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The plays that defined Nick Foles’ Super Bowl LII MVP performance

Nick Foles started the season as the Philadelphia Eagles’ backup quarterback, but finished it as a legend



When the Philadelphia Eagles defeated the New England Patriots after one of the most exciting Super Bowls in recent years, there was really only one man who could pick up the game’s Most Valuable Player award.

The Eagles’ backup quarterback Nick Foles was the star of the show against New England Patriots at Super Bowl LII as he delivered an MVP performance to outgun his more highly-vaunted opposite number Tom Brady in a thrilling back-and-forth game that will be long remembered as one of the best games in Super Bowl history.

Foles completed 28 of 43 passes for 373 yards, with three touchdowns, one interception and even a touchdown catch of his own.

Foles gave us a glimpse of the sort of performance he would deliver with his first scoring contribution of the game – an inch-perfect 34-yard touchdown throw to wide receiver Alshon Jeffery, who executed a catch every bit as good as the pinpoint delivery by his quarterback.

Then, with 34 seconds remaining in the half Foles, the quiet man of Super Bowl LII decided to make a little noise of his own.

After seeing Brady fail to catch a pass during a first-half trick play by the Patriots, and with his team facing a do-or-die 4th and Goal on the Patriots’ one-yard line, Foles calmly trotted over to Eagles’ head coach Doug Pederson and asked him: “You want ‘Philly Philly?'”

Pederson took a split second to consider his quarterback’s suggestion and simply replied: “Yeah, let’s do it.”

What followed was one of the best, ballsiest, trick plays seen in a Super Bowl in many a year. Named the “Philly Special”, Foles started out in the shotgun formation, then jumped forward, seemingly to communicate an audible to his offensive line, only to then position himself on the end of the line itself.

The ball was then snapped by center Jason Kelce to running back Corey Clement, who flipped the ball to tight end Trey Burton.

During this time Foles had drifted out to the right hand side and was heading, uncovered, into the end zone. Burton threw a perfect pass, and Foles – the man whose arm accounted for three touchdown passes that night – caught a touchdown pass of his own.

It was a hammer blow to the Patriots, who were close to stopping the Eagles’ drive and heading into the locker rooms with a huge psychological advantage at the break.

But Foles’ gutsy play call, and Pederson’s confidence in his backup quarterback, meant the advantage was with the Eagles. And Foles came out in the second half and pinged two more touchdown passes to seal a memorable victory.

First he produced the best pass of the game, as he found Clement in the back of the end zone for a 22-yard touchdown.

Then he combined with Zach Ertz for an 11-yard touchdown, as the big tight end’s catch and run ended with him diving into the end zone for what proved to be the game-winning score.

But when the highlights are played and replayed in future years, the one play that will stick out over all others will be Foles’ touchdown catch – the “Philly Special”, as the man who spent most of the season on the sidelines stepped into the breach at the sharp end of the season to take the Eagles all the way to their first-ever Super Bowl title, winning 41-33 in an instant classic.

The Birth of the ‘Philly Special’

NFL Network show Good Morning Football’s Peter Schrager brilliantly tells the story of how that incredible trick play made it into the Eagles’ playbook, and eventually onto the biggest stage in the sport, as Foles and Pedersen unleashed it on an unsuspecting Patriots defense at Super Bowl LII.

Freelance sports writer and MMA reporter with 20 years’ experience in the UK's national media covering major sporting events including UFC world title fights, Olympic Games, FIFA World Cup, UEFA European Championships, Grand National and the FA Cup Final.

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