Fans of the tush push, we have tremendous news. It appears the NFL will keep that rule rather than do away with it before the start of the season.
The supporters of the tush push should probably rename it in honor of Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts. After all, it was his success running the short yardage play, especially in the Super Bowl, that got NFL folks talking.
The NFL rules committee is meeting next week when team owners gather in Phoenix. Fox Sports rules analyst Dean Blandino predicted the NFL would nix the play.
“I think the league is going to look at this,” said Blandino, who worked as the league’s VP for officiating in 2013-17. “And I’d be shocked if they don’t make a change.”
So color Blandino shocked. Teams could offer proposals, as could the NFL. But the tush push isn’t on the list of rules changes the NFL will mull next week.
Let’s explain the play. It’s just a fancier quarterback sneak that gives off a rugby scrum vibe, with some vintage victory formation sprinkled in. Hurts lined up under center, with running backs split to either side of him. Hurts took the snap and followed his offensive blockers. The backs can block and push.
The super athletic Hurts evolves into a power back on the play. Here’s a look at one of the pushes from the Super Bowl. Sure, the Eagles lost to the Chiefs in a tight affair. But the tush push didn’t lose the game.
Just Jalen Hurts’ 3rd rushing TD of the day… nbd 😱 #FlyEaglesFly— FOX Sports: NFL (@NFLonFOX) February 13, 2023
(via @NFL) | @Eagles pic.twitter.com/qarYrcQxSO
Blandino thought the NFL would dump the rule because it wasn’t a visibly pleasing play.
“It amounts to a rugby scrum,” he told reporters. “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.”
The NFL has allowed this type of play since 2005. Meanwhile, the NCAA gave it the go-ahead in 2013. But the Eagles made it prominent in 2022. In the Super Bowl, Hurts rushed for 10 first downs. Six came via the quarterback sneak.
Plus, Sean Payton, who now coaches the Broncos, said he plans on bringing the play to Denver. Payton had fun with quarterbacks in New Orleans, using Taysom Hill as a change of pace for Drew Brees. So count on Russell Wilson running a similar play to Hurts.
That is, unless the NFL is head faking us all about a potential rule change.