The Philadelphia Eagles’ so-called “tush push” might not be outlawed after all.
Yet, at least.
Peter King offered an update on this situation in his latest FMIA column (bold emphasis mine):
As for the Competition Committee rugby-scrum legislation, I think there’s just as much of a chance it doesn’t come up for a vote this spring as it gets voted out of the game. (Rejoice, Eagles.) Why? Because the Competition Committee and Roger Goodell won’t bring up a pushing-the-QB ban for a vote at the owners’ meetings in three weeks if it’s going to fail. [...] Tush push. I asked a lot of NFL people about the rugby-scrum type of formation the Eagles perfected last season. They were 37-of-41 on QB sneaks, many of which featured the quarterback being pushed from behind on short yardage. Sean Payton and Pete Carroll have each said if it remains legal, they intend on making it part of their playbook next season. For this 18-year-old offensive wrinkle to be outlawed, three-quarters of the league’s owners would have to vote to change it. So the Eagles and only eight other teams would have to vote to keep it for it to survive. I think I’ve got a good feel of the thinking of the Competition Committee, and I believe the group is mostly against assisting the ball carrier. But how adamant will the committee be as the league meetings in Arizona, when rules proposals come up for a vote, get closer? That’s the big question we don’t know yet. If the committee believes it doesn’t have a good chance to get support from 24 teams, it’s likely not to put the measure to a vote. My feeling is getting 24 votes would be a stretch. Two things committee members don’t like: One, this isn’t a football play. Two, the potential for injury. It’s only a matter of time before a defender acting as a projectile flies over the scrum and contacts a QB helmet-to-helmet with force, or a QB getting pushed by 450 pounds of pushers meets similar resistance from defensive tackles and separates a shoulder.
This reporting comes as a bit of surprise since there has seemingly been so much energy focused on illegalizing the Eagles’ preferred quarterback sneak. Dean Blandino previously said he would be “shocked” if the league didn’t outlaw this play. Some NFL teams reportedly complained about the technique during the 2022 season.
The Eagles would be happy to not see the play go to a vote. Speaking during their NFL Combine press conferences last week, both Howie Roseman and Nick Sirianni both pushed (no pun intended) back on the momentum against the play.
Q. There have been some conversations about the league addressing these quarterback push plays that you’ve used with QB Jalen Hurts and so forth. Do you have any reaction to that? Any thoughts on maybe why that is now a topic of conversation?
ROSEMAN: I think that’s a better question for Coach Sirianni. All I know is everything we’re doing is legal and it works, and just because people do something that’s really good, doesn’t mean it should be outlawed.
Q. What are your thoughts on the possibility of outlawing the push play?
SIRIANNI: [Jokingly] I think some defensive coaches are bringing that up right there. No, we’ll play with whatever rules they have. I think that it was obviously a very successful play for us. You guys would know the numbers a little bit better. I haven’t hit my self-scout stuff yet.
Very successful play for us, but wasn’t the only thing we were doing off it, right? I think we had some exciting plays that came off it when the defenses were trying to stop the play that they thought was coming. That’s what football is, right? The defense thinks this play is coming. We just talked about the Zach Pascal play. The defense thought this play was coming and a different play came, and ended in a touchdown.
Hey, I don’t get a vote. They don’t ask me. I thought that there was a lot of hard work that went into it. There is a lot of the technique and fundamentals that go into it as far as how our guys block it and the specialty of our guys, like Jason Kelce.
So, we’ll do whatever the rules say to do, obviously, but we had a lot of fun coming up with those plays. We had a lot of fun practicing those plays, the different ways we did it. The guys had fun doing that. Fletcher Cox always wanted to be in on one of those plays. So, it was a lot of fun, and some of the wrinkles that were off it.
I thought it was good for the game. Obviously, I’m biased. We had a lot of success with it.
I thought BGN’s Dave Mangels said it well in his “Banning the Jalen Hurts sneak would be stupid and insulting” article.
If the NFL bans pushing the runner it will be because they/the owners don’t like that no one can stop the Eagles. That is the only reason they have. It’ll be petty and disrespectful to Jalen Hurts and to fans. Jalen Hurts should not be punished for being able to execute a play better than anyone else can. Trying to outlaw something because someone is really good at it is a slippery slope the league should not and can not go down.