Nick Sirianni’s Philadelphia Eagles have replaced the Philly Special as the franchise’s most beloved gimmick with an old formation dating back to Walter Camp American football saga Manual. Tush Push is the most transparent play in modern history. Unlike the vanilla QB sneak it evolved from, everyone could see it coming. They can’t stop him. It’s like a train traveling down the tracks at 80 mph while the seven defenseless front vehicles are parked on the tracks.
I remember watching the uproar over Reggie Bush pushing Matt Leinart over the goal line in 2005. Shortly after, the NFL and NCAA removed language prohibiting pushing the ball carrier forward. It’s amazing that it took nearly two decades for a team looking for an advantage to exploit this. Brotherly Shove in Philadelphia is one of the greatest intersections of exploiting a loophole in the rules and talent of this millennium.
The 2017 Warriors exploited an accounting loophole to put Kevin Durant under their team’s roof. A once-in-a-lifetime cap hike during the summer of 2016 in the wake of $24 billion in television contracts and a rookie extension for Steph Curry left 73-win Golden State with enough salary cap space to execute a sign-and-trade for the former league MVP.
But in the context of actual X’s and O’s, the Tush Push gets the same opposition from outside their team’s borders as James Harden’s controversial dribbles. At his peak, Harden’s decline was a sledgehammer to opposing defenders due to his timing and footwork. Harden will time his rally so perfectly that when he does He walked on the moon to create separation It appears to be a trip to the untrained eye. Or rather, it seemed like a legal reversal in the eyes of the trained official.
To make matters worse, Harden further twisted the rule book by colliding with defenders or twisting their arms in an attempt to create the illusion of a foul to the point where defenders resorted to guarding him with their hands behind their backs. The league eventually released a new one Guidelines on spoiled tasteWhich coincided with a decline in Harden’s performance. But Harden still has permission to travel. He’s not as quick with his deceptive footwork as he used to be.
Philadelphia’s brilliance on short-yardage has the league in a similar grip. Instead of finding a counterplay, the NFL’s other 31 teams are looking for a bailout from the NFL Rules Committee, which has refused to ban play during the offseason. They better ask the league to force Tyreek Hill to wear ankle weights instead of socks. Philly peers have They tried and failed to make their short-yardage steals Just as effective. The Giants tried to sneak in their mediocre offensive line in early October and ended up hurting a center and tight end.
While the rest of the league struggles to perfect the original recipe, it has produced its own subset of offensive tricks. Against Washington’s leaders in Week 8, the Eagles set up their usual formation, but instead of pushing Hurts across the finish line, W.J He was handed over to one of his gunners, Dandre Swift, who cut across the field on a punt drive to the end zone before Washington’s defenders knew they’d hit them. On Saturday, Rutgers executed A Fake push tach This was so effective, it even fooled the broadcast team.
No precedent in NFL history
Finding an equivalent in football lore is a huge challenge. It’s not as specialized as the Chargers’ banned Holy Roller and it’s not as complex as the West Coast offense. It’s also not a highly transferable skill. Carson Wentz lacked Jalen Hurts’ lower body strength. Wentz lacks a lot of Hurts’ strengths, but in the context of the Tush Push, Hurts squats 600 pounds on offense Explains his ability to move forward.
Few plays in football history rely on such a uniquely talented group of offensive linemen as the Philadelphia Eagles. Travis Kelce is the most famous brotherBut Jason Center is one half of the most important relationship in football, along with Hurts. Lane Johnson hasn’t given up a sack in ages, and Landon Dickerson is a top-five point guard by all accounts. As a unit, the Eagles converted a 1st-and-10 into a 1st-and-8. Jalen Hurts has it now He scored 16 TDs rushing from inside the 2-yard line Since the start of the 2022 season.
Earlier this month, Cowboys pass rusher Micah Parsons referred to Philadelphia’s signature play as A.J Cheat code Because of Philadelphia’s offensive line and Hurts’ strength. He also defended its use.
“The Eagles have the best O-line in the game, so yeah, it’s a cheat code. They’re unstoppable in that,” Parsons said.
“We just have to deal with it,” he added. “We have to adapt, and we have to be prepared to stop it.” “It’s kind of ridiculous. I don’t want to be part of a role that says, “Hey, I can’t stop something.” I’m not strong enough, I’m not good enough to beat him, so we have to take him out of the game. No guys, this is football.”
Often times, teams stumble upon a feature that can change their course. In an era of versatility, show-time attacks and faster, agile defensemen, the Eagles prevail at the point of attack through brute force. At some point, teams will start putting their heaviest ball carriers under center. Former Philly offensive coordinator Shane Steichen is trying that approach with 6-foot-4, 240-pound tank and quarterback Anthony Richardson, but he’s also more injury-prone than Hurts, so they haven’t been able to enjoy the fruits of their labor. .
On their way to a berth in Super Bowl LVI, the Tush Push played a smaller role in Philly’s fate due to their massive point differential. However, during a season in which the Eagles are winning on the sidelines, every inch counts and becomes their character as frustration mounts with opponents who can’t stop them. The best the league can do is allow the Eagles to continue to thrive until football Darwinism catches up with them.
Follow DJ Dunson on X: @cerebralsportex