Contrary to what its name suggests, the tush push is neither a dance craze sweeping the nation or a slogan for a line of toilet paper. Instead, it’s a play that the Philadelphia Eagles have had a lot of success with this year, yielding a host of touchdowns this season (and last season) and prompting a number of other teams to try something similar, some succeeding with it and others failing.
It’s an inventive play with a catchy name. But could it be on its way out? (After all, on the MLB side of things, the same could have been said about the shift.) In a recent article, ESPN’s Tim McManus noted that the play is under an increased level of scrutiny from the league, and is set to be reviewed by the league’s rules committee after the current season ends.
ESPN also cited the skepticism of Washington Commanders defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio, who believes the play should be outlawed. “I don’t think that’s a football play,” Del Rio told ESPN. “I think it’s a nice rugby play, and it’s not what we’re looking for in football.”
If you’re looking for a good overview of what, exactly, the tush push is all about, Kalyn Kahler wrote one for The Athletic earlier this year. Kahler’s article also shows — as of last season — just how frequently the Eagles used the play compared to the rest of the league. Kahler cited an analysis of the 2022 season that showed that “the Eagles have run 13 sneaks that feature two players lined up to push Hurts forward and three sneaks with three pushers.”
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There’s another factor in play here that could also limit the use of the tush push — namely, the fact that two Giants players were recently injured attempting it. If that continues, it’s not hard to see the league cracking down — or, at the very least, various teams’ coaches being a bit more skeptical about deploying the play in question.
The fate of the play will be more clear after the season ends. Given that it’s led to football greats discussing the finer points of butt-pushing technique, however, the entertainment value of keeping it around seems clear. And if someone hasn’t yet taken audio of Andre Braugher shouting, “Boost my bottom!” from Brooklyn Nine-Nine and combined it with a tush push clip, that seems like a viral video waiting to happen.