In 2018, Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray and Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts were on different paths when they met in the Capital One Orange Bowl.
That Orange Bowl lived up to the hype that came before the game. Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray had just won the Heisman trophy that year, and his electric playmaking ability had the Sooners’ offense firing on all cylinders.
Meanwhile Philadelphia Eagles Jalen Hurts took a back seat to future Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa in the 2018 CFP Championship game after a dismal first half. Hurts wouldn’t get much work against the Sooners, as he would up throwing and completing one pass for 10 yards in this game as Alabama beat Oklahoma.
In order to make a name for himself post-benching, the next year Hurts transferred to Oklahoma. Ironically that was the home to the last two Heisman winners at that time (Murray and Baker Mayfield).
Hurts took the Sooners to the brink of his second CFP title game. Unfortunately they became victim to the obliteration that future Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow put on the Sooners’ defense.
Pre-draft wasn’t the most kind to either one
Murray was touted to be too short to play the position, and rumors swirled about switching to baseball for his career, but he quickly declined that future just before he was drafted 1st overall by the Cardinals.
He got the benefit of having a full offseason before his rookie year began, and was given the reigns right away. Having Kliff Kingsbury for his head coach has certainly helped and the pair has congealed well together, having the Cardinals in place for the 7th seed of the NFC playoffs,
Hurts flew under the radar in a draft that featured Joe Burrow, Tua Tagovailoa, and Justin Herbert. Hurts was selected in the second round after the Eagles gave a huge contract to Carson Wentz, and once again the drama followed him to Philadelphia. In a semi-repeated twist of fate, now Hurts was the guy swiping the QB1 role from the starter. He made the move look good, posting an upset win over the Saints last week.
The future of the quarterback position, and what to look for
These two are some of the brightest stars in the NFL today. As part of the youth movement at the quarterback position, they have similar skill sets that have led to starting roles in the NFL. Both can move well and run RPO’s. There could be a debate about who has the better arm between them.
In this electric matchup, what we can expect is to see both offensive systems working. Arizona will most likely run to set up the pass, whereas Philly will do the opposite in more of a quick pass scheme in order to try to make amends for their heavily-injured offensive line. Both defenses are coming off of great performances, so both quarterbacks’ scrambling ability will be tested.
The team that has the ball last in this game will most likely win. This week bears a lot of similarities to that of the Dolphins game earlier this year, in which the Cardinals lost a heartbreaker to Miami (Arizona opponent coming off a big win, rookie QB leading team). Any turnovers will be a critical mistake, and depending upon the timing of it may actually decide the game.
It’s time for an Orange Bowl re-do, this time Hurts will get his shot against Murray.