Philly Special

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Philly Special
US Bank Stadium - West Facade.jpg
U.S. Bank Stadium, the site of the game
1 2 3 4 Total
PHI 9 13 7 12 41
NE 3 9 14 7 33
Date February 4, 2018
Stadium U.S. Bank Stadium, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Referee Gene Steratore
Attendance 67,612
TV in the United States
Network NBC
Announcers Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth, and Michele Tafoya

The Philly Special[1] (also known as Philly Philly)[2] was a trick play between Philadelphia Eagles players Corey Clement, Trey Burton and Nick Foles on fourth-down-and-goal in Super Bowl LII. On the play, quarterback Foles moved up to behind his offensive line and the ball was directly snapped to running back Clement. Clement went on to pitch the ball to Burton, who passed the ball to a wide-open Foles for the touchdown; Foles thereby became the first player in Super Bowl history to both throw for and catch a touchdown.[3] Eagles coach Doug Pederson's decision to go for a touchdown rather than attempt a field-goal on the play helped put the Eagles in a better position to defeat the New England Patriots 41–33, and subsequently win Super Bowl LII.[4] Many analysts have since called the play one of the gutsiest play-calls in Super Bowl history.[5]

Previous drive summary

On the previous Philadelphia possession, Nick Foles' pass was intercepted by Patriots defensive back Duron Harmon.[6] The Patriots, led by quarterback Tom Brady, drove down the field and scored on a James White 26 yard touchdown run to cut the Eagles lead to 3.[7][8] After a Kenjon Barner kick return to the 30 yard line and two plays for 7 yards, the Eagles were faced with 3rd and 3. Nick Foles was able to find Corey Clement on a wheel route for 55 yards, which set up first-and-goal, but the Eagles' drive stalled, which brought up fourth-and-goal.[9]

The play

Diagram of the Philly Special

Foles lined up in the shotgun formation, but moved up to the right side of the offensive line behind right tackle Lane Johnson and yelled "kill, kill", followed by "Lane, Lane." Foles then stayed on the right side of the offensive line and the ball was snapped to running back Corey Clement. Clement then ran left and flipped the ball to Trey Burton, to complete a reverse to the right side of the field. Finally, Burton threw the ball to Foles, who ran a route to the right corner of the end zone and made the catch for a Philadelphia touchdown. After the extra-point was successfully kicked by Jake Elliott, the Eagles went up 22–12.

All three players who touched the ball on this play began the season as backups. Corey Clement was a third-string running back, Trey Burton was a third string tight-end and Nick Foles began the season as the backup quarterback to Carson Wentz.[10][11][12]

Many designs of this play following the Super Bowl have TE Zach Ertz blocking in a different location.

Broadcasting calls

Before the play was called, NBC broadcaster Cris Collinsworth expressed his shock on-air that the Eagles would go for it, as he said, "This is an unbelievable call...This is like going for an onside kick. This could decide the game."[13]


Al Michaels made the call with Collinwsorth for NBC. Michael's call:


Eagles broadcasters Merrill Reese and Mike Quick made the call for 94.1 WIP, the team's flagship station. Reese's call:


Following the play, some fans questioned if it was legal.[who?] According to the NFL Rulebook, the "offensive team must have at least seven players on line" and defines that a non-snapper player is on the line if the player's helmet "break[s] a vertical plane that passes through the beltline of the snapper."[15] However, when looking back at the play, they argued that Eagles' wide-receiver Alshon Jeffery wasn't on the line of scrimmage, but rather slightly off it. Therefore, they argued, the Eagles had only six players on the line of scrimmage instead of the required seven. Fox Sports rules expert and former NFL referee Mike Pereira even said "...They lined up wrong...Not only that, [but] it’s a trick play. And if you’re going to run a trick-type play, then you have to be lined up properly...It’s kind of one of those [penalties] that has no effect on the play. I get it. But they didn’t line up properly. And it really should’ve been called."[16][17] However, before the snap, Jeffery pointed to the down judge, asking if he was lined up correctly and got a head nod in return, indicating he was properly aligned.[18] This practice is typical at all levels of the sport for confirming proper alignment before a play.[citation needed]


The Eagles went on to win Super Bowl LII, 41–33. It was the team's first NFL championship since 1960, and first ever Super Bowl win.[19]

After the game, coach Doug Pederson told reporters "We call [the play] the Philly special..." Pederson also noted that the play came from “...[looking] at different plays around the league and the collegiate ranks, and things that over the years that might fit what we do. We found this one that fit, and we’ve been working on it for the last couple of weeks and tonight was the night.”[20]

Two days after the game, Showtime's Inside the NFL released footage with audio between Coach Doug Pederson and Nick Foles. It showed Nick Foles requesting the Philly Special and Pederson responding by saying “Yeah, let’s do it."[21][22]

On February 20, ESPN's Darren Rovell announced that the Philadelphia Eagles had filed for a trademark for the term "Philly Special." If the team wins the rights, they would most likely use the term for apparel and other paraphernalia. Seven other groups, including Yuengling, also filed for the trademark.[23] Yuengling later retracted their file for the trademark.

