As perfect as the Philly Special was, the Patriots’ attempt at a similar play in Super Bowl LII was the opposite.
It was an embarrassment.
And Tom Brady says Eagles fans won’t let him forget it.
The Philly Special -- direct snap to Corey Clement, flip to Trey Burton, TD pass to Nick Foles -- gave the Eagles a 22-12 lead over the Patriots just before halftime in the Super Bowl four years ago.
But earlier in the second quarter, the Patriots tried throwing to their quarterback. On a third-and-5 from the Eagles’ 35-yard-line, Danny Amendola floated a perfect pass down the right sideline to Brady. It should have been a first down, but Brady -- the greatest of all time -- let the ball float right through his fingertips. Then he threw incomplete on fourth down, and the Eagles took a 15-3 lead a few plays later on LeGarrette Blount’s 21-yard touchdown run.
If the Patriots had pulled off their pass to the quarterback, the whole Super Bowl could have been different. The whole history of Philadelphia could have been different.
Instead, the Eagles went on to beat Brady and the Patriots 41-33 to win Super Bowl LII.
With Brady about to face the Eagles in the postseason again this weekend, Brady was asked about that play Monday on the SiriusXM podcast, “Let’s Go! with Tom Brady, Larry Fitzgerald and Jim Gray.”
Gray asked Brady if he thinks about that play a lot.
“I get reminded of that play,” Brady responded. “Every time I see an Eagles fan I get reminded of that play.”
Brady, who led the Bucs to the Super Bowl championship last year in his first season in Tampa, his seventh Super Bowl title, will make his third career postseason start against the Eagles in an NFC wild card game Sunday at Raymond James Stadium.
“I'm thinking the first play from scrimmage, I'll hand it off, give it to a receiver and they'll throw it back to me,” Brady said. “So what could possibly go wrong with that? I need to redeem myself so expect to see that at some point.”
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On a more serious note, Brady said he has a lot of respect for the Eagles and said they’ve done “an amazing job” this year, going from 2-5 to 9-7 and in the playoffs.
When the Eagles and Bucs first met, on a Thursday night at the Linc in mid-October, the Eagles’ defense was sputtering, their running game hadn’t materialized yet and the wins were few and far between.
“Both teams are quite a bit different,” Brady said. “They've got some different players out there. They've been relatively healthy all year. And we're obviously a little bit different. Our receiving corps is a little different. I'm not quite sure how our backfield's gonna look.
“So I think this is a team that's done an amazing job, the Eagles, over the last nine weeks of the season, playing to their strengths. And a very well-connected defense that communicates with a lot of really good players, especially guys on the defensive front. And offensively they're running the ball better than anyone in the league. So that's a good formula -- good defense, no big plays (allowed), run the football and don't turn the ball over. So they played really well down the stretch.”
This will be Brady’s ninth career start vs. the Eagles.
Brady won the first four -- in the 2003, 2006 and 2010 regular seasons and 2004 Super Bowl -- before the Eagles finally beat Brady in Foxboro late in Chip Kelly’s final season, thanks in large part to a 99-yard Malcolm Jenkins pick-6 and 83-yard Darren Sproles punt return TD.
The Eagles beat Brady in the Super Bowl in 2017, but Brady has won the last two meetings -- with the Patriots in 2019 at the Linc and then again in October.
“They're coming down here to our stadium and everyone obviously wants the outcome to be the same, but we're gonna have to do a lot of things right in order to achieve that,” Brady said.
“And the preparation’s started, the competition's already begun. Everyone thinks the competition's just three hours on Sunday. Competition starts the moment the game ends. So once I realize we're playing the Eagles, you know, we're working on 'em.
"It should be a really challenging game and they're in the playoffs for a reason. They've earned it. They put themselves in a position to compete as well. So I’ve got a lot of respect for this team. They've been pretty tough to beat over the years.”