Sporting Moment of 2018: ‘The Philly Special’

It’s over to America for Erin McRitchie’s sporting moment of 2018, as she takes us back to Super Bowl LII and the play that allowed the Philadelphia Eagles to surprise both the fans and the New England Patriots.

Foles catching the football to complete one of the greatest trick plays in Super Bowl history. (Photo: USA Today Sports)

There was so many moments to choose from, I’m not going to lie about that. From Scotland reclaiming the Calcutta Cup for the first time in a decade – on my birthday no less – to Edinburgh Rugby beating Glasgow Warriors at BT Murrayfield with just 14 men for the majority of the match.

England managed to win a penalty shootout at the World Cup, whilst Lewis Hamilton won his fifth Formula One World Title. Young inspiration Billy Monger won the Helen Rollason Award at this year’s BBC Sports Personality of the Year Awards, whilst Europe sealed an unforgettable 17 ½ to 10 ½ Ryder Cup win.

None of these compare to my moment of the year – though they do come close. However, the sheer brilliance – and luck – of my moment takes the title.

The game itself was scintillating. It was two teams playing for the most prestigious prize in the sport. It was one mammoth name coming up against somewhat of an unknown quantity. It was the well-known league leaders coming up against the league’s biggest underdogs.

It was Super Bowl LII. It was the Philadelphia Eagles versus the New England Patriots. And the moment – it was the Philly Special. It was a trick play, and it was beautiful.

The Eagles went in to the mammoth clash – with the Lombardi trophy at stakes – with no previous Super Bowl wins behind them and – with Carson Wentz injured – they also were depending on their back-up quarterback Nick Foles. Meanwhile, the Patriots were being lead in to the encounter by five-time Super Bowl winner Tom Brady in his infamous #12 jersey.

Surely, I wasn’t the only one that thought that sounded like the perfect foundation for an upset? The Eagles were hungry. They had the drive and the belief that they were only a matter of steps away from glory.

Win or lose, they ensured their Super Bowl appearance would be remembered with the, now world renowned, trick play coming before the end of the second quarter. It started with four words. Foles had jogged over to the touchline to consult Head Coach Doug Peterson, he then confidently spoke a four-word question: “You want Philly Philly?”

Peterson agreed, and so, in lining up for the next play it was running back Corey Clement who was in position to take the direct snap. He pitched the ball to tight end Trey Burton and what came next relied upon Foles being able to get in to position without being marked by any of the Patriots defence.

He managed it. Burton threw the ball, with pin point accuracy, to Foles who was wide open, and already in the end zone. The Philly Special had made its debut on the grandest stage of them all. Foles, in catching the football, had become the first quarterback to ever catch a touchdown pass in Super Bowl history.

With that touchdown, and the extra point secured, the Eagles ran in at half time leading the Patriots 22-12. It was a lead that they held for the remainder of the match. Their confidence seemed to thrive from that play. It simply wasn’t the Patriots day. It was finally the day of the underdog. They sure deserved it.

I wonder what surprises Super Bowl LIII will bring.

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