“Philly Special” was an ingenious play call, but former NFL director of officiating Mike Pereira believes Nick Foles’ touchdown catch on the play in Super Bowl 52 should have been called back for an illegal formation.
“The down judge . . . felt that it was his judgment, and he (receiver Alshon Jeffery) was close enough,” Pereira, now an analyst for Fox Sports, told the Talk Fame Sports Network. “Well, he wasn’t. They lined up wrong.”
The play has been the subject of ongoing confusion, largely due to the vague nature of the rule.
Seven players must be on the line of scrimmage, but it is left to the officials’ judgment to determine if a player is on the line.
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The Super Bowl officiating crew ruled Jeffery was close enough to the line, but Pereira obviously believes they got the call wrong.
Pereira also waded into the debate surrounding the NFL’s catch rule, even harking back to the infamous 2014 Dez Bryant non-catch.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has previously signaled the league’s intent to revisit the catch rule this offseason, and Pereira has made it clear that changes must be made.
“Under my proposal,” said Pereira, “and what I think the rule ought to change to be, then I think Dez Bryant’s catch was a catch.”
“The rule got in trouble because they differentiated between a receiver who is upright and on his feet and a receiver who is going to the ground. Two different rules. And I think that is the mistake,” Pereira added,
Pereira went on to outline his proposed catch rule, one where officials stay clear of overly judicious analysis by replay.
“To me, you treat them the same way. It’s control, two feet and time,” Pereira said. “Time is described in the (rule) book as turning upfield, taking extra steps, tucking the ball in … and where the rule really started to have problems is when replay started to make decisions as to what is the element of time.”
“Replay can decide control. Replay can decide two feet like the Clement play. But element of time is subjective.”
Pereira was referring to the TD catch by Eagles running back Corey Clement in the Super Bowl. There was debate over whether Clement caught the ball inbounds.