At the NFL Owners Meetings in Orlando, Doug Pederson said that the play is being unofficially retired for at least the next season due to other teams' awareness of the play. [24]


  1. ^ Jones, Lindsay H. (February 5, 2018). "Nick Foles' trick-play TD catch in Super Bowl was true 'Philly Special'". USA Today. Retrieved February 20, 2018. 
  2. ^ Hurley, Michael (February 8, 2018). "Patriots-Eagles Mic'd Up In Super Bowl LII: Foles, Pederson Had No Fear Of Belichick's Defense". WBZ-TV. Retrieved February 20, 2018. 
  3. ^ Graziano, Dan (February 4, 2018). "Guts and glory: Eagles coach Doug Pederson had game for the ages". ESPN. Retrieved February 20, 2018. 
  4. ^ Manahan, Kevin (February 4, 2018). "Super Bowl: Eagles vs. Patriots RECAP, score and stats". Retrieved February 20, 2018. 
  5. ^ Graziano, Dan (February 4, 2018). "Guts and glory: Eagles coach Doug Pederson had game for the ages". ESPN. Retrieved April 7, 2018. 
  6. ^ Bird, Hayden (February 4, 2018). "The Patriots followed Duron Harmon's goal-line interception with a 90-yard touchdown drive". The Boston Globe. Retrieved February 20, 2018. 
  7. ^ Buchmasser, Bernd (February 4, 2018). "Super Bowl 52 Patriots vs Eagles: James White scores New England's first touchdown of the day". Pats Pulpit. Retrieved February 20, 2018. 
  8. ^ Florjancic, Matthew (February 4, 2018). "WATCH: James White caps 90-yard drive with touchdown run for New England Patriots". Cleveland: WKYC-TV. Retrieved February 20, 2018. 
  9. ^ Johnson, Raphielle (February 4, 2018). "Corey Clement 55-Yard Catch Puts Eagles In Red Zone". Retrieved February 20, 2018. 
  10. ^ Belson, Ken; Longman, Jeré (February 5, 2018). "How Nick Foles and the Eagles Tricked the Patriots". The New York Times. Retrieved February 6, 2018. 
  11. ^ Beaton, Andrew; Cohen, Ben (February 5, 2018). "The Trick Play the Philadelphia Eagles Borrowed to Win the Super Bowl". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved February 20, 2018. 
  12. ^ Smith, EJ (February 4, 2018). "Video: Eagles' Super Bowl trick play ends with Nick Foles catching a touchdown". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved February 20, 2018. 
  13. ^ Pergament, Alan (February 4, 2018). "Michaels, Collinsworth have strong, perplexing moments on Super Bowl call". The Buffalo News. Retrieved February 20, 2018. 
  14. ^ Tornoe, Rob (February 5, 2018). "Listen to Merrill Reese's call of the Eagles' Super Bowl win". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved February 20, 2018. 
  15. ^
  16. ^ Gallen, Daniel (February 13, 2018). "Rules analyst says Philadelphia Eagles' signature 'Philly Special' in Super Bowl was illegal formation". The Patriot-News. Retrieved February 20, 2018. 
  17. ^ Rapaport, Daniel (February 12, 2018). "Mike Pereira: Eagles lined up illegally on 'Philly Special'". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved February 20, 2018. 
  18. ^ Kirshner, Alex (February 5, 2018). "No, that Foles TD catch wasn't from an illegal formation". SB Nation. Retrieved February 20, 2018. 
  19. ^ King, Peter (February 5, 2018). "The Philly Special: Inside the 'Set of Stones' Play Call That Helped the Eagles Win the Super Bowl". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved February 20, 2018. 
  20. ^ Doug Pederson Post Game Press Conference, "We call it the Philly special..." (YouTube). Sports Complex. February 4, 2018. Retrieved March 6, 2018. 
  21. ^ Knoblauch, Austin (February 7, 2018). "Nick Foles ordered up 'Philly Special' trick TD play call". National Football League. Retrieved February 21, 2018. 
  22. ^ "'Philly, Philly': 'Inside The NFL' Footage Reveals Nick Foles Made Trick Play Call In Super Bowl". KYW-TV. February 6, 2018. Retrieved February 20, 2018. 
  23. ^ Chiari, Mike (February 20, 2018). "Eagles File to Trademark 'Philly Special" After Super Bowl 52 Win over Patriots". Bleacher Report. Retrieved February 20, 2018. 
  24. ^ Kerr, Jeff (March 27, 2018). "Doug Pederson unofficially retires 'Philly Special'". 247 Sports. Retrieved March 31, 2018. 

External links

  • Video of the play (from the NFL's official YouTube channel)
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