‘Philly Special’ Play In Super Bowl LII Was Illegal

Jonathan Grant | February 13th, 2018

In one of the most gutsy and impressive calls in Super Bowl history, Nick Foles caught a touchdown pass from one of his wide receivers in a reverse-type play. This was a huge shift in the game, as the Eagles punched it in the endzone instead of settling for a field goal or even not getting any points on the board just before heading into the half.

But wait, not so fast. Fox rules analyst Mike Pereira said the play was illegal because there were not enough Eagles on the line of scrimmage when the ball was snapped.

“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 down 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.”

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Pereira knows what he is talking about, as he was the former head of officials in the NFL. It should have been called, end of story.

However, this should not be blamed for the the New England Patriots loss. While officials miss calls all the time, it never defines the game. The Patriots had many other opportunities to win this game, but did not convert.

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