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Should the NFL ban the Philadelphia Eagles patented Tush Push?

Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire
Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire

Leading back to last season, last year’s Super Bowl runner-up and NFC front-runner Philadelphia Eagles have cracked the code on converting fourth and short through one play: the Tush Push. Voices across the league have expressed mixed opinions on the glorified QB sneak, so should the NFL step in and ban the play, or should they let the Eagles continue to convert short-yardage situations with ease?

Ran first in week one of the 2022 season in Detroit, the Eagles were faced with a fourth and one from Lions’ territory with a bit over one minute left in the fourth quarter. Philadelphia had star quarterback Jalen Hurts lined up under center, and with the help from tight ends Dallas Goedert and Jack Stoll, Hurts was pushed forward from behind and gained the first down rather easily. Since then, the Eagles have displayed superiority in these situations, converting 72.97% of their fourth down attempts in 2022 (fourth highest in the league) and a league-leading 76.47% of their attempts this season. After their win against the Miami Dolphins, head coach Nick Sirianni referred to the play as giving the Eagles “first and nine” instead of ten, almost guaranteeing that a fourth and one would be converted.

On the other hand, Washington Commanders defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio is very opposed to the tush push, referring to it as a “rugby play” before their matchup in early October, “I would personally like to see it eliminated, not just because they run it better than anybody, although they do run it better than anybody, I don’t think that’s a football play. But until it’s outlawed, we’ll prepare for it and get ready to do our best to stop it.” His point also may have some validity, with the play as mentioned earlier having a formation unlike any other in football. Undoubtedly, Del Rio has every right to be irritated over how the Eagles run their offense, as they’ve scored 72 total points over their two divisional games this season.

Who deserves the credit for the dominance of the tush push? Is it former powerlifter and quarterback Jalen Hurts who can squat 600 pounds and swiftly muscle his way through the line of scrimmage? Is it tight end Dallas Goedert, wide receiver AJ Brown, or running back Deandre Swift who gives Hurts the extra momentum through the push from behind? Or is it the Eagles’ massive offensive line led by veteran center Jason Kelce, who provides the initial push to give Hurts even a chance at converting?

Adam Bow/Icon Sportswire

 The praise for the Eagles’ fourth and short masterclass can not be given to just one person or group of people. It’s the whole unit that contributes equally to the art of the tush push, and it would be highly less effective without each key piece. Center Jason Kelce backed this statement when talking about the public outcry over the play, stating, “we noticed that last year when people were making maybe some big deals about it. There are a lot that are unsuccessful,  but there is clearly a talent to it that our guys have. Maybe it’s automatic right now for the Philadelphia Eagles, but it’s not automatic around the NFL.”

Kelce’s point has been the main argument made by the people in the NFL world who are in favor of the tush push. As Nick Sirianni said, “If everybody could do it, everybody would do it.” Teams around the league have seen the Eagles’ success with the tush push, and have tried to replicate it. The one difference is that they have been way less efficient, solidifying Sirianni’s point. As of now, the play is completely legal and whoever wants to run it always could, but they won’t be nearly as successful as the Eagles. So should the NFL ban the tush push? No. The play is completely legal and the Eagles have taken advantage of the benefits, converting over 90% of Tush Pushes ran over the past two years. Every other team has had the opportunity to run the play, just with much less efficiency than the Eagles.

Mitchell Leff/GettyImages


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About the Contributor
Jackson Palich, Sports Editor