Sirianni explains his Jalen Hurts-Michael Jordan comparison originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia
If you compare an athlete to Michael Jordan, you better mean it.
And Nick Sirianni means it.
Shortly after the Eagles dispatched the Giants in the divisional round by a score of 38-7, Sirianni attempted to explain what it’s like for his team to have a healthy Jalen Hurts on the field. This is what he came up with:
“It's like having Michael Jordan out there,” Sirianni said on Saturday night. “He's your leader. He's your guy.”
Hurts, 24, has been incredible all season. The Eagles are 15-1 with him at quarterback and 0-2 with him on the bench. Hurts probably won’t win the MVP this season but he was one of just a few guys in the conversation and he put together an insanely strong case.
So on Monday, well beyond the afterglow of the divisional round win, Sirianni wasn’t backing down from his comparison of Hurts to Jordan, even after making it very clear that he considers Jordan to be the best basketball player ever.
Hurts play has been tremendous in his second year as a starter but this comparison for Sirianni really comes down to intangibles.
“As well as he's run the football, as well as he's thrown the football, reading defenses, accurate throws, as well as he's done all that, what you notice first about [Hurts] is his will to win, his competitive drive,” Sirianni said.
“That comparison is kind of in that aspect of it. Again, was I around Michael Jordan? No, but I was able to watch from afar when I was a kid, but then also you're able to watch these documentaries and you see that common denominator of those things — the first thing you asked me about Jalen, I always talk about all those things, all the intangibles that he has.
“That's where that’s coming from is just that will to win. It's at a different level. He had that big chain on. What did it say? A breed of one. He's a breed of one. That's who he is. He's unlike anybody I've been around just with how much he loves this game, how much winning drives him, how much getting better every day drives him, how much leading drives him. He's special. He is a special dude.”
If you just look at Hurts’ numbers from Saturday night — 16/24, 154 yards, 2 TDs; 9 carries 34 yards, 1 TD — you might not be that impressed. But this is one of those games where the boxscore doesn’t really tell the whole story.
Because Hurts against the Giants played the quarterback position with laser efficiency and command. He led the Eagles’ offense and did exactly what the game called for and what the Eagles needed to win.
Aside from the competitiveness and leadership, the other thing about Hurts that has always stood out is his poise. It’s sometimes hard to remember that this is just his second full season as a starter and that win on Saturday night was just his second-career playoff game.
When asked about Hurts in this moment, Sirianni recited a line he got from his mentor Frank Reich: “No man suddenly becomes different than his cherished thoughts and habits.”
That is a paraphrased quote from Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain’s address for the 20th Maine Monument at Gettysburg on Oct. 3, 1889.
To Sirianni, it means that Jalen Hurts is who he is, even as he prepares to play in the biggest game of his life.
“He's going to have that same demeanor,” Sirianni said. “You just don't all of a sudden change just because the situation changes.
“That's what we think as a team, and I know Jalen, he's going to be locked in, and he's going to work and prepare every day to be ready for this game, and he's going to be ready to go. I know that.”
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