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Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

Pushing for the “Tush Push”

The Philadelphia Eagles have propelled up and over the rest of the NFL this season starting out with an NFL best 8-1 record. Head coach Nick Sirianni implemented a new short-yardage play coined the “Tush Push” during last season’s Super Bowl. The play has had much success for the Eagles and other teams complain that it gives the Eagles an unfair advantage. The Eagles have converted 17 of 21 attempts this season, good for an 81% success rate. 

The “Tush Push” is a play where the quarterback snaps the ball directly behind the center and jumps onto the offensive line while the receivers and running backs push the quarterback over the line. The play guarantees just a few yards every attempt. As football leans more toward the analytical approach, every percent matters and the Tush Push provides a slight analytical advantage for Sirianni to use it as much as needed. 

The Tush Push is not against any existing rules and is completely in line with the traditional rules of football. In fact, it is more like how original football was played. The shoving wedge and the flying wedge were two plays that closely resemble the “Brotherly Shove” and both were integral to football in their respective times.

Over history, new plays, formations and concepts have changed the fundamentals in which the game is played. Coaches like Bill Belichick, Chuck Noll or Bud Grant revolutionized football and changed the game altogether. If every time a new successful play was banned because of its effectiveness football would still be in the dark ages without exciting new offenses and schemes. The only way to prevent a seemingly unfair play is to stop it. Coaches and players alike around the league think the play is unfair and not a football play.

During week 4 of this season, the Eagles played the Washington Commanders and planned to use the play. The Commanders’ defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio was not impressed by the rugby-esque play.  

“Not just because [the Eagles] run it better than anybody, although they do run it better than anybody,” Del Rio said, “I don’t think it’s a football play. It’s a nice rugby play. It’s not what we’re looking for in football. But until it’s outlawed, we’ll prepare for it and do our best to stop it.” 

The Eagles converted the play four out of four times and ground out a 34-31 victory needing overtime to finish the job. 

If the Tush Push is indeed banned, in time, defenses will eventually complain that any play that increases the offensive conversion rate is unfair. If the forward pass is the main way a football is moved downfield, why not ban the forward pass and stick to the run game? Why not encourage an offense to use a play that will strengthen their chances of success?  So far defenses haven’t found a way to stop it yet.

Every sport has good plays and bad plays and it is up to the two teams to stop each other. Although it does resemble a rugby scrum, the Tush Push is a footballing play, and it is up to coaches around the league to stop it.

This column was written by Conor McPherson. He can be reached at [email protected].

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