NFL rumors: Could Eagles' most effective play get outlawed?
The Eagles' deadliest weapon is officially under attack originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia
The debate over the most effective play in the NFL last season has begun.
The Eagles' famous (infamous?) Tush Push quarterback sneak, in which squatmaster Jalen Hurts gets a little assistance from some teammates, was a deadly weapon against opposing defenses in 2022. They converted 36 of 39 QB sneaks with Hurts last year, good for a 92.3% conversion rate.
If for some reason the play isn't ringing a bell, here's what it looked like in the Super Bowl for one of Hurts' three rushing touchdowns:
And now, as many expected, the play is under siege by the NFL.
The league's Competition Committee gathered Sunday ahead of the NFL Combine to discuss a number of league rules that may want to get tweaked before next season, and NFL.com's Judy Battista confirmed the Tush Push was on the docket. Apparently, though, not all the discussion was negative:
Troy Vincent said committee discussed QB push/sneak at length. Will revisit the topic at later meeting next month. Some argued it should be allowed and anticipate more offensive plays springing from it.
— Judy Battista (@judybattista) February 26, 2023
Interesting! I don't think the Tush Push formation and design is a guaranteed conversion for all 32 teams. It helps that the Eagles have a wildly strong quarterback, and they had the best offensive line in the league. Those are two pretty important factors in their success. This won't become some 4th & 1 cure-all for every squad, and we saw that in action when Gardner Minshew flubbed a sneak vs. the Saints.
I also agree that the potential for spin-offs of the obvious sneak formation will lead to some exciting stuff in the future. The Eagles teased this a couple times last season, once on a play that was blown dead where Hurts side-stepped the scrum and seemed to be headed for open grass and then once in the playoffs for a 14-yard Kenneth Gainwell gain.
In general, I think the Competition Committee should be focusing on more important things than stopping an ultra-effective QB sneak technique. Give defensive coordinators an offseason to come up with some sort of counter. I know the league doesn't want short yardage plays to become rugby scrums, both for the optics and for the entertainment factor, but if it works then it works. Figure it out.
It'll be interesting to see what resolution the league's decision makers reach the next time they discuss the Tush Push. Here's hoping Hurts & Co. can keep steamrolling D-lines in 2023.