BLOOMINGTON, Minn. — “The Philly Special” originated in Texas.
Of the two trick plays involving quarterbacks in Super Bowl LII on Sunday night, Nick Foles’ came from his high school playbook in Austin, Texas.
Late in the first half of the Eagles’ 41-33 upset of the defending champion Patriots, Foles became the first quarterback in Super Bowl history to catch a touchdown pass.
Leading 15-12, the Eagles elected to go for it on fourth-and-goal at the 1-yard line. Foles lined up under center, then moved to flank the right tackle as he called out signals. The ball was snapped to running back Corey Clement, who ran left and lateraled to tight end Trey Burton, who floated a pass to a wide-open Foles in the right side of the end zone for a touchdown with 34 seconds left in the half.
Eagles coach Doug Pederson said the team put that in the playbook a month ago after discovering Foles’ alma mater, Westlake High School in Austin, executed the same play. Pederson called it “The Philly Special.”
Texas quarterback Sam Ehlin ger tweeted Sunday night that he ran that play when he attended Westlake. In 2015, Ehlinger made a one-handed catch while falling into the end zone.
“I did see that clip,” Foles said Monday. “It was very similar to what we did. He scored on it as well. He made a great catch. I guess it’s a Westlake quarterback thing. It was really cool.”
The trick play surprised the Patriots. Defensive coordinator Matt Patricia said his team got caught looking at Clement running toward the left side and that nobody accounted for Foles.
“We drew it up a couple of weeks ago, sitting in Coach’s office just working through that,” Eagles offensive coordinator Frank Reich said. “We’ve been practicing it, and then this week, we just spent a lot of time on it. I’ll tell you what, for a coach to call that play in that situation, are you kidding me?”
The Patriots’ trick play didn’t work nearly as well. Early in the second quarter, a pass thrown by receiver Danny Amendola went off quarterback Tom Brady’s fingertips.