Only 24, Jalen Hurts comfortable on the biggest stage originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia
The most important person in a $5 billion company is a 24-year-old from Houston who has the Eagles one step from the Super Bowl.
Jeff Lurie is the owner, Howie Roseman the GM, Nick Sirianni the coach, but right now Hurts is the key to everything.
If he plays well against the 49ers, the Eagles will most likely be on their way to Arizona. If he doesn't? Then the 8-0 start, the 14-3 regular-season record, the No. 1 seed and home-field advantage will most likely all be for naught.
The Eagles' hopes of reaching their third Super Bowl in 19 years rest squarely on the shoulders of the guy who didn't have a big enough arm, who wasn't good enough to be a 1st-round pick, who was a wasted draft pick.
"I just have the desire to win," Hurts said Wednesday. "I put the work in for it, try to be diligent with everything, I try to be the best teammate and leader that I can be and ultimately try to set the temperature of the room.
"I think the thing about leadership is people lead because their peers let them lead and that takes a lot of hard work, that takes a lot of sacrifice, it takes a lot of trust and ultimately all those things bring respect, and I think as a team we've just come a very long way.
"The beautiful thing about everything is that we've just tried to climb. I tell (my teammates) all the time, 'There's no point where you'll arrive, there's only the journey.' And we just want to continue to live on that journey but definitely trying to take steps in the right direction and making daily deposits and putting the work in every day and staying true to ourselves and our process."
The Eagles are 15-1 under Hurts this year, 20-3 in his last 23 starts, 12-6 at home the last two years, 8-0 in his last eight starts vs. winning teams, 20-5 when the Eagles are plus-1 or better in turnover margin, 17-4 when he doesn't throw an interception.
On Sunday, the Eagles face the 49ers and their top-ranked defense at the Linc in the NFC Championship Game.
He won't be the youngest quarterback in the game - Brock Purdy just turned 23 last month - but he'll be trying to become only the eighth quarterback to lead his team to the Super Bowl before his 25th birthday. Purdy will too, of course.
Hurts has been remarkable this year. Including postseason, he's run or thrown for 38 touchdowns, a figure only eight other quarterbacks have reached before their 25th birthday.
Only three other quarterbacks have won 15 games in a season before their 25th birthday.
What moments stand out in this incredible season? If you've spent any time around Hurts, his answer won't surprise you.
"I think the moments that stand out are the moments of adversity, the moments of adversity," Hurts said Wednesday. "Because I think in adverse moments that's when you find out the foundation that you laid for yourself long ago.
"I think back to how we've been able to persevere through certain situations throughout the year, overcome certain things and be together through it all."
There haven't been that many adverse moments.
Hurts has lost exactly one football game in the past year.
"It's in his DNA to be here at all times working on his craft," Nick Sirianni said. "Whether that's in the weight room, whether that's in the training room, whether that's in the film room, this guy is obsessed with getting better. He's obsessed with getting better. … I can't say it enough. It's probably hard for me to completely explain exactly how obsessed he is."
Hurts has accomplished so much this year.
Made his first Pro Bowl, earned 2nd-team all-pro, became an MVP finalist, broke a bunch of records, won his first playoff game.
It's incredible to think how far he's come from his rookie year and from last year.
Not that he cares.
"It's not the time for me to reflect on that," he said. "Because I'm not done."