Did Eagles use illegal formation on trick play touchdown?
Did the Philadelphia Eagles get away with one on their incredible trick play for a touchdown just before halftime of the Super Bowl?
The Eagles ran a direct snap reverse pass to Nick Foles for a score on 4th-and-goal with under a minute left in the half. It was an awesome play call, but Matt Chatham on Twitter pointed out that the way the Eagles lined up appeared to be illegal.
The fourth down trick play TS to Nick Foles was an illegal formation, should have been called back…extended WR to the top of the screen is off the ball (needs to be on the line with just the OT on inside him). #SB52 #Eagles #Patriots pic.twitter.com/tdX7hIpiGu
— Matt Chatham (@chatham58) February 5, 2018
NFL rules require teams to have seven players on the line of scrimmage. The receiver at the top of the screen (Alshon Jeffery) was lined up behind the line of scrimmage, leaving Philly with just six players on the line of scrimmage. That would make it an illegal formation.
However, if Jeffery receiver was lined up behind the line of scrimmage, it was only by a small margin and did not materially seem to affect the trick play, meaning his positioning did not appear to give Philly any sort of advantage or add confusion. Receivers also often check with the official when they line up to make sure they’re considered on the line of scrimmage, which means he could have received clearance from a ref in this case.
Regardless, the play call and result stood, and Philly went up 22-12 on New England. The Twitter reactions to the play and call were awesome.