“Philly Special” really wasn’t all that unique

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The gadget play dubbed the “Philly Special” may have been special, but it definitely wasn’t unique.

Apart from the fact that the Bears used it against the Vikings in 2016 (on the same field), a league source points out that it has been used on several occasions in recent years, dating back to Clemson in 2013.

Check out this video, which is a mash-up of both the Tigers and a high-school freshman team running the exact same play.

Regardless of whether and to what extent it previously has been used, the Patriots weren’t ready for it. And it worked to perfection, giving the Eagles a 10-point halftime lead after quarterback Nick Foles stepped away from his position and pretended to bark signals at offensive linemen before a direct snap and a pitch and a touchdown toss to Foles.

32 responses to ““Philly Special” really wasn’t all that unique

  1. Who said it was unique? Who even needs to be told it was unique?

    The Patriots ran practically the same play earlier in the game. Everyone in the room I was in noted the similarity. So did Michaels and Collinsworth.

  2. So Clemson and a high school team have been running the play for 5 years. And it’s been pulled off one other time by an NFL team….

    Yeah, seems pretty unique to me. Especially since it was in a tight game at the Super Bowl, totally confused the Patriots, and I’ve never seen a play like it.

  3. Well yeah that play concept existed before yesterday. Thanks for that groundbreaking revelation. Nobody was claiming they invented the play, they just busted it out at one of the gutsiest moments possible.

    I don’t get what this article is trying to disprove.

  4. Passing to the QB is uncommon, but not rare. But what made the play truly unique was: (1) Having the QB pretend to be barking signals; (2) Combining that trickery plus wildcat plus reverse plus WR pass to QB; (3) Doing that type of trickery in the NFL Super Bowl; and (4) Doing it on fourth-and-goal instead of kicking.
    I could just hear Doug Pederson’s halftime speech: “I just showed you I’m all in. Who is with me?”

  5. Isn’t it the exact play that New England ran agains Philly in a previous meeting? It even had Brady stepping to the side of the formation while pretending to yell for an audible.

  6. I just want to say as an Eagles Fan! I want to dedicate this super bowl win to all you haters out there who constantly trash us. It makes this moment even more special. Hahahahaha. Fly Eagles Fly!

  7. You are really reaching for the Eagles hate today. It’s been previously noted :

    a. The similarities to the Pats play.
    b. It was the same play Nick Foles ran in high school.
    c. The Bears used the same play.
    d. Let it go man, the Eagles won.

  8. Funny, the Patriots used the exact same play against Philly in 2015 (week 13), where Amendola threw it to Brady. So, they knew the parameters of the play. Plus, there are about 12-15 videos out there from college teams running the same play. They should have seen it coming when Foles moved over behind the line and the ball was snapped directly to the back. A LB should have been responsible for covering Foles.

  9. It was a nice play but I’m pretty sure Clement had a path to the corner on the initial run to the left. The Pat’s were way too bunched up in the middle to defend any play to the outside.

  10. “it was run from a shotgun formation so it was legal”

    The right tackle is uncovered. He has a wide receiver split out wide, 2 yards behind the line of scrimmage. He has a quarterback behind him.

    How is the tackle covered?

    You get 7 guys on the line of scrimmage, 5 down and both tackles covered by someone within 1 yard of the line of scrimmage.

    It had no impact on the play, and it’s not why the Pats lost, but it clearly didn’t meet the criteria for a legal formation.

  11. Gave them a 13 point lead.

    The Eagles went for 2 when they should have gone for 1. Had they made the 1, the Eagles would have then kicked the F/G at the half, making it a 10 point lead. Going on 4th down with a 6 point lead was smart. With a 7 point lead, it becomes a flip of a coin but most people would take the 3 because an opening 2nd half drive by the Patriots would still give them a lead.

    When it was 32-31, I was sure someone would mention it but no one did. Lucky it didn’t haunt them but it was the only serious blunder by the Eagles all night. You go for 2 when you need to, not when you’re playing math in the middle of a game.

  12. when I played 8th grade football we had a very similar play we used on the goal line.

    qb acted like he was walking off the field, snap to fb, run a reverse with qb, qb throw it to the TE on the right or runs it to the left

  13. It’s not very often anybody catches the Patriots off guard. Brilliant idea perfectly executed, Philadelphia. Dilly Dilly!

  14. @DugoutDirtbag

    the formation was legal, but Jeffrey was out of position, being 2 yards off the LOS. Should have been a flag on Jeffrey.

  15. It was a very cool play. Not unique. Week 17, Detroit scored their extra point on the EXACT play. Golden Tate to Stafford (who fired the ball into the upper deck). NFL.com tweeted it under “Trickery”. It was cool then…but this was the Super Bowl!

  16. “Shouldn’t it have been illegal formation that the refs missed?”

    Why? Do you know what a legal formation is? I do.

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