Philly Special: Eagles Borrowed Trick Play from Bears


The Philly Special, perhaps the defining play of the Philadelphia Eagles’ Super Bowl LII victory, was actually taken from the Chicago Bears playbook.

The Philadelphia Eagles pulled off the stunning upset of the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LII thanks in part to the Chicago Bears.  One of the key plays in the game, the Philly Special, wasn’t a big surprise to Bears fans, who saw the Beloved run that same play at the end of the 2016 season.

The Bears won’t get a day with the Lombardi Trophy or so much as a bottle of champagne, but they should get some credit.  From a gadget play in a meaningless Week 17 game at the end of the 2016 season to one of the gutsiest plays in Super Bowl history, let’s get some background on this play.

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Eagles quality control coach Press Taylor compiles a library of trick plays that the offensive staff raids weekly to find things that they can use.  The Eagles had planned to use the play in the NFC Championship against the Vikings, but they built enough of a lead that they didn’t want to waste it, so they tucked in away in the vault, waiting to uncork it during the Super Bowl.

The guys over at MMQB did a great job detailing what went into making the call and having Eagles head coach Doug Pederson pulling the trigger on a trick play on 4th down near the goal line while hanging on to a narrow 3-point lead:

"“We had a couple of options at that point, but then my eyes just kind of hit that play,” Pederson said. “I was thinking, ‘We keep talking about that play, and calling it in the second half of the game … but are we going to be in a situation like this, to put us up by two scores? There are certain plays that you spend time doing them, repping them, and you have no doubt they are going to work. Without a shadow of a doubt you know. I knew.”"

Check out the play that the Eagles ran in Super Bowl LII:

and compare it to the play the Bears ran at the end of the 2016 season:

That’s pretty much a carbon copy, except they used tight end Trey Burton as the trigger man, while the Bears used converted quarterback Cam Meredith to pass to Barkley.

So in a sense, Dowell Loggains, who was panned throughout his tenure as Bears offensive coordinator, drew up one of the most iconic plays in Super Bowl history.  Credit to Pederson for making the call, but credit Loggains for the design.

Of course, the Bears flashed some razzle dazzle this season on a 2-point conversion with Mitch Trubisky:

We can only hope that the new offensive brain trust can come up with some cool plays and put them on display in a Super Bowl of their own!  PS – the Bears are 100-1 longshots to win Super Bowl LIII next season.