Mike Pereira: Eagles were in illegal formation on Philly Special

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On second thought, maybe the Philly Special shouldn’t have counted.

After Nick Foles caught a touchdown on fourth down in Super Bowl LII, PFT asked the NFL for clarification about whether the Eagles were lined up in an illegal formation. A league source said the NFL views it as a “judgment call.”

But FOX rules analyst Mike Pereira, the league’s former head of officiating, said the officiating crew got it wrong.

“I know the league came out and said that it’s a judgment call, which it is,” Pereira said, via Clark Judge of the Talk of Fame Network. “The [line] judge, who was the one that [the play] was on his side of the field, they felt that it was his judgment, and [receiver Alshon Jeffrey] was close enough. Well, he wasn’t. They lined up wrong.

“Not only that, it’s a trick play. And if you’re going to run a trick-type play, then you have to be lined up properly. You could either have six men on the line, or you could have an ineligible number lined up at the end of the line, which was the case. I know what the league has said, but they would have been a lot more comfortable if they would have called an illegal formation.

“We always use a yard [within the line of scrimmage], maybe a yard-and-a-half. But that’s two [yards], and even a little bit beyond two. It’s kind of one of those that has no effect on the play. I get it. But they didn’t line up properly. And it really should’ve been called.”

A penalty would have backed up the Eagles to the New England 6, with Doug Pederson facing a tougher fourth-down decision from there. But as Eagles fans are sure to say, it’s history now.

UPDATE FEBRUARY 13: The original version of this article contained the name of the down judge. Pereira said he made an error in his interview: He clarified that it was the line judge, not the down judge, who missed the call on the illegal formation.

70 responses to “Mike Pereira: Eagles were in illegal formation on Philly Special

  1. This is the dumbest take. Watch the video–Alshon checked his spot with the side judge, who gave him the ok.

  2. I keep hearing that Jeffery checked with the official to make sure he’s on the line of scrimmage, which if true should mean the play was fine. Still, how hard is it to look at where the ball is and make sure you’re lined up with it? Isn’t this part of a receiver’s job? Going for it near the goal line on fourth down in the Super Bowl and you can’t get within two yards of where you’re supposed to stand?

  3. I’m a Pats fan and I say…whatever…move on. Sometimes you get the calls and sometimes you don’t. The league would be better off if they would just get rid of replay and go back to judgment calls and human error. The refs probably blew this call and a few others throughout the game. That said, the Pats benefited from some suspect calls throughout the season. Don’t rely on the refs…if you want to win a game, a championship, go and take it. The nice thing is that you don’t hear any complaining from the Pats. They are already on to another season and another run at a championship. The past is for losers.

  4. cobrala2 says:
    February 12, 2018 at 4:38 pm
    Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda.

    What about the other 100+ plays?

    =====

    that’s what i say all the time here in Philly… the refs are always their excuse in close games or losses.

    there were plenty of other chances to win that game for the Pats.. one missed call doesnt change the outcome

  5. Eagles were better team that day, let them enjoy it. Hogan getting crushed on final play was more blatant but its all history now. Was a fun season, gonna be a long rest of the winter.

  6. Don’t care. If it was against any other team, I might, but the Pats are one of the most beneficial when it comes to calls/non-calls. Actually, I wouldn’t care either way because I’m an Eagles fan, but just saying….. The Pats always seem to get the calls/non-calls so for once they didn’t. Ebbs and flows. If it went the other way with that and the other “questionable” TD calls, it would have been everyone complaining about the Pats getting calls again. I am pretty sure the majority of non Eagles fans are even happier this way. This just gives ammo to the Eagles haters, especially the division rivals, to say they were gifted a win.

  7. When a receiver asks a ref if he’s lined up ‘ok’ and the ref says yes, then it’s a legal formation. Jeffery asked the ref, the ref said ‘yes’ or otherwise answered in the affirmative, so it was a legal formation.

  8. I think it was intentional and really smart by the Eagles. Jeffrey needed to get a clean release to clear out the DB, who if he was able to jam Jeffrey, would have been in the vicinity to get to Foles and maybe would have shut down the passing lane.

    I think they therefore lined up Jeffery an extra yard back and had him check with the side judge. Since the side judge was ok, they stayed in that formation. If he said no, Jeffery would have moved up. Same thing may have still happened.

    Jeffery was really quick to say he checked, so I am guessing that’s what it was.

  9. Whatever. The NFL has a lot of work to do on officiating. All in all this was one of the worst years ever for the officials. Way too many Monday conversations about calls that did or didn’t happen in games.

