February 14, 2018
On a recent podcast from the Talk of Fame Network, NFL officiating analyst Mike Pereira said that the now legendary "Philly Special" play in the Super Bowl should not have counted because Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Alshon Jeffery did not line up properly.
One more item of interest, particularly to New England fans: According to Pereira, the “Philly Special” that produced a Nick Foles touchdown catch at the end of the first half and was the most memorable play of the Super Bowl should have been called back. Reason? The Eagles didn’t line up properly and should have been penalized.
“I know the league came out and said that it’s a judgment call, which it is.” Pereira said. “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.”
This argument is so dumb it makes my brain hurt. First, it wasn't two yards. It sure as hell wasn't "beyond two" as Pereira is claiming. It's about one and a half, maybe slightly more. But that's not really the point.
The bigger point to be made here, that Pereira didn't for some reason, is that everyone who has taken a look at this play closely has acknowledged that Jeffery motioned to the side judge prior to play to check to see if he was lined up properly, and he was not given the "Nope, you're not cool there" motion from the official. See here...
Certainly, had the official given a signal that Jeffery was not lined up legally, he would have moved up until he was. I mean, is the argument that if the official said he wasn't OK where he lined up, Jeffery would have thought, "I know that this small added cushion behind the line of scrimmage presents no competitive advantage whatsoever, but Ima call this dude's bluff and see if he has the balls to throw a flag?" Is that the argument?
Objectively, the Eagles did absolutely nothing wrong on the above play. They were given clearance on their pre-snap alignment, and they executed the play perfectly thereafter.
Anyway, Pereira's pointless remarks have of course given New England Patriots fans ammo to bitch. And bitch they have!
For example, Jerry Thornton from Barstool Sports wrote a post about how nobody can complain about the Patriots' cheating anymore because they got jobbed in the Super Bowl. If you enjoy the sweet taste of Patriots fan tears, it is an absolutely delicious read that you should bookmark on all of your devices.
The Eagles have a Lombardi and guess what? It looks exactly like the other 51 they’ve handed out. Our success is measured by those trophies and nothing else. Not close calls. Not moral victories. And for damned certain not games that we felt like we should’ve won but the officials c***** them up. The Eagles won theirs and it will never be taken away by bellyaching about the past. All you can do is look ahead, get ready for the Combine and start building a roster that won’t lose Super Bowl LIII no matter how many calls are blown. As a certain grumpy genius says “There’s no shortcuts to being a champion, fellas.”
All I ask is that the rest of the world extend the Patriots the same courtesy. Instead of bitching about Tuck Rules and air pressure. Instead of changing the rules to outlaw the way they covered the Colts receivers in 2003, taking away the tackle eligible formations they used to beat the Ravens in 2014 and making it illegal to hop the center like they did to block kicks in 2016. In other words, to quit discrediting everything the Pats have accomplished over the last 17 years by saying you got robbed and just accept their superiority. Like I have just done with the Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles.
(Hang on, taking a deep breath...)
I mean, imagine if, say, Brandin Cooks checked with the side judge at the goal line, got the OK on his alignment, the Pats ran a legendary trick play for a TD, and the officials called an illegal formation penalty.
Whatever. It doesn't matter. The reality is, the Patriots' success will always be called into question, because, well, they're cheating cheaters, and equating a correctly non-called illegal formation penalty to their long, documented history of cheating is hilarious.
So just sit there, take the loss, and also continue to listen to how your team will forever be synonymous with cheating.
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