Because they were playing the New England Patriots, an organization who’s already been punished by the NFL for illegally recording opponents, the Philadelphia Eagles weren’t taking any chances heading into the Super Bowl.
So, instead of using their last chance on the US Bank Stadium turf before the big game to perfect their game plan, the Eagles practiced everything but what they’d be pulling out on New England—just in case Bill Belichick, who in 2007 was fined a record $500,000 for his staff’s filming an opponent’s sideline during a game, or an underling was spying.
“I believe our whole walk-through was just a complete fake walk-through,” Eagles long snapper Rick Lovato told 620 WDAE in Tampa. “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. … We already had our game plan set all week for the last two weeks. We had two weeks to prepare for that game. A measly walk-through the day before the game, we weren’t going to show anything to anyone, especially being at the stadium.”
They especially didn’t want Belichick and Co. to get a look at “Philly Special,” the trick play that Nick Foles and Doug Pederson would whip out to score a touchdown on fourth down in the second quarter.
“We had run that play during a walk-through like two weeks ago,” Lovato said.
Hall of Fame left tackle Orlando Pace, whose 2001 St. Louis Rams fell in Super Bowl XLII to the Patriots, recently admitted that he wonders if New England’s flawless game plan against his squad was the result of spying.
“There’s a little bit of suspicion there. I think guys all feel that way,” Pace told “PFT Live.” “They had a pretty solid game plan for us, so I don’t know. … They knew exactly what we were going to do down there.”