  10. usg1 says:
    February 12, 2018 at 4:58 pm
    Don’t care. If it was against any other team, I might, but the Pats are one of the most beneficial when it comes to calls/non-calls. Actually, I wouldn’t care either way because I’m an Eagles fan, but just saying….. The Pats always seem to get the calls/non-calls so for once they didn’t. Ebbs and flows. If it went the other way with that and the other “questionable” TD calls, it would have been everyone complaining about the Pats getting calls again. I am pretty sure the majority of non Eagles fans are even happier this way. This just gives ammo to the Eagles haters, especially the division rivals, to say they were gifted a win.

    ———-

    I thought the game was called fairly. As a Patriots fan, I don’t think you can complain. One close call on the TD with the bobble at the back of the endzone, but because it was called a TD on the field I thought it was a fair call.

    The other one you had to call a TD. 3 steps and the guy is a runner. Has to be. Until I saw the third step I thought it would be overturned for sure, but it was there clearly on the replay.

    The refs didn’t over officiate the game and didn’t let any calls win or lose the game. Great game from that perspective.

    There was definitely contact and a push of Gronk’s head in the endzone for the hailmary, but that wouldn’t be called in a million years with everyone going for the ball. You just cant do that unless it were a complete mugging because it could change the outcome of the game.

  11. Well considering how many fans on here say that the Patriots get all the calls here was a cast iron “Help the Patriots out” opportunity for the officials who did not even need to be biased but to simply follow the rule book. Add to that two touchdown calls that were marginal in the eyes of some and there is another two more “opportunities” they missed to help out you know that team the league love so much!

    As a Patriots fan it was a very disappointing loss, but I do not hold a grudge against either the officials or the Eagles. In truth they played a better game than New England and deserved their victory.

    I would like to think coming to these pages to banter and learn from other teams fans would get better now for us Patriot fans but sadly that is not going to be the case. I guess we will have to wait for the two B’s to retire and suffer some losing seasons before we can again just discuss football without being smacked down by so many others!

    Congrats Philly and your fans, the football fan inside me is happy for you even if the Patriots fan within me is not!

  12. Sometimes you get the “bounces,” sometimes you don’t. The Pats have had some bounces go their way in the Brady Super Bowls, and some that haven’t. It’s part of the game. But I hope people give up on the ridiculous narrative that the refs are in the Pats’ pocket.

  13. The fact that the side judge cleared Jeffery makes it reasonable to not call the penalty. But it doesn’t make it the right call. The side judge should have told Jeffery to step forward.

    No, that’s not why the trick play worked, and it’s not why the Eagles won the game. But it does get tiresome to see bad officiating all the time.

    BTW, in the 2006 AFCCG, Ellis Hobbs was called for DPI on a play where he didn’t even touch the receiver. For the people who think the Pats always get the calls, chew on that. (And the number of times the Pats don’t get the calls is fairly high, but apparently not enough for fans of other teams.)

  14. .
    The game is over and won’t be replayed.
    .
    However, as usual, the officials turned in a 3-13 quality season. Every team was shafted at some point and the league has to address the problem eventually. It had to be embarrassing to the NFL to have NBC analyst and former NFL receiver, Chris Collinsworth, admit during the Super Bowl that he didn’t know what constitutes a catch.
    .

  15. It is all history now and probably would not have changed the outcome or anything but I do agree with Pereira that if you are going to run a trick play you need to get the formation right. It is just lame that the officials do not pay attention to details as they should. We expect the players to get it right, we ought to be able to trust that the officials will pay just as much attention to detail.
    So 2 questionable TD’s? Hmmn. Laughing.

  16. over the course of a season, I imagine these even out. honestly, 22 guys running all over the place; not an easy sport to officiate

  17. Eagles played a great game, and the game is over. But while everyone is reflecting, the call that was missed was the rub that turned into a pick to free Ertz on 4th and 1. Watch the play. Center of the field. Many have re-visited and agree.

  18. Keep in mind this is the same guy who said the officiating in Super Bowl XL was fine…

  19. BTW, in the 2006 AFCCG, Ellis Hobbs was called for DPI on a play where he didn’t even touch the receiver. For the people who think the Pats always get the calls, chew on that. (And the number of times the Pats don’t get the calls is fairly high, but apparently not enough for fans of other teams.
    —————————————————————-
    But the Colts had a black coach and the Patriots winning didn’t fit the agenda of having a black coach win a Super Bowl.

