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Marquis Flowers Stirs Painful Super Bowl Memories For Patriots Fans

By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston

BOSTON (CBS) -- Not many Patriots fans woke up on Saturday thinking about Marquis Flowers. But any Patriots fans who opened up their bird app were greeted with a painful memory, courtesy of the one-time Patriot.

With just one photograph and one simple emoji, Flowers stirred up all sorts of sour feelings in New England, stemming from Super Bowl LII.

The emoji is named "unamused face." And the picture showed Corey Clement's touchdown in the back of the end zone.

Here it is:

While the benching of Malcolm Butler and the strip sack of Tom Brady tend to be the most remembered parts of that game, the call on Clement's touchdown was a big one. It stretched the Eagles' lead from three to 10 points in the middle of the third quarter, in a game where every point was big. Had it been ruled an incompletion, the Eagles would've faced a fourth-and-6 at the 22-yard line, likely settling for a field goal try.

The ruling was controversial, too. Six weeks after the Eagles' win, NFL executive vice president Troy Vincent more or less said that under the rules that governed the NFL at the time of Clement's touchdown, it should have been ruled an incompletion. A week after that, former head of officiating Alberto Riveron confirmed that the NFL employed a new rule that hadn't yet been approved in order to award Clement and the Eagles that touchdown.

"They were basically legislating on the fly during the Super Bowl," ESPN's Sal Paolantonio relayed from his conversation with Riveron.


Of course, it was a close play, and not much about it was obvious. The call on the field was likely going to stand whichever way it went.

Alas, the debate continues. And Flowers -- who got more than 1,000 retweets and 4,000 likes on the tweet ... plus almost 500 replies within 11 hours of sending it -- engaged in that discussion.

Flowers also pointed out that Clement committed a false start before the snap, but got away with that. (If you watch it ... he did.)

Flowers only spent one season with the Patriots, joining the team via trade in 2017, re-signing in the following offseason but getting cut at the end of the 2018 preseason. A couple of years later, he tweeted out a promise to tell "the truth" about Super Bowl LII when he retired.

Many people took that to mean that he'd spill the beans on the real reason Butler was benched. But maybe this Clement touchdown (and false start) is the issue he most dearly wants to air.

This game is, of course, ancient history by now. But losing a Super Bowl is a pain that never goes away. Would this one play have changed that whole game? Nobody can say either way. But it's clear that Flowers -- and a lot of Patriots fans, Eagles fans, and Patriots haters -- are still game to get worked up about it nearly four years later.

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