JOURNEY TO LIII: Beyond the ‘Philly Special’ for Burton
LAKE FOREST – There are two questions that were guaranteed to be asked this week to two Chicago Bears.
The second would be to Kyle Long, who is facing his brother Chris for the first time in the playoffs as his team meets the Philadelphia Eagles in the Wild Card round on Sunday.
The first would be to Trey Burton. After all, he helped his opponent this week to their first-ever Super Bowl title with one of the greatest plays in the game’s 52-year history.
“I never get sick of it,” said Burton of the “Philly Special”. “No, never.”
Why should he? It was quite a moment on the biggest stage in sports.
Late in the first half of Super Bowl LII, with the Eagles up by three against the Patriots, head coach Doug Pederson pulled out the trick play. Quarterback Nick Foles ran up to the right side of the line of scrimmage like he was calling an audible, but the snap went to running back Corey Clement.
He ran to his left and pitched to Burton running behind him to his right. Meanwhile, Foles left his position on the side of the line and went to the endzone, and was wide open to take the tight end’s pass for the score.
It put the Eagles up by ten points and they went onto a 41-33 victory and their first Super Bowl title.
“It will always be a part of my life, my family’s life,” said Burton. “No one can ever take the Super Bowl away from us and it was an unbelievable time. But now, I’m here, so I’m excited to be here.”
That’s Chicago with the Bears, where Burton will line up against his old team just a year after the famous play in the Super Bowl. He’ll be a critical part of an offense that helped the organization end an eight-year playoff drought this season in a 12-4 season.
It could be viewed as a bit of an awkward situation, considering he spent the formative years of his career with the Eagles. In those three years, he built bonds with the likes of Nick Foles and Zach Ertz, and maintains a close friendship with many of them.
“I was in four of those guy’s weddings in the last two years. So obviously I have a relationship that goes way and far beyond football,” said Burton. “Extremely happy for Ertz. I couldn’t be happier for anybody else. I’ve called him multiple times and congratulated him as much as I could. It was something I knew, eventually, he was going to be able to do.”
People have gotten to see what Burton has been able to do over the past four months, as the tight end registered career-highs in catches (54), yards (569), and touchdowns (6). On top of that, he’s an important playoff veteran for quarterback Mitchell Trubisky, who will take part in his first postseason game on Sunday.
“I just tell him to have fun,” said Burton on his advice to the quarterback before the Wild Card contest. “You can get caught up, especially as a quarterback, in what people are saying, what’s going on in the offense, bringing the whole team together, what people think about you.
“You can easily get caught up as a young guy, I’m not saying he does, but it’s something that you easily can do. I feel like my role to him is just to remind him to have fun. Laugh with him, joke with him, and get him out of the serious mentality.”
Things will get serious Sunday as Burton takes the field against the team he helped to a title last year with one of the more memorable Super Bowl plays. It’s an opportunity the tight end relishes, considering not only the stakes for his current team, but the shot to achieve something against his old squad.
“I’m really excited to see some of my best friends in a huge playoff game,” said Burton. “I don’t really know necessarily if it matters who you’re playing, you know, but the fact that I do get to play Philly again, it will be pretty cool.”
Just like the play everyone can’t wait to ask him about this week.