Turns out, the Philadelphia Eagles 'Tush Push' isn't an Infallible play, after all.
Monday night, on a 4th-and-1 in the first quarter of a disastrous loss to the Seahawks, the New York Giants attempted the play that has become a hallmark of the Eagles' short-yardage and goal-line success before spreading like wildfire into playbooks across the NFL and college ranks. It went disastrously.
Not only was Giants quarterback unable to gain any momentum — he was pushed backwards, actually, but Giants rookie starting center John Michael Schmitz was knocked from the game with an injured shoulder and tight end Daniel Bellinger was lost with a knee injury.
Somehow, it gets worse than that, for the Giants.
Tuesday, during his day-after press conference, Giants head coach Brian Daboll revealed that New York had never practiced the tush-push in a live practice situation and only ran it during walkthroughs.
Brian Daboll says the Giants only ever walked through the Tush Push play, never practiced it live.
He says both John Michael Schmitz and Daniel Bellinger got injured on that play, too (a play the Giants never practiced live)
— Pat Leonard (@PLeonardNYDN) October 3, 2023
It's understandable, given the Eagles' success rate with the tush-push that teams would try to replicate it. Especially in a copycat league, such as the NFL.
However, the Eagles have several built in advantages over other teams and major college programs.
Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts 6-foot-1 and 223 pounds, also routinely squats 600 pounds and has the benefit of a five-time First-Team All-Pro center as the lead battering ram.
Similarly, Penn State converted all four of their attempts Saturday against Northwestern, thanks in part to quarterback Drew Allar checking in at 6-foot-5 and 243 pounds, playing behind 6-foot-3 and 320-pound center Hunter Nourzad. In the same game, Northwestern was stuffed trying to run the tush-push with 6-foot-3 and 220 pound signal caller Ben Bryant.
Later, Saturday night, in Iowa City, 6-foot-2 and 185-pound Michigan State Noah Kim's attempt at the tush-push also came woefully short of the inches to gain needed to move the sticks.
The anecdotal takeaway seems to be that teams who have bigger-bodied quarterbacks and dominant centers have a built in advantage over defenses, on the tush-push, that average sized quarterbacks simply do not.
It was a puzzling decision for Daboll to run a play in a live situation that the Giants had never practiced before, compounded by the fact that the Giants don't seem to have the same built in advantages as teams like the Eagles, Nittany Lions, and others have when it comes to running the play with sustained success.
The Eagles have figured out a way to parlay their quarterback's size and athleticism in pivotal short-yardage situations. But, that doesn't mean every team is equipped to have the same success. Something the Giants found out the hard way, with catastrophic consequences.
Want More Sports News?
Get the biggest and best sports news sent directly to your inbox.