The Philly Special should've been called a penalty for "Illegal Formation," but the officiating crew missed the call, according to an ex-ref.
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The 'Philly Special' Super Bowl Touchdown Should’ve Been Called a Penalty. Here's Why.


Only two quarterbacks have successfully defeated Tom Brady and the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl. Every Patriots fan alive knows these Patriots killers as Giants and Eagles fans credit them with their Super Bowl wins. Eli Manning and Nick Foles sent Brady and the Patriots back to Foxborough empty-handed, but only one did it in such a spectacular fashion that it earned itself a statue. Seriously, Don Shula doesn't have a statue in Miami, nor does former Colts coach Tony Dungy have one in Indianapolis and Jimmy Johnson in Dallas.

Was the "Philly Special" an Illegal Play?

Bud Light' unveils the "Philly Philly" Statue At Lincoln Financial Field

Photo by Kris Connor/Getty Images for Bud Light)

The Philadelphia Eagles "Philly Special" touchdown will go down as one of the most memorable trick plays in Super Bowl history. There's already a statue of Nick Foles and Doug Pederson outside of Lincoln Financial. However, it shouldn't have counted due to an illegal formation, according to the NFL's former VP of officiating and current FOX rules analyst Mike Pereira.

"I know the league came out and said that it's a judgment call, which it is." Pereira said, via Clark Judge of Talk of Fame Sports 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 he (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. 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."

Those are some serious words of wisdom from the former Vice President of Officiating for the National Football League.

Former NFL linebacker and current NESN insider Matt Chatham also initially pointed out that the play should have been ruled dead due to an illegal formation during the game earlier this month.

Chatham's NESN colleague, Zack Cox, took his side by pointing out that the Eagles had six players on the line of scrimmage, rather than the mandated seven via Twitter.

The play changed the course of the game as the Eagles converted on 4th and Goal with a six-yard touchdown pass by Trey Burton to quarterback Nick Foles, which extended their lead to 22-12 just before halftime. That and a touchdown to receiver Alshon Jeffery were the only passing touchdowns in the first half by either team.

While the game itself could have played out differently, the missed call ultimately decided turned out to be a close game for the remaining two quarters as Philadelphia held on to win 41-33 and capture its first Super Bowl victory in franchise history. But then again perhaps this was karma for the Patriots' playoff win over the Oakland Raiders back in 2001, better known as the "tuck rule game."

MORE: The "Philly Special" Statue is the Greatest Super Bowl Tribute of All-Time