March 24, 2023
In recent years, the Philadelphia Eagles have relied heavily on QB sneaks on third- and fourth-down short yardage situations, converting on them at an extremely high rate. In 2022, they took their QB sneak efficiency to a new level by lining up players behind Jalen Hurts and pushing him over the line to gain for first downs or touchdowns.
February 12, 2023
A number of other NFL teams objected to the Eagles' QB sneak innovations, and attempted this offseason to outlaw the so-called "tush push," with the initial complaints occurring at the NFL Combine.
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
Those discussions did not result in a formal proposal to outlaw the "tush push," as it remained absent from the "2023 Playing Rule, Bylaw and Resolution Proposals" to be voted on at the 2023 NFL Owners Meetings.
"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," Howie Roseman said at the NFL Combine in February.
"I think some defensive coaches are bringing that up right there," Nick Sirianni added. "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?
"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."
My take? There are times when certain plays are abolished because they look to circumvent the spirit of the rules, like when the NFL banned the Patriots' deceptive ineligible receiver play. In the case of the Eagles' wide variety of QB sneaks, there is absolutely nothing deceitful about what the Eagles are doing.
"iT's rEaLLy hArD tO StoP!" is not a valid reason to ban a play, and teams objecting to it will have to figure out a way to stop it on the field instead of off of it.
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