Hating is not a good color on anyone. As long as people don’t use unscrupulous methods to achieve success, they should be patted on the back for it. The Philadelphia Eagles have perfected their version of the quarterback sneak, the tush push. They run it well. They run it often and it also does not make them a perfect football team. They do not convert at a 100 percent success rate, and they also didn’t win the Super Bowl last year.
The Eagles were successful on their tush push play 37 out of 41 times last season. Three games into the 2023 season and the play still works for them. Against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Monday night, they were stopped on a 3rd, and short play. The Eagles ran the ball again on 4th and short and converted.
A clip went viral on Wednesday of Chris Simms speaking on Pro Football Talk. He and Mike Florio were discussing why the tush push should be eliminated from the NFL. They are not the only members of the NFL media with that opinion. NBC Sports Peter King has called the play an abomination, and Rich Eisen said on his podcast that he is no tush push fan.
Simms, however, went the most viral because he used the most violent language. In the clip being sent all over social media he advocated for defenders to “go head huntin’ on the quarterback,” and even got hyperbolic when he said, “try to kill the quarterback.”
As soon as Florio held his hands up, Simms knew that he had gone too far. There is no need to take from the old Gregg Williams, “Kill the head and the body will die,” speech. He got banned from the NFL for a year for that. In general, though, the animosity towards this play by some of the most prominent people covering the NFL is completely unnecessary.
The Eagles took a play with a high success rate and made it close to unstoppable with their humongous offensive line and quarterback who squats 600 pounds. During the 2022 regular season NFL teams converted a first down or scored a touchdown using the play 82 percent of the time.
Because the Eagles ran a play with good odds better than all of the other teams it should be banned? The 30-second social media clip is not all that Simms had to say on the matter. After trashing the play, declaring that the play is dangerous, and following that up by encouraging defenders to dispense maximum violence, he said the quiet part out loud.
“They have a team that has a true advantage is this department as compared to everybody else,” Simms said on Pro Football Talk. “Where I don’t think everybody else in football can line up and do that to the capacity in which they do, and then you have Jalen Hurts, who’s got a little more power than your normal quarterback.”
I’m siding with Eagles fans, which is sending an obnoxious chill down my spine, if other teams have a problem with the tush push they should figure out how to use it successfully. (And Eagles fans who have a problem with the name tush push, tough luck. Nicknames are given, they are not declared.) Unfortunately for some teams that have attempted the play, they realized that success is not as simple as shoving a quarterback in the behind.
There are times when rules need to be changed to improve safety or the enjoyment of the sport. That is why wedges are not allowed on kickoff returns and grabbing a defender to stop a fast break in the NBA is a technical foul.
What the Eagles are doing is simply being bigger and badder than their opponents. And for all of the whining that is done about how soft football has become, outlawing a play because a team is more physically imposing than its opponents is some real Charmin behavior.