Nick Sirianni was jovial and a bit feisty on Saturday night after his Philadelphia Eagles advanced to the NFC Championship Game. He was beaming with pride and satisfaction following four quarters of utter domination.
When the topic turned to Jalen Hurts — the starting quarterback playing on a bum shoulder, less than 100% healthy — Sirianni’s smile turned roguish. He was ready to bestow the compliment of a lifetime on Hurts.
“To have him out there is like — I know this is high praise, but to have him out there is like having, I shouldn’t even go there, it’s like having Michael Jordan out there. He’s your leader. He’s your guy,” Sirianni told reporters. “Hopefully that’s the biggest respect I can pay to him comparing his ability to being on the field to a Michael Jordan type. This guy leads. He brings this calmness to the entire team. He plays great football. He’s as tough as they come.”
Sirianni’s words were lingering around the post-game auditorium, hanging in the air like Jordan’s shooting hand after dropping a hoop dagger in Game 6 of the NBA Finals. Hurts, the leading candidate for NFL MVP, has the same clutch gene.
“Yeah, I mean, to me, nobody has played any better football than him this year,” Sirianni said.
LeBron James Watched Hurts’ Performance in Awe
Playing on a bad throwing shoulder, Hurts accounted for 188 total yards of offense and 3 touchdowns. He proved to be the thermostat in the room while showing everyone how serious he was about winning a championship. Starving for this s***, in his words.
“You work really hard for these opportunities. They’re not a dime a dozen,” Hurts told reporters. “You work really hard for them, and I’m just very eager to continue to grow. I’m eager to go through anything and everything with this group.”
Sirianni compared Hurts to Jordan, but there was another NBA legend watching Hurts’ performance in awe. LeBron James jumped on Twitter and called out the “haters” for doubting Hurts. This Hurts’ kid is a “special” player, according to King James.
Meanwhile, Sirianni was name-dropping legendary hoopers to compare Hurts to in his post-game presser. Jordan was the non-Philly name he threw out there, but the Eagles head coach wanted to draw a Philadelphia 76ers connection. Sirianni referred to Hurts as a point guard with the way he picked apart the Giants’ defense. Allen Iverson? No, he was a shooting guard.
“He was like Mo Cheeks out there,” Sirianni said. “Do you like the Mo Cheeks comparison?”
Yes, everyone did. Cheeks is the greatest point guard in Sixers’ franchise history.
Jalen Hurts on Shoulder Injury: ‘Good Enough’
Hurts would never use an injury as a crutch or excuse. Following a 38-7 victory over the Giants, the dual-threat quarterback didn’t need to because he was brilliant. When a reporter asked him how he felt physically coming out of the game, Hurts predictably stated: “Good enough.”
His eyes were unflinching. His expression was stone cold. Hurts credited his mental approach more than any physical ailment.
“I think it was just the mental approach of getting it done, and we got it done,” Hurts said.