Paranoia is a dominant gene among the NFL head-coaching ranks and playing the New England Patriots multiplies that nervousness tenfold. Since the Patriots were caught filming the Jets’ from the sidelines during the 2007 season, teams have been wary about facing them. In big games, that paranoia reaches “Ray Liotta-leerily-surveying-the-sky-for-black-helicopters-in-Goodfellas” levels.
The surveillance state had the Philadelphia Eagles on edge prior to Super Bowl LII, as well. No, the Eagles didn’t accuse the feds of bugging their locker room prior to The Big Game. Instead, Philly was on edge like Rockwell about the possibility of being videotaped by the New England Patriots.
In the shadows of Spygate and the years of insinuations of other violations prior to various Super Bowls, the Eagles may have gone to extreme precautions to throw off any furtive methods by the Patriots.
During an interview with with WDAE-AM in Tampa this week, long snapper Rick Lovato, said the Eagles went so far as to devote an entire walk-through at U.S. Bank Stadium to plays that weren’t even in their playbook, Pro Football Talk.
“I believe our whole walk-through was just a complete fake walk-through,” Lovato said. “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.”
But why not take advantage of the opportunity to practice the actual plays in the stadium where the game was going to be played, one day beforehand?
“We already had our game plan set all week for the last two weeks,” Lovato said. “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.”
Had this story been told after the Eagles lost the Super Bowl, Pederson would have been portrayed as a dolt for letting the Patriots get in his head and wasting a walk-through on such a fatuous endeavor. Instead, it only adds to the budding legend of Pederson’s genius, even if the Patriots weren’t actually watching them.