Eagles held 'fake walkthrough' pre-Super Bowl in case Patriots spied

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Eagles held 'fake walkthrough' pre-Super Bowl in case Patriots spied

While the Patriots claim their spying days are behind them, the Eagles weren’t taking any chances. Apparently, they ran a "fake" practice before the Super Bowl, just in case anybody was watching.

At least that’s what Eagles long snapper Rick Lovato told a Tampa radio station this week, via ProFootballTalk. When the team convened for its Saturday walkthrough at U.S. Bank Stadium, there were a few too many unfamiliar faces around the building for Pederson’s liking.

So the Eagles ran a dummy practice instead.

“I believe our whole walkthrough was just a complete fake walkthrough,” Lovato said. “We did it at the stadium. There were certain people walking around.

“I believe I overheard someone say a lot of the plays we were running weren’t even in the playbook for the Super Bowl.”

Interesting if true. First, a bit of history.

The Patriots notoriously got into hot water in 2007 for illegally videotaping their opponents’ defensive signals over a period of eight years as part of a scandal known as Spygate. However, there are also allegations New England filmed opponents’ practices and/or walkthroughs prior to at least two Super Bowls during that period. If true, that’s a much larger breach, as such videos would reveal huge aspects of a opponent's otherwise secret game plan beforehand. It's not implausible due to the teams working at neutral sites.

The NFL destroyed all evidence after its investigation, so we may never know. Regardless, between Spygate and the more recent Deflategate controversy, the Patriots have been branded as cheaters.

The Eagles practiced at the University of Minnesota for most of the week leading up to Super Bowl LII, naturally with the assurance of complete discretion. Yet, it’s not uncommon for teams to take the field at the sight of the big game at least once before kickoff. Given the Patriots also had access to the same stadium, taking every caution was probably wise.

Lovato’s choice of words should be noted here. As a specialist, he wasn’t necessarily alerted to the entire team’s practice details, and admits to overhearing the walkthrough was fake.

Then again, years after losing in Super Bowl XXXIX, the 2004-05 Eagles were one of those teams that claimed the Patriots may have known more than Spygate suggests.

Whether or not double agents were crawling all over the place in Minnesota last weekend, nobody would blame the Eagles for taking the extra step to ensure no such controversy would happen again.

Zhaire Smith has already unlocked the cheesesteak photo op

Zhaire Smith has already unlocked the cheesesteak photo op

Cheesesteaks are great.

People who are new to Philadelphia should eat cheesesteaks. People who are not new to Philadelphia should also eat cheesesteaks.

New 76ers draft pick Zhaire Smith is new to Philadelphia so he went to eat a cheesesteak.

Thankfully, it was a pretty good one at Jim's Steaks on South Street. It appears as if there is no ketchup or other strange substances on his cheesesteak. Hot peppers are not only acceptable but encouraged, in my humble cheesesteak eating opinion.

Congrats, Zhaire for enjoying a cheesesteak successfully without embarrassment.

You can learn much more about Smith and his abilities and fit with the Sixers right here.

Sixers put organization ahead of Mikal Bridges' feelings ... and that's OK

Sixers put organization ahead of Mikal Bridges' feelings ... and that's OK

Brett Brown sold me.

I agree with my colleague Andrew Kulp that the moment the news of the Sixers trading Mikal Bridges broke that I was flabbergasted. His mother works for the Sixers! Bridges was literally talking about how excited she was for him to be in Philly when the news broke. His poor mother! It was pretty much as rough as it gets in terms of optics. 

It looked awful from a PR perspective. There are tons of disappointed Villanova alums today.

But it's an unfortunate situation, in my opinion, not an organizational embarrassment, as Kulp wrote.

An unprotected first-round pick though? Damn. That's enticing.

Then Brett Brown came out after the first round ended and put my mind at ease that the Sixers made the right move.

They did what they believed to be best for the Sixers, a "Godfather offer" if you will. Here's Brown's, incredibly honest and thoughtful opening statement. You can watch it in full above. I think it's worth watching to realize how much thought Brown and his decision-makers put into this one.

"We had 1A and 1B and when the ninth pick was selected you realize, we’re going to get one of our two, and we chose Mikal. And to see that play out knowing the history that he has had in this city and at Villanova, it was very much aligned and he was somebody that could come in a fit with what we had. And so it goes from that level of excitement in the extreme coincidence, given his history in this city, to a situation in between that the phones were active and we knocked back an incredible deal where we would lose him. We didn’t rate it to be a Godfather type of deal, something that really would impact the franchise to the level that it would have to in order to trade Mikal, who we valued very much."

"And then Phoenix came in and offered a 2021 unprotected plus our 1B in Zhaire (Smith), who we value very highly, and you’re in a position that you’re on the clock and you really have a decision to make. And for me, and all of us in that room, what also rules our day is a few things. First — and in this order — what is always best for the organization, I’m going into my sixth season with the Philadelphia 76ers and so what is best for the organization and how do you win a championship, how do you acquire things that can attract stars or develop stars? That pick might be the key to all of this. That pick might be the thing that links a possible trade, and we have our 1B in Zhaire."

The trade was jarring emotionally. There's no sugarcoating that. Bridges is, by all accounts, a wonderful and thoughtful kid. Not to mention a hell of a basketball player who would absolutely help the Sixers in 2018.

Brown later added a line that should make you more comfortable with the Sixers moving on from him: "We are star hunting or we are star developing."

If the Sixers didn't believe that Bridges would be one of those stars, they added an incredibly valuable piece in the unprotected first that can help acquire a star. Either via trade or in a future draft. And they got their 1B on top of it.

Some very smart NBA people even believe that Smith is a better prospect than Bridges. Only time will tell on those two players. But the Sixers did what they believed put them in the best position to land a star.

Isn't that what the Process is all about anyway?

"I'm here to win a championship," Brown said at the introductory press conference for Smith Friday morning.

They pulled off this trade because they believe it helps them get closer to a championship. At the end of the day, are you worried more about one family's feelings or the Sixers winning a championship?

If you watched Bridges speak to the Phoenix media following the trade, he'll be just fine growing alongside Deandre Ayton. That kid is a pro. And the Sixers put them in the position they believe best sets them up to land a star.

Now they just need to go out and do it.

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