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.