Clemson football fans may have thought something looked familiar when the Philadelphia Eagles ran that gutsy little trick play last night on 4th down just before halftime. Turns out, it’s likely a Clemson creation, a play that popped up back in 2012.

Here’s where the play started (as best we can tell) and where it’s gone since then…

Saturday, Oct. 6, 2012: Clemson Tigers QB Tajh Boyd lines up in the shotgun, appears to audible to his linemen, cheats out to the right side of the line, direct snap to RB Andre Ellington, who tosses to WR Deandre Hopkins, who passes to Boyd in the flat for a 2-point conversion.

Situation: Clemson vs. Georgia Tech, leading by 5, 2-pt conversion attempt w/ 10:29 left in 4th quarter in ACC match-up. Result: 2 pts, Tigers WIN [embed-3]
The play has been run several times since then on the high school, college, and pro levels, but before the Super Bowl on Sunday, the Pats even ran it at least once back in 2015 (h/t Tigernet). Note: All three players who touched the ball on this play are still active Patriots players.

Sunday, Dec. 6, 2015: New England Patriots QB Tom Brady in the shotgun, audibles “Clemson” to the line, cheats right, direct snap to RB James White who starts a sweep left and tosses to WR Danny Amendola, who passes to Brady. (@NFL link)

Situation: Patriots vs. Eagles, losing by 14, 3rd and three w/ 2:55 left in 3rd quarter. Result, 36-yard reception, Pats LOSS.


Sunday, Feb. 4, 2018: Philadelphia Eagles QB Nick Foles in the shotgun, audibles to the line, cheats right, direct snap to RB Corey Clement, who tosses to TE Trey Burton, who passes to Foles in the flat for a touchdown.

Situation: Eagles vs. Patriots, leading by 3, 4th and Goal w/ 0:36 left in 2nd quarter in Super Bowl. Result: Touchdown, Eagles WIN [embed-2]
It’s safe to say among these three situations the decision to call up this play in the Super Bowl yesterday was the most high-risk scenario, assuming that the Eagles could have just dialed up a field goal to go into the half with some points before they gave the ball to the Pats to start the 3rd quarter.

Want to dig real deep? The Eagles ran the play last night likely created by the Clemson coaching staff. The Eagles’ offensive coordinator is Frank Reich, who had a successful pro career as a QB, including playing one year with the Carolina Panthers, where he threw the franchise’s very first touchdown during a ‘home’ game in 1995. Since the Panthers’ stadium in Uptown Charlotte was under construction at the time, the Carolina football team’s home field for its inaugural season was (wait for it) Memorial Stadium at Clemson University.

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