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Eagles Ran Fake Super Bowl Walk-Through in Case Patriots Were Watching

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistFebruary 9, 2018

Philadelphia Eagles long snapper Rick Lovato (45) and tight end Trey Burton (88) celebrate after winning the NFL Super Bowl 52 football game against the New England Patriots Sunday, Feb. 4, 2018, in Minneapolis. The Eagles won 41-33. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
Frank Franklin II/Associated Press

Philadelphia Eagles long snapper Rick Lovato said the team did a fake walkthrough in Minneapolis one day ahead of Super Bowl LII in the event the New England Patriots were spying on their practice.

"I believe our whole walkthrough was just a complete fake walkthrough," Lovato said on 620 WDAE in Tampa (h/t Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk). "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." 

As for why the Eagles were willing to sacrifice a practice day for such a potentially elaborate diversion?

"We already had our game plan set all week for the last two weeks," Lovato noted. "We had two weeks to prepare for that game. A measly walkthrough the day before the game, we weren’t going to show anything to anyone, especially being at the stadium."

Certainly, the team wasn't running the now legendary "Philly Special" during that walkthrough. 

NFL @NFL

"They're not gonna go for it." But on 4th-and-goal, Doug Pederson did. Patriots & @Eagles players had incredible reactions to @NFoles_9's TD catch known as the "Philly Special." #SoundFX (via @NFLFilms) https://t.co/YRjewS9D04

"We had run that play during a walk-through like two weeks ago," Lovato noted.

The Patriots, of course, infamously were caught videotaping the hand signals of opposing teams back in 2008, and investigators found "a library of scouting material containing videotapes of opponents' signals, with detailed notes matching signals to plays for many teams going back seven seasons," as Don Van Natta Jr. and Seth Wickersham of ESPN.com wrote in September 2015.

The scandal became known as Spygate, and soiled the team's reputation for many NFL fans and caused other owners to become suspicious of Roger Goodell's relationship with the Patriots and owner Robert Kraft. Per that ESPN report:

"To many owners and coaches, the expediency of the NFL's investigation—and the Patriots' and Goodell's insistence that no games were tilted by the spying—seemed dubious. It reminded them of something they had seen before from the league and Patriots: At least two teams had caught New England videotaping their coaches' signals in 2006, yet the league did nothing. Further, NFL competition committee members had, over the years, fielded numerous allegations about New England breaking an array of rules. Still nothing."

In other words, it isn't shocking to learn that an NFL team might take precautions against any foul play when facing the Patriots in the Super Bowl. While there is no evidence that the Pats were spying on the Eagles in any way, Philly apparently wasn't taking any chances.

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