Never mind that Jalen Hurts has led the Philadelphia Eagles to the NFC Championship Game. There are more pressing issues: Is he former Alabama quarterback Jalen Hurts? Or is it former Oklahoma quarterback Jalen Hurts?
He can’t be both, apparently. Not when it comes to the latest college football frenzy which has been stirred up on social media.
It has been reported, including here at AL.com, that Hurts – with the win – is the first Alabama quarterback to win an NFL playoff game since 1983.
How can that be if he ended his college career in Norman?
To muddy the waters even more, Hurts played in the Reese’s Senior Bowl with a split helmet.
Let the debate ensue.
When you refer to Hurts as the first “former Alabama quarterback” to win an NFL game since 1983, you aren’t technically wrong.
On one side, Alabama fans cite his three years at the Capstone, a national championship, a degree and Hurts’ support of the Tide after his time is Tuscaloosa was up.
Detractors, however, point to Hurts being benched for Tua Tagovailoa and transferring – and starting – at Oklahoma to finish out his college career.
There are comparisons to Joe Burrow (former LSU and/or Ohio State quarterback), which is a bit of an apples-to-oranges comparison.
While this tweet appeared to set off the debate, it was an AL.com story that planted the seed.
The tweet was met with a number of responses, and the debate spread like wildfire. Here is just a sampling that college football passion is second to none.
Either way, Hurts erased lingering doubts about the state of his right shoulder by throwing two touchdown passes and running for a score during a dominant first half, and the Philadelphia Eagles overwhelmed the New York Giants 38-7 in an NFC divisional playoff game.
Hurts is back, and so are the Eagles as a Super Bowl threat.
Top-seeded Philadelphia will host the NFC championship game Sunday against San Francisco. Hurts finished 16 of 24 for 154 yards. He showed he was fine when he aired out a pass on the second play of the game and hit DeVonta Smith in stride for a 40-yard reception.
Hurts became Alabama’s starting quarterback as a freshman in 2016 and helped the Tide win the conference championship and reach the CFP national title game as the SEC Offensive Player of the Year that season.
As a sophomore, he and Alabama again reached the national championship game. Tua Tagovailoa entered the title contest at halftime in Hurts’ spot and rallied Alabama to a 26-23 overtime victory against Georgia.
Tagovailoa kept the starting job in 2018, but Hurts had one more moment for Alabama. Tagovailoa left the SEC Championship Game with an injury in the fourth quarter, and Hurts rallied the Tide to the final two touchdowns of the game and a 35-28 victory over Georgia that kept Alabama undefeated.
For Oklahoma in 2019, Hurts finished as the runner-up for the Heisman Trophy as he passed for 3,851 yards and 32 touchdowns and ran for 1,298 yards and 20 TDs.
Mark Heim is a sports reporter for The Alabama Media Group. Follow him on Twitter @Mark_Heim.