Behind the Scenes of the Immortal ‘Philly Special'

At first, they didn't know what to name the play.

"We kind of just all collaborated on that one offensively, because if not it was going to get real wordy," Doug Pederson said Wednesday.

"So we just said, 'You know what? Let's call it apples.' 'No? Let's call it oranges. No?

"Philly Special! So that's what we tagged it."

Philly Special. 

Two words that will be forever immortalized in Philadelphia sports history.

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Everybody knows about the Miracle at the Meadowlands, which happened 39 years ago. Everybody knows about 4th and 26, which was 14 years ago.

A century from now, they'll still be talking about Philly Special, the miracle 4th-down play that helped the Eagles win their first championship in 57 years.

The legendary play came to life for fans over the past 24 hours as video emerged with quarterback Nick Foles - miked up - calmly suggesting the play to Pederson on the sideline at U.S. Bank Stadium during a time out and Pederson - equally calmly - agreeing to it.

The video is insane. Foles and Pederson are having this perfectly normal  conversation about using a trick play in the Super Bowl. 

"The great thing about Doug is he's always going to listen," Foles said Wednesday. "It just came to me, it just felt like the right time. It's ultimately his decision, he can say no, but that's the great thing about him. He has confidence in his players, he has confidence in me, and you see on the replay, it's really cool, you just get a little insight into our relationship.

"A lot of trust, a lot of faith, and it was really cool to go out there in that moment to go out there and get a touchdown on it."

The Eagles led the Patriots 15-12 with 38 seconds in the first half and a 4th-and-goal on the 1-yard-line.

A pivotal moment on the greatest stage in sports. More than 100 million watched on TV as Foles approached Pederson on the sideline and said, "Philly Philly?"

Now, the name of the play is Philly Special, and Pederson looked confused for split second because that's not exactly what Foles said.

"For some reason, I said, 'Philly Philly,' and I looked at him and in the moment I bet he just was like what was I talking about? Then he realized and said, yeah."

He stares at Foles for a moment and then nods his head slightly and says, "Yeah, let's do it."

Pederson said Wednesday he knew all along what play Foles was talking about. He just needed a moment to process it.

Maybe the gutsiest call in NFL history.

You can watch the play 100 times and see something new each time.

As Foles moves from behind center to behind right tackle Lane Johnson, rookie running back Corey Clement lifts his hands up as if to say, "What are you doing?"

That was a brilliant touch.

"I tried to be the best actor on that play," Clement said in the locker room Wednesday. "Tried to make it look like I didn't know what Nick was doing as he was walking up to Lane. So you've got to sell the little things for the play to happen."

Clement then takes the direct snap from Jason Kelce and flips to tight end Trey Burton, who lobs a touchdown pass to a wide-open Foles in the right side of the end zone.

It was only the third touchdown pass on a fourth down in Super Bowl history.

In the 1985 Super Bowl, Steve Grogran threw an eight-yard TD to Irving Fryar for the Patriots against the Bears, who already led 44-10. And in 1991, Jim Kelly threw a four-yarder to Don Beebe in the final minutes against the Redskins, who already led by 26.

So it was the first fourth-down TD pass in Super Bowl history in a close game.

"Just being fourth down, that time of the game, it just felt right," Foles said. "That's such a play where you just have to feel it, and I was feeling it, and when I told Doug that's what I was feeling it, he felt the same way, as y'all saw, and it was really cool and I'm really, really happy it was executed and it worked."

The Eagles got the play from the Bears, who ran it with Alshon Jeffery last year. The Eagles started practicing it about a month ago, just waiting for the right chance to use it.

"That was a play that was in our plus-five red-zone area," Pederson said. "It was a play we had discussed the night before. You just never know when that play is going to be called.

"There was a lot of conversation, I had just called a time out on the play before so we had some time to think about it and talk about it and suggest different things. There were a lot of suggestions, Nick had some suggestions as well, he came over to the sideline area, and we ultimately agreed on the Philly special."

It's a play with a lot of moving pieces, but Clement, Burton and Foles all did their part perfectly.

"I tried not to bobble the snap," Clement said. "I made sure I secured it before I even took off. And then once I put it in Trey's hands, it was his problem from there. So he had to make it happen after that."

Foles became the first quarterback in postseason history with three touchdown passes and a touchdown catch and only the third in NFL history - the first since Jim McMahon 32 years ago.

And the rest of the world learned what we learned over the last three months.

That Pederson is an absolutely fearless play caller.

"I just think it shows the trust that we have as quarterbacks and the trust that they have in me to call that play and the guys to execute it," Foles said.

"It was the right time, the right moment, and obviously it'll be a pretty famous play, talked about for a long time."

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