Yes, we’re still talking about the Tush Push.
Here we are, in the year of our Lord 2023, and the National Football League is still fussing and obsessing over a QB sneak play that the Eagles have perfected into an art form.
Should there be a limited number of tush pushes per game?— Dianna Russini (@DMRussini) September 26, 2023
It’s true that, when the Eagles are in 3rd or 4th and 1, the vast majority of the time, they line up for the Tush Push, a seemingly impossible play to stop that draws the ire of so many in the football world for reasons passing understanding. Rich Eisen is the latest:
#VoiceofREason –> #FlyEaglesFly scrum push play is unstoppable and @richeisen doesn't like it — should it be banned from the #NFL? Why can't a defense do the exact same thing?#NFL pic.twitter.com/J4x2QAZdkx— Rich Eisen Show (@RichEisenShow) September 26, 2023
“I think it’s particularly unfair, which is why the Competition Committee is looking at it. Because the offense has the opportunity to shove a player at the defense as well as then pull the ball out from that formation and throw it so it’s difficult to defend, it’s almost impossible to defend.” - RICH EISEN
how do you stop this play pic.twitter.com/sxa3fxiANY— Warren Sharp (@SharpFootball) September 26, 2023
Is it as majestic as Barry Sanders soaring over the top of a defense and splashing down into the end zone? No. Is it as fun as the Philly Special? Certainly not. But some of the rhetoric surrounding the Tush Push is simply over-the-top whining, and there is no discernable reason for it other than people just don’t like it.
And yes, it works pretty much every time. But just because it’s nearly unstoppable, or just because the Eagles’ personnel is so unique doesn’t mean you outlaw it, as some have called for. After all, if we wanted to ban unfair things, Bo Jackson wouldn’t have been allowed to play football. Tom Brady would have had to throw left-handed. Lawrence Taylor would have had to rush the quarterback backwards.
It’s a man’s play. Helmet on helmet, strength vs. strength. No one has an offensive line in the NFL like the Eagles’ and no one has a QB with as much lower-body strength as Jalen Hurts.
And while the Tush Push is virtually automatic for the Eagles, it’s not so much for everyone else, as BGN Radio’s Jimmy Kempski noted for Philly Voice last week.
Failed "tush push" plays, Week 1 pic.twitter.com/9ZQbgjBXmT— Jimmy Kempski (@JimmyKempski2) September 23, 2023
People who argue it’s not a real football play also don’t understand that there are other ways you can fool teams with it. The Eagles tried last night, with awful results.
However, in the playoffs last year, the Eagles did run a successful fake, against the Giants in the divisional round.
Last week, Peter King called the Tush Push an “abomination,” which is obviously a ridiculously over-the-top criticism. How is the Tush Push any more an abomination than a traditional QB sneak, a play that resulted in a first down or touchdown 82.8% of the time last season, up from 78.7% in 2016? Or an end-of-game QB kneel down? If the Tush Push isn’t a true football play, than neither are those. And since when do we start legislating against successful NFL plays that are breaking no rules and are uniquely beneficial to a team with the personnel to execute it perfectly?
The obvious solution to ending the Tush Push is the same as the solutions to ending The Wildcat, the Run and Shoot, the Pistol, the wishbone offense, the 46 defense, and every other fad that has blazed through the NFL over the years. Teams need to find a way to stop it.
One of the greatest speeches in sports movie history is Al Pacino’s “Inch By Inch” speech in Any Given Sunday.
The Tush Push is the very definition of this speech. It is 11 men against 11 men, bunched together, banding together to fight for that inch.
The fact that this is still a topic in September of 2023 is mind-bogglingly moronic. But don’t take my word for it.
I’ve always said Chad Johnson is the voice of reason.