Eagles player: We ran 'fake walkthrough' in case Patriots were watching
The NFL community remains largely polarized on the subject of the dynastic New England Patriots and if the instances the league has sanctioned then for cheating are legitimate or merely sour grapes.
Apparently, the Philadelphia Eagles decided to err on the side of caution.
The Eagles' day-before-game practice session in advance of Super Bowl LII last week "was just a complete fake walkthrough," Philadelphia's long snapper, Rick Lovato, said during an interview with WDAE radio in Tampa .
Throughout the season, teams meet for a light practice session the day before a game in which pads aren't worn and plays typically are practiced at no more than half-speed. While these usually occur at a team's home facility — they will travel for road games after completing the workout — during the Super Bowl, these are held at the stadium.
The Patriots were accused of taping the St. Louis Rams' walkthrough prior to their first Super Bowl title 16 years ago, though that has been refuted. The Patriots, of course, were disciplined by the NFL for illegally taping other team's signals during the regular season a few years later.
"I believe our whole walk-through was just a complete fake walk-through," Lovato said of the Eagles' session Saturday, according to a transcript compiled by 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."
Philadelphia upset New England, 41-33. One of the highlights of the game was a trick play on fourth down at the goal line in which quarterback Nick Foles caught a touchdown pass.
"We had run that play during a walk-through like two weeks ago," Lovato said, adding that the Eagles purposefully did not run the play in Minnesota because of concerns that the Patriots might be watching.
"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."
Many Steelers players from more than a decade ago maintain AFC championship game losses to the Patriots in 2002 and '05 were marred because New England players knew Steelers' signals and play calls.
Chris Adamski is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @C_AdamskiTrib.