The “Philly Special” set the tone for the Eagles’ 41-33 Super Bowl win over the Patriots in February.
Nick Foles caught it. Trey Burton threw it. Foles pitched the gutsy fourth-and-1 idea to Doug Pederson, who said, “Let’s do it.”
Up in the coaches’ booth at U.S. Bank Stadium, the guy who unearthed the play that will live forever in Philadelphia sports lore tried to contain his excitement.
“It was awesome,” Press Taylor said Monday. “I don’t think I could have ever imagined that it would end up being a fourth-and-1 call in the Super Bowl. I don’t think anybody would have.
“All the credit goes to Nick and coach Pederson for calling it at that time, and the players for executing it the way that they did. Me getting credit for it is way overblown.
“It’s the result of just the environment that coach Pederson and coach Reich [former offensive coordinator Frank Reich] had created among the staff.”
Taylor, 30, who replaced John DeFilippo as the team’s quarterbacks coach shortly after the Super Bowl, was an offensive quality-control coach and assisted DeFelippo with the quarterbacks the last two years.
Part of his job as quality-control coach was to scour college and pro tapes and build a catalog of plays that the Eagles might be interested in using at some point.
At one point last season, Reich asked Taylor to put together a folder of trick plays. Among the ones he included in the folder was the Philly Special.
“Coach Reich said, ‘Hey, give me your five best [gadget-play] ideas,’ ” Taylor said.
“There were numerous examples of college teams using a version of that play.
“But the rules are different in the pros. The quarterback can’t catch a pass once he’s lined up under center. The Bears used it against the Vikings a couple of years ago. We ended up copying it exactly the way the Bears ran it.”
Taylor said he never viewed the Philly Special as “my play.’’ He said, “I found an idea that I thought could fit us and then we massaged the play and made it our own and put the details on it.
“If you’re not the play-caller and you’re not on the field executing, you’re kind of just a fan who happens to know the play that’s being called,” he said.
“We knew what to look for on that play when we lined up. We were all checking the backside edge. Checking to see what the coverage was and where the safety was. Watching how the defense reacted as Nick moved.
“You just got more and more excited as you saw the defense play it out the way you hoped they would.”
Taylor has been with the Eagles since 2013, when he was hired as an entry-level assistant by Chip Kelly after two years as a graduate assistant at Tulsa. With DeFilippo leaving to become the Minnesota Vikings’ offensive coordinator, this is Taylor’s big career break.
The quarterback room he’ll be supervising includes the Super Bowl MVP (Foles) and the guy who almost certainly would have been the league MVP if he hadn’t torn knee ligaments in mid-December (Carson Wentz).
“It’s an enviable situation for us to be in,” Taylor said. “Those guys have a great relationship. They push each other. If you walked into the room, I don’t think you’d be able to tell who the starter is.
“It goes back to who they are. They’re very humble individuals. And I think that’s kind of the tone set from coach Pederson. This is a low-ego organization from the top, and that trickles down. So the selfish players are going to get weeded out.”
Taylor has an excellent relationship with both Wentz and Foles, as well as the team’s No. 3 quarterback, Nate Sudfeld. It helps that all three players, like Taylor, happen to be strong Christians.
“That’s definitely a key in all of our lives,” Taylor said. “It makes working together (and) kind of doing life together pretty seamless.”
Wentz said that he and Taylor are like-minded, both on and off the field.
“We see the game very similarly,” the quarterback said recently. “We’re both open-minded to things. And then, off the field, our faith is strong in both of our lives. Just the way that we can communicate through those things is pretty cool.”
As DeFilippo’s assistant, Taylor spent the last two years working with Wentz. He’s also known Foles since his first tour of duty with the Eagles before Chip Kelly traded him to the Rams after the 2013 season.
“I feel really close to both of them,’’ he said. “I feel like I know what makes them tick. I’ve had a personal relationship with them. I’ve been on the practice field with them. I feel I know the things they like and the things they don’t like.
“I see it as kind of a partnership. I’d like to think I’m a voice of reason with them. At the same time, I’m kind of a vessel between them and [offensive coordinator Mike] Groh, and maybe coach Pederson.”