Peter King finally gives the Birds their due:
Nick Foles looked at the wristband and found play 145. With the play clock running, Foles said to his huddle: “Gun trey left, open buster star motion … 383 X follow Y slant.”
They broke the huddle.
The strangest thing here is that the Patriots—the peerless Patriots, with the greatest coach of our day, and the research power of 10 teams combined in the beautiful mind of Adams—erred significantly on it. What did I learn from studying the winning Super Bowl play? It’s fine to put Bill Belichick on the Mount Rushmore of coaches in the 98-season history of the NFL, because he truly deserves it. But it does not mean that the great and powerful Oz doesn’t make mistakes. And Belichick and defensive coordinator Matt Patricia made a mistake here. You can hear it on NFL Films, from the wiring of the game: “Third-down here. We’re gonna have to double 86.”
Though the play started with a possible double-coverage plan for 86, who is tight end Zach Ertz, that was eliminated when the deep safety followed the Eagle back in motion. (Seen here.) So the Patriots did not double 86. How does Patricia’s communication not get to the field on the biggest play of the season—or how do the Patriots not account for the real possibility of the safety vacating his space to follow a motion man? That’s something the Patriots could be haunted by, the way they’ve haunted so many teams since the turn of the century: