‘Clemson Special’: Nick Foles’ TD catch was borrowed from the 2016 Bears
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MINNEAPOLIS — The Bears called the play “Clemson Special.” The Eagles renamed it the “Philly Special.” And on Sunday, they used it for the most exciting touchdown of a thrilling 41-33 Super Bowl win.
“There’s been several different variations of that play that we’ve seen people run,” offensive coordinator Frank Reich said. “We were in particular copying the Bears’ version of it.”
Facing fourth-and-goal from a yard-and-a-half out with less than a minute left in the first half, the Eagles lined up in a shotgun formation. Quarterback Nick Foles walked toward the line of scrimmage as if he were calling an audible to his offensive linemen.
Foles stopped just outside the right shoulder of his right tackle, and the ball was snapped to running back Corey Clement, who flipped it to tight end Trey Burton on a reverse. Running from left to right, Burton pulled up and threw to Foles, who was wide open in the end zone in the right flat.
The Bears ran the same play in their loss in the 2016 season finale, which was also at U.S. Bank Stadium.
From the 2-yard line, quarterback Matt Barkley walked to the line of scrimmage and shifted right. Running back Jeremy Langford caught the shotgun snap and handed to Cam Meredith running left to right on a reverse. The former Illinois State quarterback pulled up and threw to Barkley at nearly the exact same spot where Foles caught his touchdown.
“It worked the same way,” former Bears receiver Alshon Jeffery said.
The Eagles installed it a month ago and were tempted to run it against the Vikings in the NFC Championship Game.
“We were wondering, ‘Could we run it against the Vikings after the Bears had already run it against them the year before?’ ” Reich said. “It probably worked out for the best to hold it against these guys.”
Brady, Gronk talk future
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady said after the game that he plans to play next season.
“I expect to be back,” Brady said. “It’s 15 minutes after the game ended, so I’d like to process this. I don’t see why I wouldn’t be back.”
Tight end Rob Gronkowski didn’t deny a report that he’s considering retirement.
“I don’t know how you heard that, but I’m definitely going to look at my future, for sure,” he said. “I’m going to sit down in the next couple weeks and see where I’m at.”
Asked why he would retire, Gronkowski said, “I’m not ready for those questions right now.”
Former Bears Brian Urlacher, who was named to the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Saturday, was introduced during a break in the first quarter. Standing in the end zone, he was honored along with seven of the class members.
Follow me on Twitter @patrickfinley.