Mike Pereira: Eagles were in illegal formation on Philly Special
On second thought, maybe the Philly Special shouldn’t have counted.
After Nick Foles caught a touchdown on fourth down in Super Bowl LII, PFT asked the NFL for clarification about whether the Eagles were lined up in an illegal formation. A league source said the NFL views it as a “judgment call.”
But FOX rules analyst Mike Pereira, the league’s former head of officiating, said the officiating crew got it wrong.
“I know the league came out and said that it’s a judgment call, which it is,” Pereira said, via Clark Judge of the Talk of Fame Network. “The [line] 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 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 [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.”
A penalty would have backed up the Eagles to the New England 6, with Doug Pederson facing a tougher fourth-down decision from there. But as Eagles fans are sure to say, it’s history now.
UPDATE FEBRUARY 13: The original version of this article contained the name of the down judge. Pereira said he made an error in his interview: He clarified that it was the line judge, not the down judge, who missed the call on the illegal formation.