NFL commissioner Roger Goodell on Wednesday disputed a report that he wants to permanently ban the QB sneak play — called Tush Push or Brotherly Shove — made famous by the Eagles in the last couple of years.
A report from TheAthletic earlier this month claimed Goodell wanted to see the play removed permanently.
“I haven’t taken a position on that one,” Goodell said Wednesday at the league meetings in Irving, Texas, via NFL.com. “Last year the committee had a lot of different views on that, the membership did. I want to hear that again this year. I want to hear how people feel about it.”
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The Tush Push has been a big topic of conversation in NFL circles since the Eagles implemented the play last season and found success. While QB sneaks are certainly not new in the NFL, the Eagles added an element where the quarterback is pushed forward by his teammates. Even without that element, the Eagles would very likely still be good at sneaks, but the conversation has continued.
In March, the NFL’s Competition Committee considered a rule change that would eliminate that pushing element of the play but didn’t even vote on it at the owners meetings. The play has plenty of critics but there wasn’t as big of a push to eliminate it as some expected.
In fact, last offseason, plenty of other teams seemed intrigued by the play and wanted to study how they could implement it. Of course, other teams have not had anywhere near the level of success with the play, as NFL executive vice president of football operations Troy Vincent pointed out on Wednesday.
"I think there was a report that either the league office or the Commissioner was looking to eliminate this play. That was false," Vincent said, via NFL.com. "We've been monitoring this play from Week 1 of the regular season. This play has evolved. It has evolved, which coaches told us it would. We're seeing passes come out of that formation. People doing things differently than what we've seen a year ago. Everyone doesn't have the Philly success rate, but people are trying it.
"I would just say, Philly does it better than everyone else. That's a fact. On those fourth-and-1, fourth-and-inches situations, we've seen others — I think I've reviewed 78 plays on Friday of just the push play itself — just looking at formation. Is it one-back, two backs pushing, three backs? They're very effective.
"And that's what we don't want to do. So talking to the membership, you don't want to punish anyone for doing something well. People have tried different things to stop it. Have not had success. That's why bringing it to the membership just to say this play has evolved. Other people are doing it, and we've seen some pretty good football from the evolution of the original formation."
Why are the Eagles so good at the play? There are plenty of reasons and theories about it. Remember, the Eagles were pretty good at QB sneaks even before implementing the push and they were even pretty good at them before they had Jalen Hurts, who is known for his ability to squat 600 pounds. It really starts with technique from the offensive linemen, mainly center Jason Kelce.
The Eagles aren’t perfect on their Brotherly Shoves but it is a play that works at an extremely high rate and they’re going to run it until it’s outlawed or until teams find a way to consistently stop it. They’ve even continued to add wrinkles to the play to protect it.
And it’s been clear that other teams aren’t nearly as good as the Eagles at the play. That has crystalized during the 2023 season. But even last offseason, that was the stance from the Eagles.
“All I know is everything we're doing is legal and it works,” general manager Howie Roseman said at the combine in early March. “And just because people do something that’s really good, doesn't mean it should be outlawed.”