NFL Could Ban ‘Tush Push’ Quarterback Sneak Popularized by Eagles
The effectiveness of a sort of quarterback sneak was on full display in last Sunday’s Super Bowl. The Pittsburgh Steelers also used it in short-yardage situations on a few occasions this past season. Now the NFL’s competition committee is expected to address a possible rule change because of it.
Philadelphia Eagles signal-caller Jalen Hurts had six rushing first downs against Kansas City that were courtesy of the sneak. Philly used two or three players to shove him forward on each.
Pushing the ball carrier has been a legal move in the league since 2005 and on the college level since 2013. After seeing it so much this go-round — especially on the sport’s brightest stage — that might change.
“I think the league is going to take a look at this, and I’d be shocked if they don’t make a change,” Dean Blandino, a former NFL official and current FOX NFL rules analyst said to 33rd team. “I was talking to Sean Payton during Sunday’s game, and he said we’re going to do this every time next season if they don’t take it out. It amounts to a rugby scrum. The NFL wants to showcase the athleticism and skill of our athletes. This is just not a skillful play. This is just a tactic that is not an aesthetically pleasing play, and I think the competition committee is going to take a look at it.”
Hurts popularized the play and made it infamous in the Super Bowl, but the Steelers have used a version of it, as well, with a wide receiver pushing Kenny Pickett after going in motion.
He compared the popularized quarterback sneak play to a rugby scrum and added that it isn’t the type of action the NFL wants in its game. It seems like something that was better suited for the sport’s rough early stages.
This topic will almost definitely be on the docket when the competition committee meets at the scouting combine in Indianapolis and again before the NFL owners meeting in late March. Rule change recommendations would be voted on by the owners at the latter gathering. The committee can either recommend no change, advise a ban on pushing the ball carrier, or just outlawing it on sneaks. Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin serves on the competition committee.
Defenses would surely be in favor of an alteration and not having to deal with an unfavorable pile-up on crucial short-yardage plays. Steelers defensive tackle Cam Heyward said on his podcast last week that the way the Eagles run the play is not legal, because they don’t get fully set before snapping the ball.