some real-time game action earlier this season. It’s not much, but at least Eagles fans can breathe a bit easier.
He played the final three quarters in the Eagles loss to the Dallas Cowboys at the end of the regular season, going 19-for-23 for 134 yards, no touchdowns, no interceptions, and a 90.9 passer rating. His 82.6 percent completion percentage set a new NFL record for completion percentage for a quarterback making his NFL debut.
Philadelphia coach Doug Pederson talked about Sudfeld’s performance after the game:
I thought he played pretty good. He was able to move the team… I thought, overall, he did a pretty good job with really just coming to us new at the end of camp there. Again, did some nice things outside of maybe one, two, or three decisions during the game.
The Eagles are hoping they won’t have to turn to Sudfeld in the Super Bowl, but the backup is ready and, most importantly, excited to watch a championship game.