One of the key plays in the Philadelphia Eagles’ Super Bowl LII victory over the New England Patriots probably shouldn’t have counted.
It was speculated during the game that the Eagles should have been flagged for an illegal formation on their infamous “Philly Special” trick play that resulted in quarterback Nick Foles catching a touchdown right before halftime, and Mike Pereira, the NFL’s former vice president of officiating, believes the officials got the call wrong.
“I know the league came out and said that it’s a judgment call, which it is,” Pereira said on 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.”
While Pereira admits where the Eagles lined up probably had no effect on the outcome of the play, he still believes it should have been called on that stage.
“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.”
Had the play been blown dead the Eagles would have been backed up to the New England’s 6-yard line, but something tells us Doug Pederson still would have gone for it.
Officials might also have missed a call on the Patriots’ last-second Hail Mary, but in the end, it was New England’s porous defense and not the officiating that cost them a sixth Lombardi Trophy.