  20. Philthy got a decade’s worth of calls that day. It is all water under he bridge and that disgusting team has showed it isn’t man enough to be a boy.

  21. Eagles played a great game, and the game is over. But while everyone is reflecting, the call that was missed was the rub that turned into a pick to free Ertz on 4th and 1. Watch the play. Center of the field. Many have re-visited and agree.

    Rubs are legal. Pick play arent

  22. Oh well , so it was an illegal formation ,,,, and the Patriots were caught red handed with deflated football and they were still allowed to keep there win and rings , it’s a game in the past get over it all ready.

  23. Curious. Here is what he said about a similar situation in a playoff game from 2012:

    Mike Pereira, the NFL’s former Vice President of Officiating, was asked on Twitter whether Tebow’s winning touchdown pass was an illegal formation.

    “Watch on any Sunday. This is a good formation compared to many. They are not technical with this,” Pereira responded, after seeing the picture accompanying this article.

    In the screen shot, the player in question appears about 1 1/2 yrds off the line. Guess that extra 1/2 yard makes all the diff to Mike.

  24. Eagles won and are champs. Hated it, but my pats lost and whining over this play or that play is for losers. All the fat little turds whine and squeal cheater when the pats win. Eagles were better.

  25. Oh well , so it was an illegal formation ,,,, and the Patriots were caught red handed with deflated football and they were still allowed to keep there win and rings , it’s a game in the past get over it all ready.
    _________________________________________________________________________________________________________

    How were the Pats caught red handed? I won’t hold my breath waiting for you to come back with a legit answer. The NFL admitted in court there was no evidence of manual deflation. Did the Colts get caught red handed as well? 75% of the Colt balls tested were also under the required PSI. Try reading up a bit.

  26. wedemboyz88 says:
    February 12, 2018 at 4:41 pm
    So 3 of their TDs are questionable??

    actually none of them were………….maybe thats why demboys dont win, they dont know the rules

  27. These comments are exactly why the NFL is destroying itself…..when the Officiating takes away from the game and becomes the focal point of every play versus the sheer enjoyment of the game then you have major issue with your product. I don’t care if the play was incorrectly called 1 week after the fact……

  28. Congrats Eagles, you now have an imaginary asterisk next to your Superbowl win.

    The good news is, it counts just as much as all the imaginary asterisks Patriots haters put next to that team’s Super Bowl wins, which is to say, diddly squat.

    You won, and nobody can ever take that away from you.

  29. Best Super Bowl in recent memory – because the officials LET THE PLAYERS PLAY and threw few flags.

    I wish they would do hat more often (non calls when not egregious or when they have no affect on the play) and make the game about the players!

  30. NFL fans are absolutely hilariously hypocritical. You all complain about officiating on a weekly basis. But when the patriots are the team that gets the bad calls for once, you all justify the poor officiating! Hilarious! Bend the rules, heck, change the rules! As long as it doesn’t affect the team I want to win, and hurts the team I want to lose!

    If this was the other way around regarding teams, this thread would have atleast 500 comments about how the patriots got away with another one, as it should be.

    Classic. You all preach moral high ground but you’re no different than any other biased fan base that’s wants to win no matter what the cost, even if it includes winning on bad officiating. Heck, if it comes out in the next week that the Eagles cheated somehow to win this game, you will all justify it because you just hate the patriots.

  31. Honestly, if they disallowed the most spectacular play I have ever seen in football I just may quit watching this sport. This play will be what I remember about the 2017/2018 season for the rest of my life. Thank God Pereira wasn’t running this game. Same thing with the stupid catch rule today where they disallow huge plays because of the catch rule. I just want to watch good football and people like Pereira are part of the problem effecting this sport because they look for reasons to take away the fun from this sport.

  32. Shouldnt you guys bee moving on with yourselves?
    Still talking about a play in the SB?

    As if pats havent had no calls go there way, ever….

  33. dupon99 says:
    February 12, 2018 at 7:45 pm
    Of course if that had been the Patriots, everyone would say they cheated.
    ============================

    If you read the comments on any article where a borderline call went the Patriots way and Pereira disagreed with it, there were plenty of people who saw this as evidence of corruption and that the league was rigged. When borderline calls go the way of the Patriots opponent and Pereira disagrees, the same people say it’s no big deal and one play doesn’t decide a game.

  34. What does Pereira say about a team caught spying? Or a team that deflates game balls in the toilet? Should they be allowed to even get to the Super Bowl? Let’s disqualify NE every time they got caught cheating and see how may rings they have. ZERO.

