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Mike Pereira Says the Philly Special Was Illegal and Shouldn't Have Counted

USA TodayThe New England Patriots got a tough break when the Philadelphia Eagles ran the “Philly Special,” according to Fox rules analyst and former NFL official Mike Pereira.

The Eagles were in an illegal formation on the play, but that penalty went uncalled as Philly completed their fourth-down attempt with a touchdown pass from tight end Trey Burton to quarterback Nick Foles on a trick play.

“I know the league came out and said that it’s a judgment call, which it is,” Pereira said on a podcast by 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 Jeffery] 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. … 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.”

I bring this up today not to complain about the Patriots getting fisted by the officials, but to praise the football loving public of New England. Those 16 percent of the American population surveyed who said they were pulling for the Patriots a week and a half ago. Because we have said none of these things.

Oh sure, we talked about it among ourselves. We’d all seen Matt Chatham’s breakdown of the illegal formation on the Philly Special. We saw Chris Hogan get earholed on the Hail Mary at the end, way beyond the 5-yard illegal contact line:

Again, we said nothing to the rest of you. Why? Because that is loser talk, and we’ll have none of it.

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 cocked 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.

Too bad not everyone is as gracious and classy as Patriots fans. Sad!

@jerrythornton1