Peter King sounds off on Eagles’ tush-push play; says NFL will “regret” not banning it
In case you missed this tidbit of Eagles related news from over the weekend, Philly’s so-called “controversial” tush-push QB sneak play will not be outlawed in 2023, despite numerous reports suggesting it would be. Reportedly, the rule change did not make it onto the ballot for the NFL owners meeting this week, so it will remain legal for at least next season.
Some pundits are up in arms over this revelation, including one of the most respected writers in the NFL ecosystem, Peter King. In his weekly Football Morning in America column for NBC Sports, King sounded off on the tush-push, stating the NFL will regret their decision to not ban it.
“The NFL will very likely continue to allow ball carriers to be pushed from behind in 2023, defying the aesthetics of a sport that is not rugby and subjecting more quarterbacks to be treated like endangered objects in the middle of trash-compactors,” King writes.
“It’s counter to the NFL’s on-and-on emphasis on player safety to not adjust this rule, or to eliminate it. Frankly, it’s mind-boggling. The Eagles had incredible success (they were 37 of 41 last year on QB sneaks, many of which featured two players pushing Jalen Hurts from behind), and Buffalo, Cincinnati and Baltimore also experimented with assisting the runner from behind. Coaches in Denver and Seattle have said they’ll work on the technique for 2023. When one successful team has a 90 percent success rate, as the Eagles did on the sneak, well, why wouldn’t other teams adopt it?
My problem, aside from the fact that it’s not a football play, is that it’s only a matter of time before a quarterback gets hurt on the play. In the Super Bowl, on one Hurts sneak, Kansas City sent a defensive lineman, missile-like, over the scrum at the line of scrimmage. How dangerous is a 290-pound projectile hurtling toward a quarterback? How fortunate is it that he, or Hurts, was not concussed on that play?”
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There are a few things to unpack here. First and foremost, getting this bent out of shape over the Eagles tush-push sneak is a bit dramatic.
It feels like every single time a pundit, like King, tries to argue against the play, they’re reaching. Saying it’s “not a football play” literally doesn’t mean anything. It’s completely subjective and opens the door for us to question any number of plays and their validity. How is the traditional QB sneak any more of a football play than the tush-push? Is kneeling the clock out a football play? What about when a quarterback gives himself up just as a defender is closing in and draws a flag?
Remember this ‘football play,’ Eagles fans?
You get the point.
There may be some truth to the injury aspect of the argument. But the fact of the matter is, nobody got injured during that play when the Eagles ran it this season. This idea that it’s just a matter of time before Jalen Hurts gets injured during the play isn’t necessarily a foregone conclusion. I mean, Hurts got injured this year from running out of an empty shotgun set – not from pushing a pile of men towards the end zone or first down line.
If anything, lineman are more susceptible to injuries in that situation. All that weight piling up on top of you, pushing and shoving in a swarm of behemoths. I don’t envy Jason Kelce for leading the charge whenever the Eagles line up for a tush-push, but I appreciate his sacrifice.
Lastly, why should anyone be concerned if the play gets utilized by other teams around the league? I’m not sure why that’s a bad thing, like King suggests. The reality is, it’s unlikely that any other team will have the level of success with the play as the Eagles did in 2022. And there’s a pretty simple reason why – most quarterbacks can’t squat over 600 pounds for reps.
At the end of the day, getting up in arms over the tush-push play is like yelling at the sky for being blue. No amount of bitching is going to change anything. Football is an ugly sport, so if you don’t like the ‘aesthetics’ of the tush-push or you’re worried about injuries, maybe it’s not the sport for you.
Mandatory Credit: LAPRESSE