  35. Luckiest SB win in the history of the NFL. No starting CB, illegal formations, improper calls on TD replay. Can’t be happy that the first SB was a fluke and probably should have never happened.

  36. Honestly, if they disallowed the most spectacular play I have ever seen in football I just may quit watching this sport.

    ——————————
    Really nice play but most spectacular ever seen. You need to watch more football. Also, NE ran almost the exact same thing about 20 plays earlier without success, but it was still wide open. So not very original either.

  37. @In Teddy We Trust says:

    I keep hearing that Jeffery checked with the official to make sure he’s on the line of scrimmage, which if true should mean the play was fine. Still, how hard is it to look at where the ball is and make sure you’re lined up with it? Isn’t this part of a receiver’s job? Going for it near the goal line on fourth down in the Super Bowl and you can’t get within two yards of where you’re supposed to stand?
    ======================================================================================================================================
    I was a Headlinesman and Line Judge officiating HS football. It got old really quick when the players would check with me. I’d say “your on” or “your off” because I didn’t know if they were supposed to be on or off.

  38. For a change, it is nice to see the Pats opponent get the benefit of doubt on some calls though overall Pats still did not do too bad with a couple of defensive PI or holding calls while Philly didnt get any similar calls in similar situations. Overall, the refs gave both sides some breaks and voila, NE was beatable.

  39. 5-time champs don’t complain about officiating. Pats have gotten their fair share of calls along the way. It’s unfortunate if the refs got it wrong, it definitely would have changed the complexion of the game, assuming Philly has to settle for 3 there. But that’s sports, man. It’s an imperfect science.

    But what I NEVER want to hear again is how the refs and the League are in the bag for the Patriots.

  40. If it was the other way around, and the Patriots scored a TD on an illegal formation, we’d NEVER hear the end of it. You don’t hear the Patriots complaining about,and you never will.

  41. Patriots beat the Ravens in the division playoff with nothing but illegal formations. The whole game was one giant cheatfest. Then they got caught deflating balls but the NFL is like, oh well, it’s the Patriots, you know they’re going to cheat.

  42. Look, there are 2 types of illegal formations; ticky tack “this guy wasn’t close enough to the hip of the OL, so he wasn’t covered” type and “we’re lining up in a way to trick you and push the rules.”

    Eagles may have committed the Former (despite Alshon Jeffery checking his alignment with the official) and the Patriots did the latter versus Baltimore.

  43. Pereira either misspoke or doesn’t know keys. If not enough people are on the line of scrimmage to show both ends of the line are eligible, then the defense doesn’t know who’s eligible. More important for the safeties than anyone. 2 yards off the line, allowed, is a bit much.

  44. docsmith54 says:
    February 13, 2018 at 1:20 pm
    Pereira either misspoke or doesn’t know keys. If not enough people are on the line of scrimmage to show both ends of the line are eligible, then the defense doesn’t know who’s eligible. More important for the safeties than anyone. 2 yards off the line, allowed, is a bit much.
    ————————–
    Docsmith, you nailed it! Just like the HS ref stated above, the line judge has no idea what play you’re about to run and if the player wants to be on the line or off. Not only that, the ball was on the one yard line, so the Eagles player should have been able to distinguish very easily the LOS being one yard from the goal line…it wasn’t like they were on the 37 yard line in the middle of the field…but I digress, if we’re gonna have a ‘do-over’ game, put Butler in!

  45. Alshon checked with the Ref and the ref said you’re good. Would he have moved up a yard if the Ref said no you’re not good….I would imagine so.

  46. Not the reason for the loss, but he was definitely off the line. It was the Super Bowl, so 90% of stuff that gets called in the regular season is ignored. Both teams got away with holding all night long because they just don’t call it in a Super Bowl. Make a stop on one third down and the Pats win that Super Bowl. They could not even do that.

    That being said, it was a microcosm of NFL officiating for the season. Ignorant, inconsistent, and illogical.

  47. superpatriotsfan says:
    February 13, 2018 at 11:26 am
    Wow Patriots fans sure are salty.

    ——

    Who’s more salty? Us, or some guy affected enough to be parading around as
    “Superpatriotsfan”

    For that alone you can’t be taken seriously.

  48. And the Pat’s should not have fumbled the ball with near 2 minutes to play. Don’t blame the Eagles, or the ref’s, blame yo-self!

  49. So they cheated. Big surprise. People only want to call it out when the pats do it but yourteamcheats.com shows the reality.

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